Bah Humbug: How to Be Productive and Enjoy the Holidays, Too by @WSRapport

by Karima Mariama-Arthur | Featured Contributor 

SOIXMASWhen the holidays roll around, it’s pretty difficult to think about work. Generous offers to celebrate good tidings and cheer are everywhere. Vacation days get ramped up and half days become the norm. The problem, however, is that the work doesn’t go away.

What to do? Don’t fret. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Use these tips to balance your work obligations against your social engagements this holiday season:

1.  Plan your calendar in advance. The way to effectively get your projects completed and enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the holidays is to plan for both. Yes, I said both. You can have your cake and eat it, too! Figure out which major items require your attention and then prioritize them. But, only choose significant ones. If you get bogged down in the muck and mire of insignificant tasks, you’ll quickly find that free time will be elusive.

Once you’ve prioritized key tasks, chunk out their execution. Chunking is a proven, strategic way to guarantee their completion. Then build in nice periods of downtime to enjoy holiday fare like cooking, shopping, parties and of course relaxation. Once things are scheduled, they become real and that’s exactly the point.

2. Don’t overbook. You’re likely already exhausted by all things you’ve “gotta do.” So, don’t lard your plate with unreasonable and unending work-related projects. Think “light fare.” The incessant deadlines resulting from a plate that’s far too full will only stress you out. Again, only pick a few key items that make sense. Focus on them entirely.

By the same token, don’t say “yes” to every single invitation to celebrate. You’re going to need time to yourself with everything else going on, so only pick 1-2 events per week (perhaps a week or two absent of outside activity would be nice, too!) and space them put 2-3 days apart. It’s absolutely ok to say no when you need to. Plus, you’ll enjoy celebrations far more when you’re well-rested and both physically and emotionally vested in having fun.

3. Work hard, play harder. Work and play are two completely discrete activities. Treat them as such. Don’t attempt to draft your cocktail party play list while compiling your expense report. Mistakes are likely to occur and moreover, you’re defeating the purpose of completely immersing yourself in the featured activity. Don’t attempt to run errands during your lunch hour that only frustrate progress. If you truly need a half day to complete your holiday errands—take it—outside of work. You get the point.

When you fully embrace the task before you and avoid attractive nuisances (like opposing priorities), you get a better result. Remember the goal is to accomplish your work-related projects and enjoy holiday festivities at the highest level.

Commit to this result and jettison the humbug!

Want a few more key tips on how to add productivity to your holiday routine? Life Hack offers 11 additional complementary tips!

To your success this holiday season!

Photo Credit: Serge Bertasius Photography, via


Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq.Karima Mariama-Arthur is a corporate attorney and the Founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. For helpful tips on increasing confidence and solving performance challenges, connect with her on Facebook, and for a quick dose of #Leadership inspiration, follow her on Twitter, @wsrapport.

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