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Staying Focused during the Holidays

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Whether you work on-site, hybrid or from a home office, staying focused before a holiday break can be challenging. 

Many workers are trying to squeeze in last minute shopping, meal planning, and celebratory get togethers, while balancing work obligations, employee and customer appreciation events, year-end accounting tasks or building a pipeline for the New Year.  All this can all be challenging to balance during the Holidays. 

To help make the most of your time (at work and at home), read on for some helpful tips to keep the holidays feeling “cheerful” and less “dreadful”:

Start with a Plan for your Return:

  • Keep a running list of critical tasks to focus on first, upon returning from the break.

  • Use your calendar to block time and create reminders for priorities. 

  • Creating and documenting a plan for transitioning back to work, can help you to relax when you’re away. 

Communicate Boundaries:

  • Clearly communicate your availability to colleagues, customers, and team members.  Consider “not now” instead of “no” and suggest a time to reconnect after the break. 

  • Set realistic expectations for what can be accomplished in the now, and after the break.

  • Utilize your Out of Office message, and on-line status, so that everyone knows when you are off the clock.

Prioritize Tasks:

Assign tasks into four boxes:

1.       Important/urgent - demands immediate attention.

2.       Important/not urgent - tasks towards goals without a pressing deadline.

3.       Not Important/urgent - needs to be done but maybe not by you every time.

4.       Not important/not urgent – distractions – keep them, but only in moderation.


Set Clear & Achievable Goals:

  • Define specific, achievable goals for the day or week.

  • Break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.

Time Blocking:

  • Allocate specific blocks of time to focus on specific tasks.

  • Minimize multitasking to enhance concentration.


  • Schedule short breaks to rest and recharge. Walking away from your workstation, and getting fresh air outdoors for even a few minutes, clears your mind and allows for creativity of thought. 

  • Use techniques like closing distracting apps for blocks of time (work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break), like the Pomodoro Technique.

Positive Visualization:

  • Visualize the satisfaction of completing tasks so you can enjoy the holiday break, knowing you have planned for a productive return after the Holidays. 

  • Focus on being present and in the moment – the work now, and the Holiday break with friends and family. 

Remember that it's important to strike a balance between being productive and allowing yourself the time to celebrate and to be present during the holiday season.

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