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How Professional Mentors Survive the Holidays, Part One

How Professional Mentors Survive the Holidays, Part One

A holiday survival guide: what professional mentors need to know to maintain productivity and morale

Hark! The herald angels sing, oh what joy the holidays bring!  Thoughts of turkey, dressing, too. There is so much for food to eat and still WORK to do.  

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year.  For 35 days (Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day), family and friends gather to enjoy fellowship, food, and fun.  Although the year is winding down, for many the stresses of work can intensify during the holidays. Sales teams are rushing to meet the end of the year goals, project managers are attempting to beat deadlines, and managers are finishing performance evaluations for their teams.  This is all occurring while departments run lean due to employee vacations and extended lunch breaks, for shopping, of course! 

In the midst of balancing holiday shopping, cooking, parties, traveling, and more can cause you to lose momentum and motivation during the holidays.  However, my five-step holiday survival guide is designed to help you maintain focus and momentum to balance both professional and personal demands. This week, I’ll be sharing the first two tips, and next week, the final three.

Step #1: Make your list and check it twice!

As your to-do list grows during the holidays and time seems to dissipate, it is imperative that you prioritize your tasks.  Write down both your professional and personal priorities (either digitally or on paper). The goal here is to create a visual guide for what needs to get accomplished.  Begin to rank this list based on due dates and impact. Visually prioritizing what needs to be done can help you identify “quick-wins” to keep you motivated during the busy season.  Prioritizing a list will also help you share with team members your focus areas and confirm availability before everyone starts taking a vacation. Leverage your mentor or coach to help you organize and evaluate how you’ve prioritized your list.  

Step #2: Remove digital distractions. 

Now that you’ve got your list of priorities, it is time to unplug.  In the age of Amazon, it is easy to access everything with the touch or swipe of a finger.  However, technology is one of the biggest distractions and productivity-killers during the holiday season at work.  A study showed that cell phones/texting and the internet were the top two productivity killers.  As the holiday greeting calls and flash sales text alerts begin to increase, it will be important to recognize these distractions and eliminate them proactively at work.  Try putting your cell phone outside of your range of vision during work hours. You may even want to limit your IM/Skype use at the office. Removing these digital distractions may be tough at first, but the reward will be exponential.  Less digital distractions + increased productivity = more time with family and friends uninterrupted. 

How have you survived the demands of work and the holiday season?  We’d love to hear your tips below. Be sure to use the first two tips in our survival guide and let us know your outcome.  Comment and subscribe.  

To learn more about great resources for employee engagement and leadership development, visit ementorconnect.com. 

Yolanda Johnson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Highly energetic and enthusiastic HR professional. Skilled in aligning business strategy with talent management programs that initiate and sustain corporate culture change. Demonstrated ability to apply a systematic process for analyzing human performance gaps and closing them