There are countless reasons for being less productive once the holiday season begins. Employees may be taking more time off, your focus may be split between work, family, and all the to-do’s on your list, and clients may be less responsive. It can become easy to do less, but you may end up paying for it with an overwhelming workload to catch up on, come January.
If this is a legitimate fear, take a look at these tips on how to stay productive during the busy times ahead.
1. Try a Pomodoro
If you’ve never heard of the Pomodoro technique, that’s okay. All you need to know is that you set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on something specific for that amount of time, giving yourself a five minute reward to do whatever you want, at the end. The sprint-break-sprint-break method is one that many people use successfully, to stay focused and minimise outside distraction.
2. Say goodbye to multitasking
There’s a growing body of evidence that points toward multitasking actually being a destructive method of working. Productivity can drop, and more energy is wasted on switching gears, which can result in feeling tired more quickly. Forget trying to scroll through your Twitter feed while checking voicemail in the morning.
3. There’s an app for that
If you haven’t tried out one of the many productivity apps that are out there, you may not even realise what you’re missing. Apps like Evernote, Wunderlist, Do, Quip, and many others are designed to assemble notes, ideas, websites, photos, and files, and share them with employees.
4. Use your computer’s shortcuts
It’s always surprising how many people still use their mouse or trackpad to click on the drop down menu and then click “Save,” when shortcuts like Ctrl-S exist. That and a dozen or more other shortcuts like it can save you tiny increments of time, which can eventually add up to a lot.
5. Keep your files in the Cloud
Having an iCloud or DropBox account, or storing your files on Google Drive, can make it far easier for you to access important work from anywhere. This may not seem like a big deal, until your laptop dies just before a big meeting with a potential new client, and you can’t access your notes. For a simple guide, see our four reasons why cloud storage is so important.
For your employees:
1. Allow for more flexible schedules
During the lead up to the holidays everyone has more to do, and sometimes a child getting sick, or a holiday concert that can’t be missed needs to take priority. Being more flexible can help reduce some of that multitasking that is such a bad thing, because your employees aren’t trying to shop online while working in order to check off everything on their to-do lists.
2. Keep meetings focused
Meetings can quickly devolve into a social time between employees, when there’s more time for banter. One idea that can curb this is to make meetings shorter than usual, forcing everyone to stay on task and get more accomplished in less time (find some other useful office hacks that will make you more efficient).
3. Make your office atmosphere more festive
Whether it’s putting on some holiday music, adding indoor Christmas lights, arranging a holiday lunch or cocktail hour, or just getting everyone in the office a Starbucks gift card, letting your employees relax a little while they’re working can end up boosting productivity in the long run. It shows that you care about them, and that you want them to be happy during “the most wonderful time of the year,” no matter where they are.