The end of the year is full of excitement and holiday cheer, but it can also be a stressful time for traditional office employees. Budgets for next year need to be set in stone, goals for this year need to be met and boatloads of extra work at the office coincide with an already busy holiday schedule outside of work. With all this added stress, staying focused at your job can be tricky, but not impossible. Here are some tips to help you stay on track so that you meet all of your goals before the year’s end.
Come in early or stay late. Working a regular 8-5 shift is not always ideal when it comes to productivity, since these are the hours that most everyone will be surrounding you, causing more distractions that may prevent you from getting your work done on time. Try coming in an hour earlier than normal or staying an hour later than normal if you can. This extra hour with fewer co-workers in the office will provide you with the quiet alone time you need to work without distractions.
Keep co-workers away. Of course, you can’t avoid other office employees all day long. One of the most distracting elements of the traditional office is your own co-workers. Whether you’re working in an open office floor plan or one with high cubicle walls, there are employees at every business who just love to chat it up. On one hand, creating bonds with your fellow co-workers is a great morale booster, and it’s an excellent way to collaborate in a casual way too. On the other hand, if you need to get that end-of-year report in by the end of the day and your office buddy will not take the hint that they need to leave you alone for a while, then you could be in some serious trouble. Set aside designated times during the day in which your co-workers will know you are not available to chat. This may come in the form of time blocked off in your calendar, a note on your cubicle wall, or you can simply tell them in person or by email.
Turn off electronic distractions. This includes email, your phone, instant messaging and any other small alerts you may get throughout the day. Sure, it may only take you a couple of minutes to respond to an email or to chat over the phone, but frequent occurrences of these events can add up quickly, sucking precious moments of your days right out of your hands. Try turning off all electronic distractions for an hour or more per day so that you can really target in on the work at hand. Then set aside time specifically for answering emails and returning phone calls.
Keep yourself organized. If you aren’t able to find the materials you need to work on your projects, then you will waste valuable time looking for them, so take the time to get everything you need well-organized before starting on a large end-of-year task. Whether the things you need are electronic or hardcopy, put everything in easy-to-find folders so that you can quickly find exactly what you need at a moment’s notice.
Keep a to-do list. Writing down a to-do list is a great way to keep yourself on track and on task. Write down both daily and weekly to-do lists, and give yourself hard deadlines. This will ensure that you don’t allow yourself to fall behind on any given day.
Leave home at home. Although it can be difficult not to think about the stress and excitement of the holiday season while you’re at work, home should really be left at home. You can always think about your holiday shopping list over your lunchbreak, and coming up with decorating ideas for your house can wait until after hours. It’s great to get into the holiday spirit, but only when it will not affect the quality of your work.
Taking all of these things into consideration will help you stay as laser-focused as possible, even if you working in a busy, bustling office. When work is done in a timely matter, it creates less stress and leaves more room for holiday fun!