With all of the planning, shopping and running around involved with the holiday season, it’s easy to run out of fuel at work. The holidays are a mentally draining and distracting time of year that can truly affect your focus and overall work productivity. Boost your energy and increase your motivation this holiday season — and any time of the year— by checking out these 6 ways to get through without allowing your brain to melt into your hot cocoa.
Think of your brain as a smartphone. While it’s capable of running various “apps” at a time, it has a limited amount of RAM. Too many open apps and it won’t run nearly as well if you had just one open. When your attention is split between various cognitive tasks (i.e. meetings, project deadlines, holiday planning, shopping lists) your brain can become mentally exhausted and burn out. Boost up your energy at the office by minimizing your distractions and avoiding the urge to multitask. If you can eliminate meetings during the holiday season, take them off of your calendar. Avoid coupling work tasks and crossing off your holiday shopping list by setting work deadlines for yourself. Keep yourself accountable to them by giving the deadlines to a work partner or boss who can help you stay on task. Even getting all of your gift shopping done at once by taking a weekend day or work evening to online shop can go a long way.
Everyone who goes to work in an office knows someone like Debbie. She’s filled with holiday glee and radiates positive festive cheer with her candy cane sprinkled muffins and gingerbread cookies, but the truth is, her sugars and treats are a downer. All of her sugar and sweets will have you souring one moment and crashing at your desk the next. Ramp up your energy at work by avoiding the Christmas gift baskets when they make their round to your desk. Instead, opt for foods and drinks that will keep you productive in the workplace. Munch on snacks like almonds or cashews and go for healthy carbs like yams and carrots.
Getting sick can be the sniffly sniper of productivity in the office and cause a dip in your work rate faster than you can say the word “influenza.” Unfortunately, there’s always someone in the office who will bring in the office holiday bug. Decrease your likelihood of catching an illness by keeping your workspace clean, getting enough sleep at home, and ramping up your immune system with a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables. Following these steps, plus other helpful health tips, can help in decreasing an illness-related drop in your productivity. And if you’re sick, do your workmates a favor and call out!
Season Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a huge problem in the winter months for almost 5 percent of adults in the United States, though you don’t need a prescription to know that being indoors all the time can leave you a bit melancholy. Symptoms include depression, fatigue and odd sleeping patterns that can be extremely taxing. When the sun is blocked during the winter months and it gets dark before you’re out of the office, Seasonal Affective Disorder can lead to depression.
Help yourself by combating SAD by heading out of the office when the rays are still out, even if it’s just for a brisk walk at lunch. Suggest your team do it’s morning 10 minute outside, or go for a quick breath of fresh air during that coffee break. Dipping outside for a quick walk can do good for your fitness as well especially since, try as you may, Debbie’s muffin basket can be easy to give into.
Embrace The Holiday Cheer
Let’s face it, everybody loves Elf on the Shelf, candles, holiday wreaths and mini Santa Clauses. While too many decorations can be distracting, getting a little festive in the office can keep the spirits up for the office worker who feels overwhelmed or unmotivated. This year, make the decision to not let the holidays get you down by suggesting a work holiday party, stocking seasonal drinks in the communal fridge, or planning after-work excursions to nearby ice rinks. Setting a time to mingle and have fun with your coworkers might just be the boost of morale your team needs.
You don’t actually have to head out with the locals and sing “Joy To The World” from door to door, but embracing the holiday season with some tunes can go a long way. In fact, scientific research has found listening to music can release the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine, which can do quite a number on lifting your spirits. After you’ve powered through and finished a task, pop in your headphones and give yourself 15 minutes to listen to some music to get you motivated. Keep your brain on its toes by trying out a new song. Try out an oldie with a newbie twist and check out Pentatonix’s “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” It’s the perfect holiday tune for a cappella nerds.