How to Stay Focused in a Social Season
Most of us have trouble staying focused at work on any regular day, and the holiday season poses a special challenge for workplace productivity. In addition to the regular day-to-day distractions we face during the rest of the year (talkative co-workers, office politics and so on), the holidays bring additional interruptions in the form of increased family obligations, entertaining, shopping for gifts, attending or planning weddings and eating too much heavy food. This, along with colleagues taking more time off than usual and being non-productive on the whole, it stands to reason that you too will lose momentum at work.
Here are some ways to remain focused and maintain high levels of productivity during this time:
1. Eliminate distractions. At the office, maintain single minded focus on work. According to a study piloted by the Carnegie Mellon University, interruptions can cause the quality of your work to decline significantly.
2. Don't over-commit. Keeping focused and maintaining a good work-life balance sometimes means saying no. Don't feel obliged to go to every gathering or party you are invited to.
3. Be organised. Write out to-do lists, both personal and professional; once you see all your commitments decide which ones to do which ones to drop. Prioritising your tasks allows you to focus your energy and time where it is most needed.
4. Avoid multitasking. Give your full attention to a single task; in the long run, you will get more done. As Douglas Merrill writes in Forbes, multitasking works pretty well when you are doing things that do not require much thinking (like washing dishes and chatting on the phone), but when you are doing multiple tasks that involve using your mind, it stops being effective.
5. Take care of yourself physically. Make sure you get enough sleep and keep an eye on what you eat and drink. Increases in sugary foods and beverages will slow you down mentally and physically. Maintaining a regular workout routine can help boost energy levels.
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