How to handle your workload before Christmas

How to handle your workload before Christmas

The holiday season is approaching which means not only holiday cheer but holiday stress for the office worker. Christmas should be a time that we can think about kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying time with the family. However, in the average office environment, your workload can feel heavier than ever.

Your working time is going to be cut not only by your time off but by the office Christmas party, too. What’s more, you want to avoid spending more time at the office that could be spent finding presents and preparing the home for the big day. Managing your workload so you have a little more freedom to get into the holidays guilt-free can help reduce any feelings of stress, so here are some tips to do just that.


Set your objectives

Every day should start with a ten-to-thirty-minute preparatory phase. Most of us aren’t very productive from the get-go, so think of this as a warm-up exercise for the workday.

Keep a to-do list of the things you want to tackle each day. However, you want to split that to-do list up. Order those tasks by urgency and priority to ensure you know what definitely needs to be done today. Consider keeping a “to-not-do” list for the tasks that can be kept for another day when you have more time to spare.


Schedule your work smartly

Once you’ve identified what you want to accomplish today, create a schedule for it. Break your day into chunks of time that you can allocate to different tasks.

Make sure you schedule in time for the essentials, such as checking your email and taking short breaks, so they don’t interrupt your flow. As best as possible, stick to that schedule so you’re always moving onto the next task when it's time comes.

“Batching” is a good technique, too. It’s the art of having tasks with similar workstyles next to each other. For instance, if you have two tasks that involve making use of spreadsheet software, try to do them one after the other. When you have to switch the tools, you use to do your work, you also need some time to switch your mental gears. Batching tasks reduces the amount of time switching from one mindset to another and back again.


Organise your resources

This is a tip that works the whole year round. Whatever resources you turn to, whether it’s paper notes, documents, emails, or digital files, you should keep them organised.

Separate your email inbox into different subject folders so you can always quickly find that one email you need. Use coloured post-it notes to make your wall or corkboard easy to navigate much quicker.

Similarly, use colourful folder separators to make it easy to quickly flip to the documents you need at that time in particular. Five-to-ten minutes getting your resources more organised each day will save you much more time in the long-run.


Don’t worry about deadlines

The majority of office workers know what it’s like to stare down the barrel of a deadline that seems unreasonable. In many cases, people make the mistake of putting it off and trying to think about it as little as possible. Break your time-sensitive task down into chunks and use the organising tips mentioned above to see when you’re going to do each and every task. Identify what steps in the task need outside help, such as information gathering or collaborative work, and send your requests for the help you need off in advance as best as possible.

If a looming deadline turns out to simply be impossible, tell your manager or boss as soon as possible and ask for an extension or for more resources. Offer an explanation for why the deadline isn’t feasible as well as a solution.

Most importantly, think carefully before you accept any deadlines. Do you have space in your workload to take it on right now?


Focus and power through it

You don’t want to burn yourself out before Christmas by working too hard. However, with the right approach to achieving focus, you don’t have to.

First of all, identify distractions and try to get rid of them as best as possible. If you’re being distracted by office chatter, think about using noise-cancelling headphones and using background music to help you focus.

If email or social media are holding you back, schedule one or two periods throughout the day where you can check them so you’re not constantly going back to them. It’s also wise to avoid trying to multitask. Focus on one thing at a time so you can get it over and done with more quickly before moving onto the next.

Reducing your workload and keeping it at a manageable level before Christmas is going to make it much easier to actually look forward to the holiday. Hopefully, the tips above get you sorted in time for Santa.


Great work starts in a great environment

Whether a little gift from yourself to yourself before the festive period starts or something more substantial to start your new year off on a positive start, a quality ergonomic chair or a brand new desk fit for purpose could help get your productivity back to where it needs to be.

Take a look around our website to see what we have available or give our team a call on 0800 092 1985.

Posted by Paul Randall
28th November 2018