As we approach the end of the calendar year, it can seem harder than ever to stay motivated and focused. Along with the distractions of the holiday (and party) season, colder weather and shorter days in the Northern Hemisphere, or the allure of sunshine and outdoor barbeques for those in their summer months, many people find themselves simply exhausted or unmotivated.
So how do you stay on track with your work and responsibilities? The good news is, even during the holiday onslaught of December, there are some basic, easily-implemented strategies to stay on track:
Setting achievable goals is probably the main component of creating any successful working strategy – in the face of distraction or fatigue, this becomes even more important. Whether the intention is to set team goals, individual goals, or a mixture of both, consider using digital tools to enhance the process. Ensure you check in on your progress occasionally, and truthfully assess if you’re on track (and if not, have a think about what you need to do to be on track).
Trying to stay focused by gluing yourself to your screen is the opposite of productive, according to research by Baylor University. Regular breaks are the key to staying on top of your workload, preferably engaging in enjoyable activities while you break – whether that is going for a walk, or calling a friend. Think of ways to refresh yourself and keep your brain ticking along (although not necessarily challenging yourself). Aim for a short break every 90 minutes for maximum focus.
The fact of the matter is, with distraction comes disorganisation. Ensuring you’re aware of your workload, and what needs to be prioritised, is helpful in keeping yourself on top of things. It also means that you’re not left in a difficult position if some tasks do inevitably fall to the wayside, on occasion.
There’s no point in setting goals, however realistic they may be, if you’re not going to look at rewarding yourself (or team members). From business incentives to informal rewards, such as cutting out early in honour of a Christmas party or because of a job well done. Just remember to be honest with yourself, and others, when it comes to the amount of effort inputted into a task – rewards should be earned, after all.