Christmas again – already! Shops and streets have been decorated for weeks, and “Driving home for Christmas” is on the radio every hour. Indeed, Christmas is knocking on the door and a much-needed holiday is just around the corner. With this in mind – and with a few days still remaining – now is the perfect time to be thinking ahead, planning our work calendars and getting an overview of outstanding issues – to be ready for a well-earned break from work concerns.
We have collated a handful of top suggestions from our own facilitators and some of our ambassadors on how to successfully manage all year-end deadlines. Consider this an investment in time, which will for sure be a gift when you return after the holidays. We are all about achieving what matters – and in this case, it’s being ready for Christmas.
The old pre-Christmas purge
It is an old tradition – and a great idea – to clean any clutter before leaving for holiday. Not necessarily the favorite occupation of anyone, but don’t we all love to get back to a clean and tidy workplace! Keeping the inbox slender, which (as you might know) we are strong advocates for, will certainly give you a head start, but even with paying full attention to the inbox throughout the year, you might find resting at the bottom a couple of old ones, that were just “forgotten”. Scroll down and have them cleared up now.
Take a critical look on your deadlines
Do not leave on holiday with backlogs. Set aside time to update your personal overview including all tasks that has a due date before Christmas. Make sure to prioritize what will give you the highest value – and the most relief on its completion – and schedule time in your calendar to get these done. Do not engage in new projects or assignments this year, unless you are certain you can deliver. On anything that will have to wait, set a new and realistic deadline – so make sure to look at least a couple of weeks into next year when doing so.
Use time as your motivation
Always avoid procrastination, so you might use your upcoming holiday as a motivation to complete the tasks you’ve been avoiding. In updating your personal overview, make sure to also identify the unpleasant ones that may have been put off for weeks or even months. Face them now and get them resolved – or at least schedule time to have them done right after Christmas. And if you have been putting them off because they are not really that important, take the decision – and let them go.
Prepare your holiday exit strategy
You will know by now when you will leave for holiday and when you will be back again. Make sure your surroundings also know about this. Prepare out-of-office notifications on your phone and email – and leave personal messages in any other system that would call for feedback to those trying to reach you. Inform them about your availability, and who to contact in your absence. Let colleagues know if you can be contacted in special cases – and if someone must do your tasks for you, make sure they know about it.
Plan your return after the holidays
Schedule time in your calendar now for catching up on things when you return. Block time before engaging in meetings with others – and spend the hours necessary to go through e-mails and incoming stuff. Get a feeling of possible developments during your holiday including a revisit to your personal projects. Next, make an update of your task overview and deadlines, and block time for jobs that will require your focus. Protect yourself on return by extending your out-of-office notifications for an extra day.
With the best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, these were our favourite tips on how to get ready for a calm Christmas holiday – and get back again on top.