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How to juggle workload with the festive period

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Tis the season to be jolly, but when festivities fill up your calendar and professional commitments pile up, it can be hard to keep on top of your responsibilities and maintain focus. Between Christmas shopping and family gatherings, you’re tackling a To Do list and working towards end-of-year targets. With the added financial stress from holidays or gift-budgets, keeping your head can prove increasingly challenging. Soon, stress from work seeps into your social life and panic about your holiday plans impacts your performance. So how can you win?

Christmas will always feel like a rush to finish work and kickstart festivities, but if you feel you’re juggling commitments and dropping the ball, poor time management could be to blame. Fortunately, there are a few tips you can follow to ensure the festive season doesn’t fast become the most stressful time of the year:

Make a list (and check it twice)

Keeping track of commitments within your personal and professional life is near-impossible at this time of the year without a bit of life admin. You might find yourself succeeding at work during the festive season only to realise on the 24th that’ve forgotten to buy gifts, or maybe you’ll have the best Christmas lights on the street but deadlines for projects you’ve barely started.

Fortunately, your life is made less chaotic by a simple commitment to a daily list. Every day, jot down three tasks you want to tick off. Should you get requests throughout the day, always refer back to the list: does this new task take priority over the others? Will you be able to fit it in without your current commitments suffering? If not, don’t “just quickly do it”. It might further help to break down big projects into more digestible tasks in order to add them to your clearly defined daily lists.

Stick to a strong workflow

Anyone who has cooked Christmas dinner singlehandedly for the entire family will understand the need for strong time management: with so many elements happening all at once, you must be able to establish a system that makes sense for your particular responsibilities and your productivity cycle.

If you know Monday’s are manic and the mornings are usually lost to communication, don’t set yourself up to fail by putting big projects on your list for the day. During this time, a project management tool will be your best friend, allowing you to track your time and gain a clear understanding of how your efforts are contributing to wider business goals.

Be realistic in your commitments

As much as we would all like to possess Superhuman capabilities, there comes a point where you have to admit there are only so many hours in the day. Learning to say no – whether it’s to a colleague or friend – is critical in keeping a schedule that gives you room to breathe. After all, the last thing you want at this time of year is to be overwhelmed: the ability to prioritise according to urgency and importance is essential in keeping atop your responsibilities.

Remember, you don’t have to put festivities on hold to achieve professional goals: it simply takes good organisation skills and time-management to strike a balance. As the clock counts down to the Christmas holidays and the calendar grows ever more chaotic, these tips should see you end the year on a high.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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