Holiday Hectic? Time Block It.

Dec 6, 2013 | The ONE Thing | 0 comments

While the holidays are filled with magical moments surrounded by family and friends, they’re also filled with a little extra on that “to do” list. Between the parties, shopping, traveling, cooking, and general chaos, a schedule can get pretty tight. Meanwhile, things at work aren’t exactly slowing down either. A typical office holiday tradition often involves everyone working themselves into a frenzy to wrap things up before year-end rolls around.


While you can’t make a 25th hour magically appear in your day, you can take steps to increase the productivity potential of each waking hour. It all depends on your ability to time block and the holidays are a great excuse to give yourself the gift of time! Please accept the list of time blocking tips below as our little gift to you this holiday season.

Time Blocking Tips for the Holiday Season

  • Don’t Short Yourself on Off Time– The Labor Department has noted that 64% of U.S. workers don’t take the full vacation time allotted. It’s almost as if we feel guilty for enjoying perk that we’ve earned, and often, negotiated for when accepting the job. More likely, it’s because we simply let work deadlines determine our schedule, while personal time gets pushed back for another day.Rather than waiting until the end of the year to discover another year of lost time, get a head start on next year NOW! Sit down over the holidays and block off all of your vacation time for next year. Then, plan your work around it.Already starting to feel guilty? Don’t! After surveying 481 HR professionals about the taking time off from work, The Society for Human Resource Management found that more than 70% said that taking time off increased worker productivity and 69% agreed that workers who took more time off performed better.
  • Get Comfortable with Saying No– As everyone’s schedules get more hectic during the holiday season, there’s a good chance that others may try to slide extra work your way. If you have time to block it in,and it directly lines up with your big goals,consider it. If not, let your co-workers know that it’s not going to be doable with your current schedule. Remind yourself, “When I say yes to something, I’m saying no to something else…” Also, do those around you a favor by letting them know well in advance when you’ll be taking off during the holidays.
  • Prioritize the Work Load – There’s a mad rush to get everything done by the end of the year, when oftentimes December 31st isn’t a hard deadline. More importantly, the most pressing deadline isn’t necessarily driving the most important work. Prioritize your current workload and focus on what actually needs to get done instead of trying to get everything done. Ask yourself, “What’s the ONE thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
  • Do Detailed Time Blocking for Each Day –The concept is pretty simple, it’s sticking to it that can be difficult for some people. Establish blocks of time throughout the day and focus only on the priority at hand. Instead of switching from once thing to the next, which costs you time, you’ll be knocking your most important work out,rather than dragging it into the next day.
  • Time Block for Emails – Emails are a hidden productivity killer. A recent study from the University of California at Irvine found that participants that had access to check their email were more stressed and less productive than those who stopped checking their email for five days. While going five days without looking at your email probably isn’t feasible, it is possible to set aside time for checking it only once or twice a day. It will allow you to truly focus on the work that needs to get done, rather than the list of potential distractions awaiting you in your inbox.
  • Do a Daily De-stress – Time block short breaks each day to recharge. Don’t spend your down time thinking about all the work that needs to be done, or how many gifts are left to buy. This is your mental “me time”. It’s not just a luxury, it’s critical. Just like your cell phone needs to be charged after a few hours of use, so do we or we too lose power.

Go ahead break out your calendar and start scheduling. If you haven’t already requested for time off make that the first time block.

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