5 ways to… make more time during the holidays

Making the most of working during the holiday season

With festive get-togethers to organise, gifts to buy and cards to send, it’s no wonder work gets put on the backburner during holiday season. But even the biggest pile of mince pies can’t disguise those end-of-year deadlines. Wish there were more hours in the day? Here’s how to make them.

  1. Focus on energy, not time. We can’t actually create more time but we can control our energy. The trick lies in making considered, conscious choices about what we spend it on. Once you shift your thinking you’ll immediately feel more in control.
  2. Get real. Humans are notoriously bad at estimating how long things take. Regain control by listing everything you need to get done today. How long do you think you need? Add 20%, then an extra two hours for unexpected tasks and breaks. It won’t all fit into the time available, which is when you need the Five Ds…
  3. Deploy the Five Ds: Delete, Defer, Delegate, Do now or Diminish. Assign one of these actions to each item on your list. If it’ll take less than five minutes, do it now. If it’s no longer relevant, delete it. Identify which tasks can be deferred (if it’s always deferred, could it go in the delete pile?), delegated or your involvement diminished. Be strict with yourself until the list is achievable.
  4. Work with your energy cycle. Our energy naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day in line with our circadian rhythms. Some of us are most productive first thing, others get an energy boost in the afternoon. Pay attention to your own concentration curve and schedule your high-priority items for when you’re performing at your peak.
  5. Plug the time drain. From ‘yes is best’ to perfectionism, our natural attitudes towards time cause problems when taken to the extreme. Which of your automatic responses means you become over-committed? And what alternative course of action could you take next time you feel yourself heading down that energy-draining path?

 

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