Using the Holidays to Recharge and Get Ahead

We are now in the midst of the 2014 Holiday season and 2015 is only a month away, which means that many of us are busy with holiday errands, travel, and family events. While this is considered a hectic time of year for obvious reasons, December is a great time to find moments to both recharge and take action to put yourself ahead for 2015. These don’t have to be giant tasks that take up a ton of your time (there are holiday parties to attend, after all) but a few strategic actions right now can go a long way in setting up your future self to make some serious progress next year.


My three Bullish tips for recharging and getting ahead during the holidays (all of which can be done in pajamas if necessary):

Embrace hibernation: Sometimes all you want to do is curl up with a good book and hide out with a big glass of cocoa. Embrace it! Right now is the perfect time of year to get ahead on reading; especially if you live in one of those areas that suddenly gets 6 feet of snow, leaving you trapped in your own house. Find something fun that you’ve wanted to read for personal reasons to recharge, or one of the many books about purposefully designing your life to get ahead on 2015. Good titles for this include Gretchen Ruben’s The Happiness Project and Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think. Bonus points for doing the Design your 2015 project while in hibernation so that you will emerge from hibernation ready to take on the new year.

Use cabin fever as motivation to better your situation: Stuck inside with all of your stuff and now you’re going a little nuts? This is the perfect time to toss items to make some space in your home and life for 2015 (not to mention make room for all of the holiday-related items that seem to appear this time of year). Do you still need the shabbier articles in your wardrobe? Donate them and enjoy the extra space for the items that you do love. Is there a general clutter of items that are not making you happy or helping your reach your goals? Toss them! Having extra things that you either don’t love or are not using only takes up your space, both mentally and physically. Your space is more valuable than that.

Once you’ve cleared out the assorted items that bother you take a look around and try to determine if there is anything small that you can buy to make your life or work more simple and elegant. This should be quick, under $20, and something that won’t take up too much valuable time to acquire. It could be as basic as a scented candle that you love that makes your office a happy place to work; in my case it was a $12 knife sharpener from Amazon which changed food prep from a frustrating, potentially dangerous task to a fun activity where I can pretend to be a ninja. Whatever it is, a minor treat for your space can make the holidays more comfortable and have a positive effect on your 2015 as well.

Use quiet moments to plot world domination:  The end of year holidays are a great time to wrap up projects and cast an eye toward 2015, the trick is finding those quite moments where you have enough time to yourself and then utilizing them effectively for small, high impact projects.

The first step is identifying those tasks that you want to work on, whether it’s launching a blog, updating your resume, or taking the time to send holiday greetings to your professional network to keep contacts fresh. The second part is seizing the rare quiet moments during the holidays to implement these plans. Basic, easy ways to fit these tasks in would include waking up earlier in the morning to spend an hour updating your resume for that new job you want in 2015 and using those odd windows in time when nothing seems to be happening, like about 3-6 pm on a Saturday. Even better are the extra vacation days that come with the holiday season since you can construct your day however you see fit; just be sure to head into these blocks of time with a plan or you risk losing potentially productive time to puttering on low-priority tasks. Seize these blocks of time effectively and you can enjoy the holiday season while getting ahead for 2015.

Unofficial 4th Tip: Add Eggnog! Oh yes, it is that time of year again, when eggnog is easily found and consumed during various tasks. I use it as coffee creamer from mid-November to January during all my weekend writing as a personal treat (and bribe).  For some reason, being able to update my resume with caffeinated eggnog in hand makes the task less onerous and more festive. It’s up to you if you want to add something stronger (and Jen’s got tips for staying productive if you do!)

How do you stay productive during the holiday season? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Featured image from Flickr user Cliff, used under creative commons license.



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