The holiday season can be a lot of fun: you catch up with your family and friends, enjoy some time off, and probably eat more than usual. If your company closes down during the holidays, you'll probably abandon all work from now until next year. But this will only make it harder to get back into the swing of things when January comes around.

Or, if you're a freelancer or entrepreneur, you might be obsessing over your work, unable to take any time off to enjoy the holidays. This other extreme will also affect you when push comes to shove next year around, because you won't have enjoyed a proper time off - which is essential to avoid burnout, fatigue and lack of creativity.

It's important to try to keep a balance so that you don't go into either extreme. If you stay productive during the holidays, you will find it easier to start your year in power mode. Here's how you can effectively divide your time between work and play this holiday season.

Make the most of your mornings

If you're off during the holidays, mornings will become your best ally. Maintaing (somewhat of) a schedule and waking up at the same time that you would during the rest of the year will allow you to focus on work for a few hours every day, then spend the rest of the day delving in holiday cheer.

Shop for presents online

There's probably no greater time saver than avoiding the crowds of shoppers swamping the stores during the holidays. If you're buying presents, then do yourself and your schedule a favour and buy them online. You'll get the same deals (if not better) than in store, and it will save you a truckload of time.

Do something you've wanted to do for a while

Whether it's reading a certain book, taking a new online course or visiting the new gallery that opened at your local art museum, use the extra time you might have on your hands to cross some of the items that have been on your personal list for a while, but haven't had the time or energy to cross them off. This will make you feel personally fulfilled and will charge you with awesome positive energy for the year ahead.

Put a cap on your email time

Here's a fact: emails will keep on coming, no matter whether you rush to respond to each of one of them or not. And we all know how much of a time devourer constantly replying to all of them is. Limit your email-checking hours to a certain window - preferably in the morning, when you'll probably be focusing on your work anyway. And make it your religion not to check email outside of those hours.

Make reservations in advance to beat the rush

Whether you want to go out for brunch with your family or take a little trip for New Year's, it's time to plan it now. Don't leave it till last minute or it either won't happen or you'll have to take the second best because what you wanted isn't available anymore.

Make time to exercise

Even if you will take complete time off from everything else, this is the one thing you should not take a vacation from. Not only will exercise keep your energy levels up, but you also won't feel bad about indulging in some extra holiday treats.

Keep up with part of your work routine

Keeping up with some of your work routine and staying on top of your industry's news will make it easier to get back into the swing of things come January. It will also help you feel like time didn't just pass you by while you were indulging in eggnog.


Whether it's your home, your office or your home office, take advantage of the slower pace of the year-end to declutter. Putting some order into your home and work life now will give you a better start next year. A clean space can bring you clarity of mind and make you more motivated to start your year in power mode.

Plan your year

It's no news that people suck at planning. But this is the perfect time to go over what you want to achieve next year and writing down actionable steps that you can take toward achieving them. This will give you some perspective into what you want to happen next year, and how you can make it happen.

Whether you're enjoying complete time off or still working this holiday season, these few tips will help you stay productive. Do you have any other holiday productivity tips? Share them with us in the comments below.