Shop Talk

Ask the Experts: Stay productive, on task this holiday season

Emily Parks
Emily Parks

The holiday season is stressful for most everyone – especially business owners, who often have their busiest days at work at the same time their personal to-do list is a mile long. Since many small businesses depend on the revenue during these weeks, it is essential for owners to stay organized so they can reduce stress and be as productive as possible.

Emily Parks, productivity consultant, office organizer and owner of Raleigh-based Organize For Success, says the keys to effective teamwork in a professional setting is collaboration, cooperation and scheduling, but the holidays make it challenging to put these core values at the forefront.

“By being proactive and getting organized before the holiday rush, you are able to keep the focus for yourself and your team on these tasks, even with the additional distractions,” Parks said.

Many owners overcommit personally and professionally during the holiday season. With so much going on, Parks finds that many owners allow themselves to be distracted and aren’t able to stay on task.

Parks offers the following advice for being organized during the holidays:

Take time off to handle holiday obligations: While you can’t add hours to the day, you can manage your actions by taking some time off to finish shopping, cooking or decorating so that you are fully focused when at work.

Set up strategy sessions: Have a weekly strategy session with your work team to plan upcoming tasks. Since priorities can change quickly and new issues arise during the busy season, have a team meeting at the end of each day.

Plan and schedule vacations: Since many people want to be off during the holidays, it is essential to balance employee vacation requests with business needs. Consider having a policy for no vacations on especially busy days or limiting the number of days off during the holidays.

Know when to ask for help: Ask your employees and team members to take tasks off your plate. Also, consider hiring a freelance or outsource help through Elance, Thumbtack or Task Rabbit. These services allow you to find help without the obligation of a full-time or seasonal employee.

Avoid multitasking: When you work on one project at a time, you can do it faster and more accurately than when dividing your attention.