Dec 192012

maintain momentum during the holidays

5 Tips To Maintain Momentum During Holidays

This is a challenge that comes up several times a year:  how to maintain momentum during holidays and keep your sanity.  Like most people who work on a variety of projects, I struggle with this issue quite a bit.  It used to frustrate me that many people take a lot of time off around holidays.  Then I had an epiphany:  maybe they’re not crazy; maybe I should be changing my habits.  It’s not their fault if they want to enjoy some down time with their families.  In fact, maybe if I had any sense, I’d do the same.

That being said, I’m the stereotypical achiever who cannot relax completely.  I can (and want to) devote more time to doing family activities during the holidays, but I have to get some constructive stuff done for my business and other projects each day, or I get frustrated.  I love the extra time with my family, but in my opinion, it’s not mutually exclusive with getting some other things done as well.  I know, I know; “you should unplug completely sometimes”.  Right now, that’s not in the cards for me.  I simply don’t feel like unplugging completely.

So, here are five tips regarding approaches and mindset I’ve found helpful to balance spending a lot more quality time with my family around holidays and still satisfying my need to be productive in other matters as well.

1.)    Realize Not Everyone Is Working During The Holidays

This used to frustrate me, but now my reaction is “good for them”.  I don’t get frustrated about this anymore.  I acknowledge that people have a right to take time off around the holidays and if I need to get something done that involves someone on vacation, I get as much done as I can without their input, then schedule the rest for when they’re back from vacation.

2.)    Focus On Tasks You Can Accomplish Without Input From Others

Related to the point above, I assume that most people will be on vacation during holidays, so during that period, I try to focus on activities that don’t involve other people.  Those activities may include paperwork that’s piled up, or other miscellaneous “to do’s” that never seem to get done.  I also find that holidays are a great time to work on creative tasks, for which it’s often hard to find quality time during non-holiday periods.

3.)    Realize That You’ll Probably Have To Work Early Or Late Hours

If you’re truly going to try to spend more time with family during the holidays, you’ll need to acknowledge that most of those activities will occur during the day.  Given that, you’ll need to plan on doing your work early in the morning, or late at night.  For some of you, that may not differ much from your typical schedule; for others, it will be a big adjustment, as you’re probably used to “being productive” during work hours.

4.)    Be Sure To Get Plenty Of Exercise

While getting plenty of exercise is hardly ever a bad idea, I find that if I want to be productive during the holidays, exercise is absolutely essential.  Since all members of my family are into sports and exercise, I try to “kill two birds with one stone” and do very physical activities with my family during the extra time we’re spending together.  This helps me to keep a clear head and a reasonable waistline when I’m trying to be productive in the off hours.  Given all the culinary temptations of the holidays, that’s a worthwhile and challenging goal.

5.  Realize That If You Don’t Get It All Done, It Doesn’t Matter

The bottom line is that if you are even remotely productive during the holiday downtime period and, most importantly, you get to spend a bunch of quality time with your family, you’re way ahead of the game.  Whatever work stuff you wanted to get done that you don’t will still be there when the holidays are over.  Make sure that you recharge your batteries with your family and you’ll be that much more productive when you get back to work after the holidays.

Please notice that I did not suggest that you multi-task during the holidays.  Don’t be distracted when you’re hanging out with your family; give them your undivided attention.  Be a serial focuser, not someone who succumbs to shiny object syndrome.  Come on; put your big boy (girl) pants on.  You can do it.  Your family and sanity are worth it.

I look forward to your thoughts!  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

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  • Lillian Leon

    Paul, thanks so much for this post! I, too, am an overachiever and find it hard to relax. As I’m writing this, I’m preparing for my last blog post for the year, which will let my blog visitors know that I’m taking a well-deserved break. You’re right, not everyone will be working over the holidays – so I’m going to take this time to catch up and focus for the coming year.

    Happy Christmas to you and your family! And thanks again for reminding us that we’re all human.

    Lil 🙂

  • Hi Lillian, thanks for your message. I hope you enjoy the holidays with your family! Cherish that well-deserved break — they don’t come along too often. 🙂