It’s three weeks until Christmas and you’ve got nothing done. Don’t worry, there’s still time to get organised, but you’d better start now.
We’ve talked before about getting ready to go on annual leave. Depending on how many loose ends you need to tie up, you may feel like you’re working twice as hard in the weeks leading up to your holidays just to ‘earn’ that time off.
However, when it comes to the festive season, things are a little different, because you’re not the only one going on holidays.
While not every industry has the luxury of taking off full Christmas holidays, there’s still a lot of winding down to do for the end of the year.
With only three weeks to Christmas, you might start to feel like you’ve nothing done for the festive season. While I can’t help you get your shopping organised, I can help you get your work in order.
Make a list, check it twice
You might not be Santa Claus, but making a list is going to be one of the best ways to get you through the last of this year’s workload.
Write down everything you need to get done before you break for the holidays. Add on any extras you’d ideally like to get done, including extra planning, organising and tidying. Knowing what you actually need to get done is the best way to start figuring out how much you’ll be able to do.
Map out your time
As of today, I have three weeks left to get my work organised before the holidays. How much time do you have? And how long until you come back?
Armed with your to-do list and your calendar, you should be able to figure out how many of those tasks you can realistically get done. Now it’s time to start figuring out what needs to take priority. Before you immediately start crossing off the tidying and the planning for next year, take note of my next piece of advice.
Don’t overload yourself
Have you packed everything you possibly can into your final days of work? OK, let’s re-evaluate that. A common pitfall for those who have a heavy workload just before the festive season is to work so hard that they run themselves down and get sick for the holidays.
You have to be realistic about how much work you can get done in the time you have left to do it. This does not mean work yourself to the point of burnout right until the holidays, because that won’t help anyone.
When you write your to-do list and map out the time you have left, make sure you start winding down your workload as best you can in those final few days.
Allow time to wind down
Winding down slowly from work is important to ensure your immune system doesn’t go into meltdown as soon as you slow down.
A certain amount of tidying, clearing out and wrapping up should be considered a priority because the end of the year is often one of the best opportunities to do things like that. Additionally, offsetting the hard end-of-year work with some easier ‘housekeeping’ tasks will keep you from burning out.
Give next year a head start
As part of the act of balancing finishing all of your work with doing nice ‘tidy up’ tasks, you should take the opportunity to set aside a little time before the holidays to get a head start on next year.
Give future you an easy transition back to work mode in January. Depending on your job, this could be anything from setting up next year’s folders and putting in place systems to improve on how last year went, to planning out the first week of work.
Whatever work you have to get finished for this year, give yourself some time to think about what you’ll have to do when you come back. Future you will be grateful.