EA - Productivity During the Holiday Season

Productivity During the Holiday Season

With only 10 days left in the year, many people are winding down their work projects to enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. While it is important to focus on the people that you love, don’t make the mistake of throwing productivity out the window too early. You still have time to wrap things up before the end of the year, helping you enjoy a strong finish in 2018.

As a business owner, the last few weeks of the year offer the perfect opportunity for you to set the tone for the New Year. Right now is the time that you need to be thinking about resolutions and 2019 goals. Don’t wait until January 1st to set your intentions for 2019. Instead, lay the foundation right now and maintain a little more productivity before December comes to a close.

Finding Time Between Family Activities and Social Events

It’s no surprise that the calendar is filled with social events and family activities through the month of December. Even though the holiday season should be a time of joy and relaxation, many people find that they are stretched thin trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done. Small business owners feel the burden more than ever during this time of year.

Not only are you trying to keep up with your kid’s Christmas recitals and family gift exchange parties, but you are also juggling a Christmas party for your employees, year-end accounting and bookkeeping tasks, and wrapping up any final tax strategies that need to be put into place. It might feel like there are no opportunities for you to squeeze in a little more work.

But, you will be surprised to see that there are times when you can boost your productivity a little more to maximize your efforts this year. You don’t need to block out 4 or 5 hours at a time. Instead, look for small windows on your schedule that can be filled with productive tasks. For example, if you have an extra hour between the close of the office and the time that the recital starts, it could be the perfect opportunity to review business transactions for the month. Or, you can set your alarm clock 30 minutes early so that you have a little extra time to catch up on emails or write down your New Year’s resolutions.

With a little creativity, you can always find time for the things that matter most. Determine your priorities, and then structure your schedule so that everything is covered.

Strategies to Boost Productivity

Here are a few tips that might be used to boost your productivity through the holiday season. Some of these strategies can be used throughout the year if you need help with productivity during other months:

  • Identify Your Priorities: Everything might seem important if you don’t identify the things that matter most to you. What are your priorities for the next few weeks? Writing down these priorities can help you determine which activities should be included on your calendar. For most small business owners, priorities are focused on quality time with family, holiday celebrations, year-end tax planning, identifying new goals, and wrapping up any paperwork that needs to be addressed before the year comes to a close.
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Activities: Simplification is essential, especially when the calendar is booked during the holidays. Review your commitments and identify things that don’t match your priorities. For example, choose your family’s favorite holiday activity to share instead of spending time at a holiday party that you feel obligated to attend.
  • Overcome Computer Fatigue: When you need to spend a few hours at the computer, get out of your chair every hour to stretch and give your eyes a rest from the screen. Even small 5 or 10 minute breaks can have an impressive impact to boost your focus.
  • Respect Your Physical Health: If you feel like you are burning the candle at both ends, then it might be time to switch things up so that you can overcome fatigue. Small daily habits can have a significant impact on your energy levels each day, giving you more “go-power” to finish the day strong. Drink plenty of water, get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night, and maintain a healthy diet so that you aren’t sluggish from junk food and too much sugar.
  • Move Your Body: At the same time, it is important to get your heart rate up each day so that you have the energy to push through the difficult activities. Even though you might not have time to spend 90 minutes at the gym, a few small exercises can make you feel energized. Block out 15 minutes in your morning routine to do calisthenics or HIIT training. A few bodyweight exercises can have an incremental impact on your energy. When your body feels good, then it improves productivity because you have more confidence and energy.
  • Identify Baby Steps: Are you overwhelmed by the major tasks that need to be accomplished before the end of the year? If the overwhelm is stopping you from taking action, then try breaking things down into baby steps. These bite-size pieces make the job more manageable. You can identify the next action to take that will get you closer to your goal.
  • Create a Comfortable Work Environment: When you are finishing up a work project for the year, it’s important that you have a place where you can focus on the task at hand. Sometimes it can be hard to maintain focus if your house is full of family or the kids are home from school. Carve out an hour or two in the morning and spend that time at the local library or a coffee shop if you need a quiet place to work.
  • Set Deadlines: It is easy to push everything to the backburner during the holiday season and tell yourself that you will get to it after the New Year. Instead of procrastinating things that are urgent, set self-imposed deadlines so that you prioritize the right work activities. A little bit of stress to meet a deadline will go a long way to help you meet a goal.
  • Implement the Five-Minute Rule: Do you find that the hardest part is getting started on a project, then simplify the starting line by telling yourself that you only need to do five minutes of work on that project. Most of the time, you’ll find that it’s easy to keep going once you are in motion. Make it a race against the clock to see how fast you can accomplish the task. For example, if you need to work on bookkeeping tasks and it is time to review the year-end reports, then set a timer for five minutes on the project. You’ll see that the first five minutes are enough to get you “in the groove” so that you can keep going to wrap up the tasks that needed to be done.
  • Minimize Unnecessary Meetings: There are always reasons to have meetings, but the end of the year is not the time when you should be filling your work schedule with unnecessary meetings. Instead of scheduling conference calls and employee evaluations during this time, put them on your calendar for January so that you can prioritize your work hours that are more important for the year-end goals that need to be met.
  • Stop Multitasking: It’s a myth that you can accomplish more when you have several activities happening at the same time. If you are trying to multitask, then overall productivity goes down. Psychologists have reported that completing several tasks simultaneously usually results in lost productivity and time. Instead, finish one task before moving onto the next.
  • Try Time Blocking: With a time blocking strategy, you dedicate chunks of the day to specific tasks for activities. For example, you might set 2 or 3 hours of focused work time, then dedicate the rest of the evening to spend with your family. During that work time, maximize the activities that are completed, giving you the freedom to focus your full attention on your loved ones when you are done with work. This strategy helps you create clear boundaries so that work tasks don’t take away from family priorities.

While it is important to finish the year on the right foot for your business goals, also remember that it is a time when you need to take care of yourself and your family. It is normal for the schedule to be adjusted for the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean that you let important work responsibilities fall through the cracks. Instead, find the right balance that works for your business and your personal life. Draw boundaries and implement strategies that will help you achieve success in all areas.

One of the best things that you can do in the New Year is outsource bookkeeping and accounting tasks so that you can improve your productivity. If you are ready to learn more about the outsourced accounting services that are available, then we would love to talk to you. Call Easier Accounting at (888) 620-0770

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *