For many businesses, holiday season is busy season, whether you’ve been rigorously preparing a holiday gift guide or product model, or arranging holiday events. During this time, it can be difficult to stay motivated despite, or because of, the heavy workload. Though the pressure of work is evident, musings about holiday parties and vacation mode may try to override professional thought processes.
Young professionals from the New North offer their insight on what keeps them motivated while their minds may admittedly wander from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. It may be time to practice the art of working hard to play hard this winter. Beat the mold and kick butt at work with this simple guide:
1. Embody the motto, “work before play”
Grace Ebert, Producer at USA Today Network-Wisconsin, says staying motivated before the holidays is mostly about your mindset as a young professional.
“Work before play, basically, while still trying to balance both your personal and professional life,” Ebert says. “I know that I won’t be able to enjoy myself nearly as much if I have unfinished work or haven’t put in the effort that I usually do, so that always is motivation.”
Laura Kaster, a remote digital media specialist for Skyward Inc. in Stevens Point, concurs.
“It’s all about self-motivation,” Kaster says. “Same as always, you just need to realize that even though it’s the holiday season, the work still needs to get done, and that everyone is in the same boat.”
2. Be mindful of the season’s timing
It’s important for young professionals to remember that holiday get-togethers are something to work toward, not against.
“I think a good mindset to have is that once the work is done, the parties and festivities are still going to be there,” Kaster says.
Ebert agrees that it’s important to get the work done before the festivities begin. Work comes first.
“No one wants to come back to a full inbox or a seemingly endless to-do list, so paring those down as much as possible beforehand is key,” Ebert says. “The other part to realize about being in ‘vacation mode’ is that you’re there for a reason. You take a vacation to have a break from your everyday, right?”
3. Focus on what you need to
Work-to-life balance is key for maintaining focus during the busy holiday season for young professionals.
“The most important part of work-to-life balance, I think, is knowing which areas of your life need more attention at the moment,” Ebert says. “If you have a lot going on personally, then that needs to be your focus. If you’ve got a work deadline approaching, then obviously that’s where most of your attention lies.”
Similarly, Kaster encourages young professionals to keep work at work and not feel pressured to keep up with it over the holidays. They are a break for a reason.
“Your work environment can have a direct effect on your personal life, but when you get to work, you need to realize that while you may love your job, it needs to stay at work,” Kaster says. “It’s good to not check work emails and messages while you’re at home.”
“I’ve learned that if I focus on one thing at a time, I’m more productive and gain more from the experience than if I’m constantly trying to juggle,” Ebert says.
4. Stick to a schedule
Though not all young professionals may call themselves organized, most would agree to being digital-savvy. As a millennial, using appropriate scheduling tools like Google Calendar, Evernote, Flow or Asana may prove helpful.
“I’m naturally a very organized person, but sticking to a schedule and making to-do lists is even more important when I’m busy,” Ebert says. “I also think that as a young person around the holidays, it’s easy to think others have a more consistent schedule or more time with their families than you and to be jealous about that. When this happens to me, I tell myself that they’ve probably paid their dues already and been in the same spot I’m in.”
Mindfulness matters when it comes to keeping on task as a young professional — you will get through and develop better ways to flow with your own tasks in time. Be patient with the process.
5. Be kind to yourself
Perhaps one of the most important things young professionals can remember is that work will still be there after the holidays. While meeting deadlines is important, it’s also important not to overload yourself or rush.
“Even though it’s the holiday season, businesses and companies still operate the same, and so should young professionals that work there,” Kaster says.
The same can be said about returning to work after the holidays.
“It’s only natural to have an adjustment period when you come back, and you don’t want to lessen the value of your time off by being too hard on yourself for not being 100 percent focused the second you return,” Ebert says. “Just be kind to yourself.”
Enjoy the season, New North young professionals. You will make it through and back again with shining new confidence and perspective in the New Year.