The holiday season is upon us. Along with all the joy and good cheer comes plenty of shiny distractions to take your mind off your work. Before you give up on getting anything done until the middle of January, try these tips for staying focused through the holidays.

1. Make your list

During the holiday season you might be juggling a lot more than normal. Not only are you delivering client projects and remembering to pick the kids up from hockey practice, you also have to find time to buy presents for every member of your extended family and cook dinner for 20 people, three of whom have dietary restrictions.

Without a plan, these added expectations can quickly lead to overwhelm. Keep yourself sane by writing down everything you have to do between now and January 2nd both at work and at home. (Yes, this might induce a mild panic attack, but I promise it will be worth it.)

Assign each task to a day. That way, instead of thinking of the holiday season as one massive to-do list, you can focus on just one day at a time. You might actually get to enjoy yourself.

2. Check it twice

If anything non-essential shows up on your list, cross it off immediately. If it makes you feel better, you can create an “after the New Year List”, but don’t overload yourself with unimportant tasks during an already busy season. That only leads to stress and general Grinchiness. 

On the other hand, make sure you include some time for fun. The holiday season is a time to enjoy friends and family. Build your traditions and holiday celebrations into your to-do list. Don’t be the guy who goes into work on Christmas Eve to finish up that one big project. 

3. Be nice to yourself

Here comes the important part. Once you know what you need to accomplish each day, block time to get those essential tasks done. If you put “build a gingerbread house with the kids” on your calendar you can build the rest of your day around it, just like you would do for a business meeting. Keep blocks between 45 minutes and 4 hours, so you have time to dig in, but not so much time that you end up losing focus. 

4. Shut out distractions

Finally, protect your focus by shutting out distractions. When you’re home with the family, put your phone on silent or in another room so you’re not distracted by work. When you’re at work, throw on some headphones or shut your office door to get some privacy. 

When you focus on one thing at a time, you’re able to get more done with less stress. If focusing just isn’t an option in your current workspace, give yourself the gift of a coworking membership or private office at College Park Executive Suites. Our quiet but connected work spaces give you plenty of room to focus, so you can actually enjoy this holiday season.