November is almost over, and we’ve just about hit the Christmas festive season. Exciting for some, but terrifying for business owners and managers!
It can be surprisingly easy for staff and managers to lose focus over the Christmas period. Everyone moves into holiday mode, planning their trips away or thinking about what to make for Christmas lunch. All of a sudden, productivity starts to slow and work doesn’t get done … and then there’s a panic at the very last minute.
We’ve got some tips to help keep you and your team focused over the next few months, and although they are helpful, don’t forget to have fun either! After all, it is the party season!
Keep to a schedule
Some people can’t stand to work from a diary or calendar, but it can be a lifesaver at busy times of year. Christmas is no exception.
At the beginning of each week, plan out the items and tasks that absolutely must be completed in the week. Block out time to do them, and prioritise them – don’t move them for anything. Treat them as though they’re a meeting with the big boss – they can’t be rescheduled, they can’t be moved.
Then, when the allocated time rolls around, don’t procrastinate! More on that later …
The trend of open plan offices is great in theory, but it can make it difficult for people to focus when working on big tasks.
If you have a laptop, see if you can move to a quieter area of the office – or even the local cafe. It doesn’t really matter where, so long as the area is free of distractions – your nosy neighbour questioning you constantly, or your telephone ringing constantly.
Headphones are another great option. There’s an unspoken rule that if someone has headphones on, it means they don’t want to be disturbed. You might need to remind your colleagues of this rule! But at the very least, the headphones will help to block out the majority of noise around you.
Finally – close Facebook! Close any program or website that you know will distract you. Limit yourself to opening only the necessary programs for the task you’re working on. If the task doesn’t involve your computer, then turn it off – or at least close your email program. We’re all guilty of being distracted by emails coming through!
Make yourself and your team accountable
This one can be tricky for managers themselves, but is a good way to keep a team on track.
If you don’t already have weekly team meetings, schedule them over the Christmas break. They don’t need to take long, and they don’t need to be detailed – but it’s a great way to keep tabs on who is working on what, and how far along they are. Staff can also indicate if they’re struggling or falling behind in any way, which is an opportunity for managers to step in and help before it gets too late.