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Depending on where you live, the Holidays are here in full force.  In between parties, school concerts, preparing for the festivities, and everything else that goes into the season, somewhere we must still attend to our work, kids, life, and figure out how to stay productive.  It is seductive to let things slide during this time of year and tell ourselves that we will somehow pick up the slack in January however who wants to start the year with the weight of the mountain of last year’s projects?

In a 2016 Harris Poll, commissioned by Career Builder, on over 3000 employees, the top causes for distractions in the workplace were:

  • Cell phone/texting: 55 percent
  • The Internet: 41 percent
  • Gossip: 39 percent
  • Social media: 37 percent
  • Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  • Smoke breaks or snack breaks: 27 percent
  • Email: 26 percent
  • Meetings: 24 percent
  • Noisy co-workers: 20 percent
  • Sitting in a cubicle: 9 percent

Let’s compound this with the fervent activity of the season with kid’s activities, parties, shopping, wrapping, and everything else and amplify our distractibility quotient – it isn’t easy to stay productive during the Holidays however if you are in business, working to set yourself apart at work, or simply looking to excel in life, staying productive during the Holidays is necessary.


Here are five ways to stay productive during the Holidays and still get your celebrating in:


1.Map Out Your Priorities

Up until the early 20th century, the word ‘priority’ was not pleural, it was singular.  Somewhere along the line, we decided to make it pleural although the reality is that at the end of the day, we truly only have one major priority and a few select items that ultimately feed into supporting whatever that priority is.

For example, if your family is your priority, and quality of life is imperative – what is the number one thing you can do to help create the life your family deserves?  Is it make more money?  Is it create more time?  Will making more money allow you to create that time?  Defining what our priorities are is essential and allows us to vehemently say ‘no’ to anything that is not in alignment with that priority.

Once you have identified the priority, I suggest that you get a white board and write out precisely how you intend to achieve what it is you want.  Review it daily and make a decision to laser focus your time in the achieving that goal

Another effective technique is to use Post-It™ notes to remind yourself of what is essential for that day.  Regardless of where you work, put the note on your laptop so it is front and center.  What is at the forefront of our minds is at the forefront of our actions.


2. Get Up Early and Get Things Done Before Distractions Start

Regardless of spiked eggnog and one too many social glasses of wine, commit to getting up early right up until you decide that you are closed for business.  The early mornings can be the most productive time.  Evenings can be filled with activities that might not normally be on your calendar such as pagaents, gift wrapping, parties, and a multitude of other activities.  Use the early morning to schedule appointments, write, organize your time, or anything else that is going to get you closer to your goal.


3. Set Parameters With Friends and Family

In our home, I have shared openly with the kids that there are projects that I am committed to concluding by December 15th.  These include website builds, client projects, and the top priority which at the moment is top secret however I will let you all know once it unfolds.  It is important to reward your children for patience and it is also critical to demonstrate a solid work ethic.  This past Friday, as an example, my youngest daughter wanted me to do soccer drills with her in the backyard.  I let her know that my timer was on and that I would do 90 minutes of work and then take her to do her drills.  The great part about this was that not only did I make every moment count, I felt accomplished after those 90 minutes and was able to be fully present to her.

Even young children can understand a priority.  Openly share with your family what you are working on.  Let them know what your work means and specifically what it means to them.  For your adult family, who may not understand, why you are working, have open, direct, conversations.  Whether they get ‘it’ or they don’t is really none of your concern.  What matters is that you are finishing this year ahead of where you were last year.


4. Front End Load Your Week

One of my top productivity secrets is to front-end load the week.  There tends to be fewer parties on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and really no excuse to let yourself go.  I book the majority of my video meetings, Facebook lives, and anything that requires me to be on camera Monday thru Wednesday.  Doing hair and make-up takes time and by front end loading the week, I can go back-to-back with decent hair and make-up and not skip a beat.

I also recommend that my clients book anything that will make them more money, or move them ahead, at the beginning of the week so they are fresh.  During the Holidays this also allows them to feel accomplished by Wednesday night so if they are at a party on Thursday there is no guilt.


5. Maintain Your Health Regime

Time and again, I have written that nothing will take you out of production like getting sick.  During the Holidays it can be stressful and stress lowers our immune system.  Maintaining, or developing, a solid health regime during the Holidays is critical.  Personally, I start Monday with intermittent fasting to atone for the sins of the weekend.  I recommend that my clients get some form of exercise in, even twenty minutes of fasted cardio, to sharpen the mind and get the metabolism functioning.  Taking a good multi-vitamin, and loading up on the anti-oxidants can fill the nutritional gaps.  Of course, getting adequate sleep and water are essential.


Lastly, at the end of the day, it is imperative that we always take into consideration what is most important.  If it comes down to playing with your kids or re-writing your proposal for the fifth time, understand that life is precious and we can never get those moments back.  Make a decision to make the most of every moment, get more done in less time, and create the clearing to enjoy the Holidays and get everything accomplished that matters.


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Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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