Sometimes the holidays can feel like more work than our actual jobs. The year is ending and we want to finish all of our projects and accomplish all of the goals we had set for the previous year – while simultaneously juggling all the expectations the holidays bring.
It can be extremely difficult to direct your focus away from work during the holidays, especially when there are emails piling up and projects you haven’t gotten a chance to finish yet. Nearly half of us report being more stressed out after the holiday break than rested. At Checkfront, we hope you are of the other half.
Here are some tips on how to get catch up and avoid feeling overwhelmed with work after the holidays.
Make a list
Spend some time without distraction to compile a to-do list. Don’t worry yet about the order of the list but more about just getting everything out of your mind onto paper. Making a list is proven to help ease the mind and reduce stress. When we write things down we stop spending energy on trying to not forget. We tend to focus on a single task at a time and refer to the list when required for further direction.
Consider that some big tasks can be split into smaller tasks and not all of them may be urgent. Breaking your projects and goals down into more manageable pieces will help you conceptualize what is needed for it to be accomplished.
One of the most important ways to reduce stress and feel productive is just to start. Making a list will help determine priorities and map out where to begin. Separate the list into 2 columns: Things you need to do, and things you want to do for the week (or further if you’d like). Mark the items that are urgent and bring them to the top of the list.
If your list is long and you’re not sure how to categorize all the items, try the “big thing, little things” method. Make a note of the one big thing you want to accomplish that week or for each day followed by 3 little things as seen below.
Consider which items on the list will require teamwork to complete. Assign names next to these projects and outline what sort of tasks you will need from those individuals. This will help you communicate the needs of the project or goal to others and let you focus on what your responsibilities are.
Once priorities have been determined, set realistic deadlines. Don’t set yourself up for failure and assign all projects to be completed by the end of the week. Refer back to your priorities list and consider what is urgent and what can wait.
By setting some deadlines and giving yourself timeframes for the items on your to do list, you can create a sense of urgency, but organization in what may feel like chaos.
Create a done list
It may sound silly or even like a waste of time, but creating a done list is an excellent way to measure your productivity, stay motivated, feel relieved, and recognize your victories.
There’s an app called iDoneThis where yourself or teams can log on each day and record what’s been completed.
Creating a list and prioritizing your goals and objectives is a great way to start your week after a break. Making this activity a weekly routine builds the habits of staying organized and working smarter, not harder. When you’ve hit milestones and accomplished goals, don’t forget to always reward yourself.