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Whether it’s having to cover for colleagues taking time off or simply maintaining your motivation when it seems like there are so many other fun and festive things you could be doing,  it can be quite a struggle to focus on your work during the holiday season. Keep your professional reputation intact and prevent having to deal with the aftermath of your procrastination – check out these four ways to help yourself be more productive around the holidays:

  1. Focus on What Matters Most – Since you already know that motivation is likely to be in short supply during the holiday season, make your effort count by focusing on what matters most. Identify your top priority tasks and concentrate on those only, so you don’t waste your limited motivation on things that won’t have much impact. Even if you don’t accomplish as much as you usually would, you will at least make progress toward something that has an impact.
  2. Time Your Tasks – Work smarter, not harder to maintain your productivity during the holidays by timing your tasks according to your energy levels. As you plan your To-Do list for the day, schedule your tasks that require the most focus (or the ones you know you are most likely to put off) for the periods of the day when your energy is at its peak. Then, once your motivation starts to wane, you can work on tasks that don’t require as much deep concentration, such as responding to emails.
  3.  Aim for Consistent Progress – Waiting until you have the time and motivation during the holidays to put forth lots of effort to tackle a time-consuming project likely will mean that not much gets accomplished. Rather than an “all or nothing” mentality, aim for consistent progress, no matter how small. Working on a key task for sessions of 30, 15, even five minutes at a time will get you closer to your end goal than relying on large bursts of motivation that come and go (and that likely won’t occur at all during the distractions of the holiday season).
  4. Schedule in Breaks – Taking breaks to recharge is always important for productivity, but especially so during times in which focus is a challenge. Schedule in brain breaks, such as setting aside time to read industry articles, check emails, or stretch your legs and get some water after periods of concentration on tasks. Knowing you have a break coming up, as opposed to trying to power through with no end in sight, can make it easier to start working and stay on task.

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