December Office Survival Guide: Secret Santa shopping, office party politics and the frantic rush to meet early deadlines can make December feel like an endurance test. Perpetual darkness, hangovers from hell and energy-sapping festive lattes all take their toll as we crawl towards the holidays. If you’re struggling to get your mojo back in December, read our top tips to keep you fizzing long after the Christmas Party Prosecco bottles have popped.
Banish winter tiredness: feeling tired in the winter months is a direct result of short days disrupting our sleep and waking cycles. The lack of light causes an increase in melatonin which makes us feel more tired. Sunlight is essential and in the winter months, it’s important to take a walk outdoors every lunch break. If you’re also suffering from stress, try a mindfulness walk to return you to your desk in a more grounded state. Exercising after work is also a great deterrent to tiredness – if the gym doesn’t appeal why not shake things up with a yoga rave or a night time hike.
Prepare for a short month: with a short month in store, many of us get caught short with early deadlines and essential contacts disappearing like snow off a dyke by the 20th December. With two week holidays becoming the norm, we need to prepare for Christmas as we would our summer holidays. Focus on the most wildly important tasks that must be done before the holidays and check on annual leave commitments from clients and partners in advance. You can then prioritise what could be delegated elsewhere and what can wait until you get back – leaving you precious time to savour more Quality Street.
Survive the office Christmas Party: Love it or loathe it, the office Christmas party is one of the non-negotiable dates in the working calendar. Treat it as a “party” at your peril – your behaviour will be under strict surveillance at all times. Preparation is key. To avoid embarrassment in January, drink milk to line your stomach beforehand and alternate glasses of water with alcohol. Swap wine for beer and you’ll have a milder hangover and save more of your hard-earned cash for Christmas frolics with friends. If you’re involved in present buying for colleagues – check out our Secret Santa ultimate gift guide for ideas and inspiration.
Clear the decks: If you’re organised, December can be an excellent time to clear the decks. If you’ve opted to work between Christmas and New Year, this is a prime time to clear your physical clutter and empty the over-flowing inbox. Free from the tyranny of non-stop phone calls and e-mails, it’s also a great time to finally tackle all those niggling non-essential tasks that you never quite got round to. Starting the New Year with a clean state will enhance your motivation levels and leave you energised when January swings round.
Prepare for the year ahead: With a brand new working year nearly upon us, December is an excellent time to take stock of the things that have gone well and not so well. While things are winding down, now is the time to plan what you want to do differently in 2016. It’s also a great opportunity to think about how to change your daily routine and plan your annual leave – ensuring that you set personal as well as work goals for the year ahead.
Have a fantastic Christmas and a happy and productive new year.