Juggling Remote Work and the Holidays: 5 Tips on Staying Focused
While remote pros don’t have the usual water cooler chatter happening or traditional office parties to attend, the holidays can still present plenty of logistical challenges, like staying focused, for those working from home.
There are likely more events on the social calendar this month and many additional tasks on the mind—including, but not limited to, gathering supplies, decorating the house, entertaining guests, preparing special meals and treats, shopping for presents, etc. To think that work needs to get accomplished within the same span of time can be a bit dizzying! (It’d also be really helpful to have an elf or two to assist!)
Here are a few tips for remote workers of all kinds to enjoy the delights of the season while still hitting important deadlines—without feeling as if there’s any compromise on festivities or professional obligations.
5 Tips for Staying Focused During a Festive Season:
1. Set clear expectations for the month ahead.
Some sectors practically shut down during this season, while others continue to ship products and launch initiatives up until the very last minute. Recognizing the norms within your industry (or that of your clients) is crucial; if there are any areas of uncertainty, now’s the time for transparency in your work, communicating what you plan to do and to ask others what they’re expecting to be accomplished. Keep key people informed of your plans, including any anticipated time off outside of the observed holidays.
2. Work backwards when planning.
You likely have fewer business days in which you can make progress in your work this month, so it’s key for you to ensure that you’ll meet all the necessary milestones despite the shortage. Take a look at your calendar and work backwards from the due dates. Add in tasks that must be completed in order to meet them within the condensed timeframe, and adhere to those as strictly as you can. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have your roadmap for the month! Avoid scheduling additional meetings unless they’re absolutely necessary or urgent, and don’t fool yourself into multitasking as a means toward greater productivity.
3. Be proactive in your work.
With all of the frenetic activity, there’s an added advantage to this time of year: a quieter work environment. “Wait,” you might be thinking. “It’s already pretty peaceful around here!” However, while your teammates or customers are on vacation, you can invest that time wisely making headway on key projects. If you’re a company leader, the actions you take now can really help drive employee motivation. All those difficult tasks of yours that require head-down concentration are ripe for times like these—and adding that long-awaited check mark to your to-do list will feel very satisfying.
4. Draw a line between “on” and “off.”
The eternal challenge for those who work from home, or anywhere: how do you enjoy life and attend to personal matters once the workday ends? For starters, set up a calendar notification that signifies when it’s time to close up shop and get up from your desk or sofa, fold up your laptop, and embrace the world around you. This might mean you help your kids with homework, run errands solo or with your spouse, lie down for some much-needed rest, or play festive music while decorating. Since you’ve already shared expectations with others, it’s unlikely you’ll get a Slack message or email that must be addressed right this moment.
5. Deadlines met? Celebrate!
This isn’t the season to be a Scrooge. If you’ve gotten your work done, it’s time to let yourself get into the spirit of the holidays and have some fun. Some fully remote teams have come up with creative ways to celebrate, while others incorporate distributed colleagues into their on-site gatherings with virtual activities. While sometimes silly and often heartwarming, these events can go a long way toward building a healthy company culture. Whether you’re looking forward to Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, or the new year, you’ve got plenty of reasons to enjoy this joyful season.
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
By Kristi DePaul | Categories: Work Remotely