The holiday season isn't typically synonymous with productivity, but it can be if you know what to do.
- Move while others rest
Many people move into coast mode at the end of the year. Since their attention is diverted to other things, and so is everyone else’s, they rationalise that they might as well settle in and wait for January. The fact is, those who are focused and hustle in December don’t have to 'gear up' in January; they have built in momentum, and by comparison have made tremendous real progress during this month.
You can make real progress towards your goals in December, but when taken in context of others, any forward progress puts you further and further ahead of the game (and closer and closer to your goals). Speed up while others slow down. Make that your mantra and you will love the results.
- Learn from the people you are with
In December, you may have the chance to spend time with old friends and family that you rarely see. You may also be in situations where you meet new people. Most people see this as either a good chance for a party or an obligation that must be met. While either of those may be true, the opportunity to learn from those you interact with is great. Go to these gatherings to enjoy yourself, but also to learn from the experiences and expertise of those you talk to. Move beyond small talk to discuss their lessons, their ideas and more. You may create or deepen a relationship while you glean ideas and learnings from these people. Here’s how to do this - start with one less drink, and five more questions.
- Capture the energy of the season
Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is hard to ignore the energy this season brings. The music is different, the smiles are more frequent and there is generally a more positive feeling all around. If you notice that energy, feed off of it. Bring more hope, joy and gratitude to your work and life. Raise your sights and be more positive by soaking up the positivity and goodwill around you. (And while you are at it, be a carrier of these emotions too, not just a sponge.)
- Reflect on the past 11 months
One of the most powerful ways to learn is by reflecting on your own experiences, good and bad, repeatable or not. And while this can be done at any time, there is no better time than December to do it. Forward progress is nearly always aided by deep thought about both the past and the future. Thus, make December a time of reflection and learning, setting the stage for faster and more confident progress forward in the New Year.
- Use the Golden Week
The Golden Week is the week between Christmas and New Year's - if you are working during this time, you can get so much done because fewer people around you are working. Dedicate yourself to staying focused (there will be far fewer distractions) and completing as many tasks as you can during these days. Yes, you can look forward to your New Year’s activities, but you will enjoy them much more with the satisfaction of accomplishment in your immediate past.
If you aren't working during this week, it is still a Golden Week! Schedule some time for yourself, to reflect, plan and work on your goals. Put that time in your calendar, let others know and hold firm to it - you will be glad that you did.
- Make some memories
It is likely you will spend time with family and close friends in the coming weeks. Make it one of your productivity decisions to spend time with those close to you and make some memories that will last a lifetime. You know the family stories you talk about every holiday? Why not resolve to create some new ones this year.
- Encourage others
The advice here has been personal in nature. This one is more about others. This is a time of year when people tend to share positive messages, like: 'Happy New Year!', 'Have a Great Holiday!', 'See you Next Year!' will be said over and over. But rather than just sharing those warm thoughts, why not genuinely encourage and appreciate the people around you this holiday? Share specific thanks and genuine encouragement. It may be the best gift you give this season. And when you do so, you will see the tangible truth in the adage 'it is more blessed to give than receive'.