Are there visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? Thinking about settling down for a long winter’s nap? Trying to figure out where you’re going to find seven lords a-leaping?
It’s not unusual for many of your thoughts this time of year to be about the holidays and the millions of things you have to do before Santa miraculously stuffs himself down the chimney. Holiday craziness can certainly put a crimp in your productivity around the office this time of year, but don’t start to panic that you’re not getting enough done because you’re so distracted.
In fact, let yourself be distracted.
Go to a production of “The Nutcracker” instead of sending emails one night. Download your favorite holiday music and listen to it at work. Offer to organize the office potluck and personally visit other departments to invite colleagues.
You may think all these things are time-wasters, and you’re only going to get further behind in your job. Not so. They’re really all activities that can boost your value and productivity in the long run, and make you happier and less stressed.
What could be a better holiday gift than that?
Don’t turn down the wassail
Research has shown that multi-tasking doesn’t work. But that doesn’t stop us from zipping around on Facebook while sending a text and jotting down notes for an upcoming meeting. Those activities frazzle our brains and lead to unfocused thoughts and unproductive days.
But new input, such as making a gingerbread house or attending a holiday concert, can jumpstart our brains. New activities spark more creative thoughts, and conversations with people at a neighborhood holiday get-together may trigger new ideas or solutions to existing problems.
Even enjoying some spiked eggnog can be good for your career. A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that having a blood alcohol content of about .075 can trigger sudden insights to problems and tipsy participants were found to solve problems in a shorter amount of time than sober counterparts. So while this certainly isn’t an endorsement to hit the Jack Daniels all the time, enjoying a little wassail at a holiday party might be just the thing you need to solve a workplace dilemma.
In other words, use the holidays to decrease your stress, not increase it. Here are some ways to help your career with all the holiday hubbub. Try:
Start thinking of the holidays not as a distraction to keep you from your work, but rather as a unique time a year that provides you with the kind of stimulus and goodwill that can be a gift to your career all year long.
What benefits do you believe the holidays can provide your career?