The holidays can be a joyous time. Lots of decorating, fancy parties, good food and time with family and friends. But the holidays can also be stressful. Between getting all your shopping done, prepping your house for guests and standing in line at the post office, how do you balance the festivities while also getting your work done?
Make a To-Do List
When I know I have a lot of projects or tasks to accomplish, I find it extremely helpful to make a to-do list. Personally, I like to separate my to-do lists into work and home/personal. Separating the list into these categories feels more manageable to me, and helps me focus on the tasks I can complete while at work or home, versus seeing one big list and feeling like I have to get it all done in one day. This also helps to keep your work and home life separate, so you don’t find yourself Christmas shopping online at your desk (hello, Amazon Prime) or sending work emails at home before you go to bed.
Making a physical to-do list helps keep you accountable with your tasks, as well as a providing a way to visualize what you do immediately. Find the best way that works for you to organize and keep track of your list, whether it be on paper, your phone or even using technology like Bullet Journaling. The easier your list is to access, the more likely you are to utilize it.
Be sure to cross things off the list as you do them, so when you look back you can see how much you have accomplished. I like to cross things off as well as put the date it was completed beside it; that way, I have no question about when it was done. If you are the type of person who prioritizes bigger tasks first, be sure to give yourself the appropriate amount of time to finish them. For instance, if you know you need to make a lot of sales calls, perhaps put it on your list for the week and allot yourself a couple hours a day to get it done. Don’t forget to put easy, fun things on your list too! With all the hustle and bustle during this season, you might have to add “send out holiday cards to customer list” or “make cookies” as a reminder to enjoy some of the things, rather than letting them feel like a chore.
Don’t Put Things Off
Something about the holiday season makes it exponentially easier to put things off. From the week leading up to Thanksgiving, to the week after the New Year, I find the stop-and-go of work to be a disruption to my routine. Every year by mid-December I begin to feel like I’m having trouble staying focused due to traveling, days off and work deadlines. As a general rule during the holidays, try your best not to put things off. If you know your dealership needs more brochures or employees need new business cards, do it as soon as — if not before — they run out. With the chaos of online or in-store ordering for the holidays, things can often be delayed with shipping due to high volumes of orders being placed. Make sure your dealership is well prepared in advance, so there are no unpleasant surprises to cause stress during a busy time of the year.
Feeling overwhelmed is the best time to put things off, because that means you can do it later, at a time when you aren’t as busy. While this can certainly be helpful for some things, it can also set you up for a hardship later on. Returning to work after a vacation or a break can be particularly difficult. If you avoid putting things off until your return from the holidays, you can find yourself coming back to a giant pile of things on your desk, which creates a new sense of dread and stress. Try to set yourself up for success by getting as much as you can crossed off your to-do list so you can return to work and ease yourself back into your routine.
Ask for Help
Asking for help often feels like admitting defeat, or that you couldn’t do something. Because of this reason, people shy away or hesitate when feeling overwhelmed because they don’t want colleagues or friends to feel like they aren’t capable of doing something or pulling their weight at work. However, if you feel like you’re drowning in work and suffering from a post-holiday hangover feeling, ask for help. Speaking from personal experience, it is so much better to both ask lots of questions and for help when you truly need it rather than falling behind.
The holidays add an extra layer of anxiety and stress, both work-related and personally. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at work or at home. Maybe you don’t have the time or resources to schedule your dealerships’ social media posts, but you know your co-worker has some extra time at the end of the week. Ask for them to help if they are able, or if they can direct you to someone else who can. Learning how to ask for help can greatly increase your productivity and overall well-being and creates a better work environment for everyone.
After you have created your to-do list, and embraced not putting things off and asking for help, be sure to enjoy the holidays and time away from work. Take the time to recharge and put your best foot forward for your customers as well as your family and colleagues. Be sure not to let the holidays bog down your productivity. Don’t overwork yourself and definitely have that extra glass of eggnog, you deserve it!