The month of December is a notoriously unproductive time of the work year. Clients, vendors, and co-workers are off on vacations, attending holiday parties, or perpetually snacking on cookies and flavored popcorn in the office kitchen. Getting someone to weigh in on a decision or to complete his portion of a project can be — or at least seem like — an impossible task.
To reduce your frustrations and keep the proverbial ball rolling, try these techniques for managing your workflow during this hectic month:
- Communicate. Find out exactly when your clients, vendors, bosses, and co-workers will be available and in their respective offices. Mark this information on your calendar, and remember that many people mentally check out the day before they leave on vacation.
- Manage expectations. Let everyone you’re responsible to know when you will be in the office. Additionally, regularly update people of your work progress so they can better manage their time. If you fall behind on a project, let people expecting work from you know as quickly as possible.
- Set small deadlines. Now is not the time of year to take on the Next Big Thing. As much as you can manage, set small, achievable deadlines and save the larger projects for the spring.
- Set realistic deadlines. Double or triple your expected work times. If it usually takes you three hours to write a weekly report, give yourself six hours — especially if other people are involved in reviewing your work.
- Tackle your mindless work. Let’s be honest, your motivation tanks in December, too. Instead of goofing off and getting nothing done, actually finish the mindless responsibilities on your to-do list (filing, returning phone calls, filing out forms).
What tips and tricks do you employ in December to stay productive? Share your advice in the comments.