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Holiday Productivity Guide: 7 Things to do in December

This holiday productivity guide tells the 7 most important things to do this December to stay productive (with a special focus on emails).

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5 minutes

    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    The new year is approaching soon: chances are you’re either dragging on tasks you need to complete before going on vacation — or you’re already thinking of the amount of work after your break.

    Worst of all, imagine how many emails you’ll have to deal with once you’re back from holiday!

    To put your mind at rest — you can actually maintain your productivity throughout the holiday season — all you need is a bit of planning ahead.

    Here are 7 things to do this December that will get you right back on track after the holiday season — they’ll even help you get some work done without sacrificing the holiday spirit!

    Build your own pregaming ritual

    Just like a pre-workout routine, a productivity ritual helps you get into ‘the zone’ for work.

    Did you know that working repeatedly in the same physical environment helps you increase memory recall? In psychology, this is known as context-dependent memory. The same also goes for mood: if you start a project in a cheerful mood, you’ll recall it better next time you work happy. This is especially important for creative work and long-term projects.

    Have a list of things ready to be done before you start your work — this might be a Spotify playlist, your favorite snack, a certain desk arrangement, or a list of productivity apps ready on your screen.

    Set your pregaming ritual now so you can hop back onto the productivity train immediately after your holiday.

    Write your emails before the holidays and send them afterward

    Write emails before the holidays and send them later

    Do you have leads or contacts that you want to follow up on immediately when you’re back? To avoid having your email buried in their post-holiday inbox, schedule them after the ‘rush hours’ when everyone is also sending in their messages.

    Mailbutler’s Send Later tool can take care of this — even if you’re somewhere enjoying your holidays with absolutely no internet connection. Make sure to also check out our blog post on how to stay on top of your workflow with email scheduling.

    Forget about new year’s resolutions — ALWAYS have a to-do list ready

    Maintain a to-do list for handling your inbox

    It’s that time of the year again when everyone shares their new year’s resolutions on social media.

    You’re probably not surprised to know that less than 10% of people actually feel like they follow through with their goals.

    New year’s resolutions can be tricky not because they’re unattainable, but because people don’t realize they need gradual, lifestyle changes. If you found it difficult to stick to them, try breaking down your goals into daily or monthly tasks.

    Get on an email diet

    Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters

    Now is the last chance to save your inbox before you drown in holiday marketing emails.

    Dig through your inbox and pick out all the newsletter subscriptions you haven’t read since months ago.

    Get on an email diet — don’t let the holidays ruin your Inbox Zero goal!

    Work in the holidays, incognito style

    Working incognito in the holidays

    Let’s be realistic — most of us probably won’t work or reply to emails in the midst of celebrations.

    However, some might actually find the festive mood to be a less stressful time to work.

    Before you try to fully immerse yourself in work and miss out on all the fun in the holiday season, here’s a quick tip: try working offline.

    This makes sure you stay focused on tasks that are set before the holiday, without distractions on social media or emails.

    Set your email follow-up tasks for after the holidays

    You might only be a few steps away from closing a deal or starting an exciting project — and you definitely don’t want the holidays to get in your way.

    Before the holiday begins, go through your emails and set a follow-up task on each conversation you’ll get back to immediately once you’re at the office again. 

    Check out our blog post on follow-up reminder tasks to learn about more ways you can use this Mailbutler core feature.

    This feature is a part of the wider Mailbutler Tasks feature.

    Still tempted to check your emails during the holiday? Try the snooze button

    Snooze your emails during non-working hours

    Snooze your emails. Seriously.

    We get it — maybe it’s fear of missing out, maybe it’s the flashing red number at your dock — you just don’t want to leave any emails unread.

    In most cases, emails sent to you when you’re on holiday are less urgent than you’d imagine.

    If you’re still tempted to work or check your emails, try the snooze button on Mailbutler.

    Mailbutler’s Snoozing feature helps you temporarily hide your unread messages and reappear at a desired date and time.

    You can finally head to bed knowing there’s no unread count judging you on your computer.

    Give yourself a well-deserved break

    That’s it — we hope this year has been rewarding and productive (perhaps with the help of Mailbutler!).

    Apart from work, don’t forget that time spent on personal goals and with friends and families is just as important.

    Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, the Mailbutler team wishes you the best and most joyful of times.

    And the best to come for the next year!

    Holiday productivity FAQs

    How can I be productive on holidays?

    To get things done during the holiday season, you should:

    • Set clear goals for the month. Be specific and realistic so you can make the most of your working hours.
    • Organize your days wisely. Reserve time for each of the targets you want to hit, but don’t be too strict. You need to be able to rest and spend quality time with your loved ones as well.
    • Declutter your inbox. Go through your newsletter subscriptions and remove the ones you’re no longer interested in before you get tons of Christmas marketing emails.
    • Make some sacrifices. Think about all the holiday traditions you usually take part in and choose only the ones you truly enjoy. You don’t have to participate in everything.
    • Take good care of yourself. Eat a nutrient-rich diet, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough shut-eye.

    What's the biggest work distraction during the holidays?

    There are many personal holiday errands that can negatively impact your work performance during the holiday season, including:

    • Christmas dinner planning
    • Gift shopping
    • Party planning
    • Guest preparations
    • Making travel arrangements

    All of these activities can increase your stress levels and, as a result, reduce your productivity.

    Does taking a day off increase productivity?

    Yes, it does. Research shows that taking short breaks from work can result in increased productivity and less exhaustion.

    Taking time off also decreases stress and boosts creativity. So, if you fear that your work performance has been poor lately or you’re feeling burned out, consider requesting a day or two off.

    How do you use holidays?

    Well, it depends on what you want to accomplish. If your goal is to use your holiday break to recharge your batteries, you can try your hand at a hobby you’ve always been interested in, reconnect with your friends and family, or simply rest.

    If, on the other hand, you want to use your holidays in a productive way, consider learning new skills, reading books relevant to your field of expertise, or exploring new software.

    Mailbutler is a powerful productivity extension for Apple Mail, Outlook and Gmail that helps professionals and teams email smarter to get more meaningful work done. Get started today for free.

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