Working Through the Holiday Season – How to Stay Focused

Dec 14, 2018

It is beginning to feel a lot like… the holiday season.

No, I don’t just mean the peppermint mochas, Christmas cookies, and holiday lights; I mean it is starting to feel like the holiday season at work.

Meaning—Distraction city.

Between ugly sweaters, office parties, and secret Santa exchanges, it is hard to feel focused at work this time of year.

So, how do you stay on task during the holiday season? Because, let’s face it, even though this time of year can be enjoyable, you still have a job to do.

Well, here are a few tips on how to stay productive:

Separate work and personal tasks

We all know those people who wait until the last minute to do their holiday shopping. The stress of not knowing what to get for someone, wondering if your Amazon package will get here on time, or if your Aunt Bertha will behave at the annual family get-together. All of these stresses can cloud your mind when you are in the workplace. This is why it is important to separate the two: work tasks and personal tasks.

When you are at work, focus on work. I know this is easier said than done, but when you alleviate your mind of all the outside distractions, it allows your brain to better focus on the tasks at hand.

Be Organized!

It can be hard to keep track of everything that needs to get done during this time of year. So, get all your tasks out of your head and put them on paper. Take a pen and notepad and outline the things you need to accomplish at work before you go on vacation, or before the end of the year.

Once you have a list of the important things that need to get done, create a schedule that outlines that to-do list, so it becomes more manageable.

This way, you have a written reminder of what you need to do for work and when it needs to be done by, to keep you on the right track.


Work on one project at a time and prioritize which are the most important. Don’t be afraid if you need to ask someone for assistance. Keeping your mind focused on one task at a time will make it easier to be efficient and productive.

BEWARE… Distractions!

Distractions are everywhere, holiday time or not. But you need to recognize when the distractions start becoming harmful to your workflow.

Find something that helps you to stay focused. This could mean closing your office door, playing music on your headphones, or sitting in a quiet-secluded space. Whatever you can do to push out those distractions and make the most of your time at the office.

Don’t stretch yourself too thin

Whether it be work life or personal, DO NOT over commit. Balance your work obligations with your holiday activities. Sometimes this means saying no. You want to maintain a good work-life balance, and if that means you can’t attend your friend Sarah’s gingerbread house competition, then IT IS OKAY. No one can be in ten places at once. When you are overloaded, this can lead to stress which ultimately can lead to diminished productivity at work.


Take time to recharge

Yes, this is the the season of giving, BUT it is also imperative to take care of your personal well-being.

Exercising is a great way to release all the stresses of the day. When you exercise, your body releases neurochemicals called endorphins, which are proven to elevate your overall mood.

If you can’t make it to a gym, try going for a walk around the park during your lunch break, or even take the stairs instead of an elevator in your office. Anything that gets you up and on your feet.

It is also important to take care of your mental health. Try meditation, yoga, or mindful breathing.  These methods can help better focus your mind and bring it to a calm state, so you do not feel overwhelmed.

And most importantly, make sure you are getting enough sleep. There is no need to stay up watching holiday infomercials until the wee hours of the morning or trying to squeeze in last minute gift wrapping; it will all be there tomorrow. You need to let your brain rest, relax and recharge. Try and get at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night so you can take on the next day.

Happy Holidays from Friday Services!

By Brianna Ek 


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