Stay Motivated During the Holidays

With the holidays already upon us, it can be a real challenge to stay motivated and keep the people on your team from falling into an unproductive lull.  Some organizations simply concede defeat during the holidays.  While it may not be realistic to expect the same level of productivity your team normally cranks out, there are some things you can do to keep people motivated without being a complete spoilsport.

Keep Your Team Motivated

As a leader, it’s incumbent upon you to keep your team focused and productive.  The following suggestions are pretty easy to implement.

1. Lead by Example

Nothing establishes expectations as subtly as modeling the behavior you want from your team.  As soon as people see you taking two hour lunches and shopping online throughout the day they will feel empowered to do the same.  On the other hand, if you’re keeping your regular hours and staying on task people will think twice before spending their days making holiday plans.

2. Publish Time Off

Make a public calendar where all approved time off is displayed.  This will help avoid significant or surprise gaps in holiday coverage.  Even better your team members will understand when they do and do not have access to coworkers.  It can be pretty uninspiring to show up at work and realize there’s nobody else there.  If people know who’s taking off and when they can coordinate with each other to make sure everything is covered.

3. Assign Important But Not Urgent Activities

Use the end of year slow down to get people working on important activities that aren’t particularly urgent.  This will take some of the pressure off them but still keep them focused on something worthwhile.

4. Let People Know How Much You Appreciate Them

Sometimes nothing is as motivating as hearing what a great job you’re doing or how important your contributions are.  I’ve never heard anybody complain they receive too much praise at work.  While it’s important to be sincere, use the holiday cheer to remind people how much they mean to you and your organization.

Keep Yourself Motivated

Unfortunately it’s not just your team who may need motivating during the holidays.  You might find you need to make a little extra effort just to keep yourself on track.  Here are a few thoughts on keeping yourself more productive.

1. Plan Tomorrow Before You Leave Today

Before you leave work for the evening, take a good look at your calendar and to-do lists for tomorrow.  If you already have your day’s goals set before you arrive in the morning, you can jump right in and start your day off right.

2. Give Yourself a Few Must-Do Items Each Day

Even if you’ve resigned yourself to a less productive schedule during the holidays, pick at least a few items off your to-do list and commit to completing them before you leave.  This will keep you focused and help you methodically keep on track.

3. Find Fun Work You May Have Been Putting Off

The holidays can be a great time to take on something fun you might not normally fit into your schedule.  Maybe it’s learning something new about your industry, catching up with professional contacts, or experimenting with a new technology.  These types of activities are invaluable in the long run but we don’t always make time for them.