It’s harder to be productive during the holiday season. As you struggle to stay on track, here are 5 home business productivity tips that can help.
The first week of December isn’t over yet, and I’m already behind in my work. One of the reasons is that Thanksgiving was late this year, which means that we’ve been trying to hurry and get the Christmas stuff up before Christmas actually arrives. And, of course, this year the shorter season means difficulty in terms of getting the holiday shopping done and dealing with other issues.
There’s also a lot going on during the holiday season. Parties to attend, special Christmas recitals (my son has a holiday recital coming up), charity work, and more. And heaven save you if you celebrate multiple holidays during this time of year.
Home business productivity is dropping as a result (and it isn’t helping that I feel sorry for myself). But, because I need to press forward, I’ve taken a deep breath and made a plan. Here are 5 home business productivity tips I’m going to start using today. They can help you stay on track this holiday season as well:
1. Block Out Time to Do Holiday Things
Rather than trying to squeeze in time for holiday things around work (or squeeze in time for work around holiday things), it makes sense to block out time for holiday tasks. I plan to block out 2 days later this week for holiday tasks. I’m going to put together the annual letter and address cards, get my shopping done (pro tip: do it online and it takes less time and results in a lot less hassle). My husband and I have spent two hours in the evenings putting up holiday decorations, instead of watching TV together.
When you schedule these tasks and tackle them head on with planned time, it’s much easier to concentrate on your home business tasks. You know that your holiday tasks will be taken care of, so you can stop worrying about them as much. Plus, having that break to do something other than work can recharge you and get you ready to do more later.
This is on every home business productivity list because it’s a good idea. Prioritize your work. Make sure you get the most important items taken care of first. That way, if you do have to drop something off your list, it’s something that isn’t as important.
3. Know Which Items Take Less Time
The other day, I found myself with 20 minutes, my smart phone, and nothing to do (we were getting my son’s glasses fixed). I immediately thought of a few short emails that needed to be addressed. I was able to knock out responses during this time.
After you have prioritized your list, it’s much easier to identify which items are likely to take small amounts of time. Tackle those items quickly to get them out of the way. You’ll demolish your to-do list, and feel good about it, so you have more (and focus) time for the bigger projects later.
Sometimes, having those small items nagging you can be a distraction you don’t need. Boost your home business productivity by setting aside 15 to 30 minutes and getting them done and out of the way.
4. Don’t Try to Multitask
Studies show that multitasking hurts productivity more than it helps. Rather than try to do multiple things at once, focus on one thing at a time. You can use strategies like the Pomodoro technique to help you focus your time and energy on one thing so that you can get it done.
Figure out what you are going to work on now, and then focus just on that thing. Do what you can to keep out distractions, whether find a way to block your access to the Internet, shut yourself away in a room no one is allowed into, or whether you put on the headphones to music that inspires you and you just go, look for ways to minimize distractions and focus on one task at a time. You’ll get it done faster and better and be ready to move on to the next item on your list.
5. Learn to Say No
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your home business productivity is to learn how to say no. You don’t have to attend every holiday party (my family is skipping our congregation’s Christmas party), and you don’t have to buy presents for every single person you know. Sometimes you need to purge the holiday list. And, as terrible as it sounds, there are times when you need to say no to the volunteering and just give money to your favorite charity rather than you time.
I even had to say no to a few potential clients, telling them that I’m not taking on new work until after the New Year. Don’t over-commit yourself, only to find that you can’t meet your obligations.
What are your best home business productivity tips for the holidays?