Home for the Holidays: Tips for Remote Productivity during the Holidays
Your tickets are booked, your bags are packed, and you’re ready for the holiday season. Only one obstacle stands in between you and your Thanksgiving meal: you’ve still got deadlines to meet while you’re on the road. How will you maintain your productivity during the holidays? Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to clocking out in time for Turkey Day.
1. Make a Plan
When you’re at home or in the office, it’s easy to maintain a “groove.” But when you’re on the road and dealing with unfamiliar surroundings, travel stressors, and other people’s priorities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or distracted.
Make a plan for success: Before you leave for your trip, write out a “to do” list and rank it by priority. Then break down the steps it will take to achieve each task. If you know you’ll need Wi-Fi to work on one item, then save it for a day when you know will have access. Need a long stretch of time to buckle down and concentrate? Schedule that item for when you’re on a plane. And if you need a good way to pass the time on a car trip while still being productive, you can make calls — provided that they don’t distract you from the road.
2. Eliminate Distractions
It’s not easy to shut out the world when you’re traveling – but you can try! If you are easily distracted when working from home or while in transit, there are a few different methods you can try to reign in the interruptions:
– If you like to work in silence, get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. While you may not be able to remove 100% of the noise around you, you’ll at least be able to ignore the sound of the person listening to a movie on their iPad without headphones on the plane. (There’s always someone!)
– If you prefer to work around people, and the quiet of your hotel room is deafening, then try a web app like “Coffitivity” to simulate the sound of a busy coffee shop.
– If you find yourself unable to concentrate because you’re thrown off of your usual schedule, try a Pomodoro timer to create structured work and break times.
3. Get Out of the House
Unless you’re already used to remote work, you may find that your biggest productivity obstacle is your “office.” If you’re too comfortable, it can be easy to shirk your priorities in favor of a nap or the latest show on Netflix.
Make a list of nearby coffee shops, co-working spaces, and libraries, and plan to visit one if you have a hard time working from home. Don’t open your social media or check your phone: treat your “at work” time the same way you might if you were in an office.
If you’re staying with family, make sure you check in with them beforehand to negotiate a few good times to slip away and get some work done without being rude or missing planned festivities.
4. Get Your Work Done Early
This one may seem like a difficult task…but: plan ahead! While you can’t take unpaid time off, you can at least mitigate the potential feeling of overwhelm as you compete to hit your deadlines before everyone goes offline for the holidays.
Don’t wait until the last minute to follow tip number 1 (Make a Plan) – start now. Even if you don’t have major travel planned or you intend to take a “staycation,” the further ahead you plan, the easier it will be to address any last-minute “fire drills” that occur.
Do the big and important work first. If you can get yourself ahead of deadline, you will give yourself the gift of flexibility for handling other tasks – and by Thanksgiving, you’ll be feeling the attitude of (self) gratitude.
What productivity hacks have you tried? Let us know on LinkedIn!