Is the intern in the cubicle to your right blasting "Jingle Bell Rock" through their headphones a little too loudly? Perhaps a third coworker has interrupted your meeting to ask you to order some holiday wrapping paper for their child's school fundraiser. Are you stressing out because you just remembered you promised to bring the turkey to tomorrow's office holiday potluck?
There are countless workplace distractions this time of year, which can be fun, but what do you do when you're on a time crunch and you really need to get some work done?
Sometimes the best way to hunker down and finish that project is to try a change of scenery. Is there an empty conference room you can take over for the day or a local coffee shop you could visit? You could even check with your supervisor about working from home a couple days out of the week. A study from researchers at Stanford University found a productivity boost from employees who chose to work from home. Bonus! You can sneak in a viewing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on your lunch break.
Often, we use our work calendars exclusively for scheduling meetings when we should also be blocking off time for working on long-term projects or even day-to-day tasks. If you see a deadline approaching and aren't sure when you're going to work on your deliverables, try scheduling a meeting with yourself to make the time. Jeff from HR can't rope you into helping him decorate the lobby if you've got your morning blocked off for doing your actual job.
End-of-year deadlines, budget planning meetings and time off can lead to the perfect storm of confusion during the holiday season. To keep from getting sucked into the Christmastime chaos, keep your comprehensive to-do list and prioritize what's important. Make sure you're communicating with your team and that everyone is aware of expectations. At the end of the week no one wants to be stuck alone at the office instead of sipping eggnog at the office holiday party.
While the holidays can certainly be a stressful time, remember to take a breath and enjoy the season. Getting your work done is important, but so is spending quality time with friends and family.