Let’s face it: The last week of the year is a liminal space.
Coming to us from Latin, the concept of liminal space refers to a threshold or transition.
Even the most productive people can fall into a funk after Christmas and before New Years: No one knows where they’re meant to be, what to do, or how to get in touch with anyone.
There’s not much you can do to change the last five days of the year. They are what they are.
What you can do is make sure you turn things around as soon as possible after holiday break.
Use these five productivity tips to get started in the right direction:
1. Leave Time for Retrospective
If you really want to create a great 2019, the first thing you should do is take stock of 2018.
Look at your successes and failures. They’ll tell you where you need to improve as well as where your opportunities lie. You’ll get a lot more done in the coming year if you shore up weak points and leverage strengths. A combination of one-on-one and team meetings can help.
Let each member of your team choose a personal accomplishment he or she is proud of. Then, you can challenge each person to build on that and do something even better in 2019.
2. Get Your Goals Clearly in Sight
If you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there. Unfortunately, the complex goals teams and entire businesses can have are often difficult to map and keep track of.
Start with the big picture: Where would you like to be at the end of the quarter?
Then break that into monthly milestones, weekly ones, and daily processes. Ideally, everyone should know just where they are and where they’re headed as soon as possible in the new year.
Things like to-do lists and other organizational tools can help, but don’t limit yourself. Visual reminders such as vision boards, shared whiteboards, and posters can be really inspiring.
3. Rebuild Your Momentum
You don’t have to start slow after a vacation. In fact, you should ramp up to your normal speed and productivity over two or three days. But there is a way to make that easier: Celebrate the small achievements that come with getting back into the swing of things.
There are two big ways you can do this:
- Reward yourself for small wins like meeting deadlines and sending important emails.
- Show appreciation for your colleagues by pointing out times when they’re “rocking it.”
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day grind that you stop feeling appreciated – and appreciating others. As productivity tips go, positive reinforcement can’t be beat. Teams that recognize and celebrate one another have higher morale and lower turnover.
4. Discourage Distraction
One of the most popular productivity tips of the last few years is to avoid multitasking.
While some distractions are inevitable – especially at large corporations – smaller teams have a lot of leeway in how they handle this. The more you can encourage clutter-free time to focus on tasks, the easier it’ll be to get things done and unlock your full potential.
Some ways to do this include:
- Send emails in batches at the start and end of a day, not throughout the whole day.
- Set up an app to prod you if you end up on Facebook or Wikipedia while working.
- Encourage full, relaxed lunches so team members energize for the rest of the day.
Obviously, each person will have to adapt to their duties and situation. For example, the social media manager usually can’t spend all day away from Facebook. The more you say an active “no” to distractions, though, the easier it is to focus on your real priorities.
5. Incentivize Success
For some teams, a little healthy competition is a good thing. Still, most enterprises following the inbound way of doing business find that getting everyone to work together is more effective.
Once you have a clear, yet challenging goal – say, 10% more organic web traffic in three months – you have the perfect way to get everyone to push a little further.
How can they get where they’re going? Will it mean posting more content? Doing more outreach? Or maybe the fundamentals, like keyword research, need a second look?
Whatever the case, give people the tools and freedom to go for it. Then, you can celebrate the attainment of your goal with gift cards, a pizza party at lunch, or something else special.
Holidays give us time to refresh. These productivity tips will help you channel your newfound energy and get started on a phenomenal new year.
Published on January 3, 2019