Christmas is less than three weeks away. Hard to believe right? 2014 is quickly wrapping up and soon we’ll be in 2015.
The holidays are also a very busy time with travel, parties, concerts and many other events.
As a result, most of us are less productive during this time. Heck, a few of us even had an extended turkey coma as a result of Thanksgiving, right?
To avoid a December slump–which could easily become a January or even February slump–I reached out to some of my friends who are amazing high-achievers to get some additional perspective.
I asked this one question:
What is your number one tip to stay productive during the holidays?
Here were the fantastic answers I received:
“Have a clear morning routine and don’t deviate from it during the holidays. If I start my day well, everything else falls into place.” Michael Hyatt
Michael also was so kind to give a link to his podcast episode here which is all about reengineering your morning so you can be more productive. It’s definitely worth a listen.
My takeaway: Don’t stay up too late. You can move forward just by getting up a few minutes earlier and going to sleep a couple minutes earlier.
“Make a map of the months of December and January. What’s the final destination? What are the stops along the way? Make the map to get you to where you want to be. Build in only as much rigidity as you need to get the absolutes done and give yourself as much flexibility as you can.” Erik Fisher of Beyond The To-Do List podcast
My takeaway: Look at your calendar and map things out. Figure out the “ABSOLUTES”.
“Work when others are not. (This is not to say… “Don’t take your vacation.”) However, when offices are empty and quiet is a great time to work on new ideas and creative work. Also, perfect opportunity to get ahead of deadlines.” Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja.com
My takeaway: Keep hustling and use opportunities to really make the most of your time.
“The most important thing is to brain dump all that needs to be done. We usually have more things than normal, and can miss them if we don’t take the time to recognize them. Then they MUST be scheduled with everything else.” Chris LoCurto of Chris Locurto.com
My takeaway: Set aside intentional time to reflect with calendar and a piece of paper.
“Don’t compare yourself to other people & feel like you have to “do Christmas” like them. It’s okay to keep it simple!” Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom.com
My takeaway: keep it simple and don’t overdo it. This also gives flexibility on the calendar and more of a chance to stay balanced and focused.
“Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. You’re not going to get as much done as other times of the year–and that’s OK.” Jon Acuff of Acuff.me
My takeaway: It’s totally cool to scale back during the holidays. Some always beats none.
“Work by context. This is how I move multiple projects forward like errands and shopping, as well as balancing things that require low energy vs. high energy.” Mike Vardy of Productivityist.com
Mike also gave me this great post found here which elaborates further on this thought. Context is very important and also provides mental clarity.
My takeaway: Be intentional to keep energy levels in mind. Gauging where I’m REALLY at is very important.
“Be consistent. If you use the holidays as a time to unplug from writing, January will be much harder. Don’t think of writing as “work,” think of it as creative expulsion instead — something you need to do. Then do it.” Sean Platt author at Sterling and Stone.com
My takeaway: Again, some always beats none. Momentum IS very important. Such good advice from Sean.
So now what?
Well, it’s time to implement these ideas and concepts into action steps and then take action. What does that look like?
Keeping things simple is very important. Erik’s advice working very much with Crystal’s.
Here is the 3-Step Summary:
1. Map out what the rest of Dec and Jan look like.
2. Ask these questions: What is most important? What can you do? What will you likely not get a chance to do? Sort this out.
Whatever doesn’t fit has to move to February or later by default. Otherwise I’m just fooling myself and wasting valuable mental energy.
3. Plan out a time–put it on the calendar–and DO IT.
If something comes up, have a plan B (meaning another alternative time that the work can be done).
Lastly, If you need accountability or assistance in sorting things out, I’d be glad to help. You can fire me an email here. I will do my very best to help get you back on track.
If you want to dig deeper and REALLY knock it out of the park in 2015, more insight is available from some of the same amazing people in this post (such as Michael Hyatt, Crystal Paine and Erik Fisher) featured in the book Ready Aim Fire. It’s like having a personal coach for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
What does your year end look like? Do you have any tips you would like to share about how you stay productive during the holidays?