It’s the holiday season! And along with all the holiday cheer comes the stress of trying to get so much done in such little time, especially when it comes to work. At some point, everyone has felt that end of year, holiday crunch to get one more campaign out or to complete that one last big presentation. If only we were all Santa and could do it all in one night!
It can be a chaotic time if you don’t plan accordingly. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to lighten the load in your sleigh. Here are our tips for managing you and your team’s workload during the holiday season so you can ring in the new year (a little more) stress-free.
Communicate Team Availability
Communicate work schedules clearly with your team and all project stakeholders. Making sure everyone knows when your team is available and when you’ll be on holiday can save a lot of confusion down the road. Identify dates that will be completely blacked out with no work progressing. Document these and circulate it so that everyone is in the know. There is nothing scarier than being in the office alone when you need help the most.
At DemandLab, we do this by creating a shared team calendar for everyone to post their personal time off (PTO) and company holiday dates for added visibility. In addition to knowing your direct team’s availability, ask stakeholders or clients for theirs as well so you can anticipate a delay in response or better yet, get something to them before they go on holiday.
Coordinate Task Coverage Early and Strategically
Project coverage should be coordinated as early as possible and strategically so that the right people are working on the right things and you minimize stall points along the way. Find out who the back-up point person is if your decision-maker is going to be away. Don’t wait until the week before the holiday to start this discussion.
When coordinating coverage, prioritize the most important things first. You won’t be able to do it all. So what can wait until next year? This is the equivalent of putting the biggest packages in your sleigh first, and the stocking stuffers (or nice-to-haves) in last. Document your game plan and make sure all team members are on the same page so that when schedules get crazy, you have a clear direction of who is doing what and when and what has been agreed to in advance before everyone flies off.
Automate where possible to cut down on things you do frequently. Eliminating the manual efforts of running and distributing the same report weekly, for example, can save you valuable time. You’ll be plenty busy and, really, this should be a year-round thing. Use December as a trial month to automate processes you’ve been wanting to automate all year.
Keep an Eye on The Big-Picture Goals
The tendency we all have in December is to get as many things done as possible. Sometimes this means crossing smaller things off our list at the expense of the big picture goals. This is the equivalent of making a beautiful holiday meal and forgetting to invite your family and friends over. Fight the urge to cross more things off your list and make sure the things you are focusing on are supporting the larger, strategic project goals.
Look into Outside Resources to Support Your Team
Even if you follow tips 1-4, you might still find yourself a bit overwhelmed with tasks because some things just can’t be pushed to the new year. Get yourself some Santa’s helpers! No one says you have to do it all alone. Finding outside resources or specialists can help keep things moving and light the way to improve efficiencies. Bringing on outside resources also allows you more time to enjoy the holiday sleigh ride while making sure the work is getting done by specialists.
Take Advantage of Others Being OOO
You may have a few days where there is a slower work pace. Make those days the most productive by packing them with work that requires heads down time or no interruptions. This simple step alone can help you maximize your output on these days. Instead of spending the time running in circles waiting for the 25th to arrive, tackle something you’ve been putting off like updating your folder structure or confirming you have attribution programs set up.
Spread Holiday Cheer!
Be sure to reserve time on your team’s calendars for team bonding or holiday fun. Whether its a team lunch or a remote team video happy hour, plan for it in your team’s availability so you don’t feel guilty squeezing it in at the last minute or people decline in lieu of getting more work done. Don’t forget to look up from your monitor every once and a while this month to remember the reason for the season!
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