It’s that time of year again. It’s dark by 4:30 pm, it’s starting to snow, and every client MUST have their file completed before the holidays. Add office parties and your social life to the mix, and it’s easy to start feeling the tell-tale signs of burnout. Although this feeling is common, it’s better for your career and your mental health to ring in the New Year on a high note. Here are some tips for staying motivated this holiday season:


Buckle Down and Focus on Manageable Goals

As the holidays approach, it seems that every client suddenly has a transaction that must close, or a dispute that must be resolved, before year-end. The onslaught of rush files can quickly become overwhelming. With a huge workload and less time, it’s not surprising that many of us lose motivation at this time of year. Despite the added stress, it’s important to keep your spirits up and focus on the finish line.

To help with this, start by breaking up your projects into manageable goals. Breaking down files into components is a great idea all year, but is even more important during the holidays. Write down each step, then take them one at a time, as efficiently as possible. Most importantly, just keep going. In looking at the list of steps, ask yourself: how many can you accomplish in the time you have? What are the competing priorities? Checking each step off your “to-do” list as it’s completed allows you to see your progress. This will help maintain your motivation when the going gets tough.

The other crucial point is to buckle down and avoid distractions at the office. Of course, this is easier said than done. Try things like turning off your email alerts for thirty minutes at a time, or closing your office door. Chatting with co-workers is great, and makes for a more enjoyable work environment, but make sure you carve out blocks of time that are dedicated solely to work. If you can tackle certain tasks from beginning to end with few distractions, you’ll start seeing the “to-do” list shrink. With each “check” off the list, the motivation will increase.


Don’t Treat Holiday Parties as “Work” (Even Though They Are)

In addition to the demanding workload, there are constant invitations for various social events. Your company may strongly encourage you to attend, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to get work done. Instead of seeing these events as more work, try to see the upside and embrace the holiday spirit.

Of course, embracing the holiday spirit does not mean embracing the holiday “spirits” – keep the alcoholic drinks to a minimum at work and client events. Having said that, take the opportunity to enjoy your time away from your computer screen. These events can be a great way to expand your social network at the office by meeting people from other floors, or other departments. Embrace spending time with these co-workers you rarely see. If you’re working efficiently and consistently while you’re in the office, you can more easily enjoy the time spent away from your desk.


Find Time for Yourself

Who has time to relax at this time of year? It can seem impossible with the extra work, the parties, the shopping and the socializing. Although it’s much harder at this time of year, it’s still important to find a few quiet moments for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Take advantage of things like your morning commute, or getting ready for work, to do things just for yourself. Listen to a podcast you enjoy, meditate for ten minutes before bed, buy a fancy holiday espresso and people watch at the coffee shop. Each day, make it a priority to find time for the little things that give you moments of serenity. Doing this will help give you the energy you’ll need to stay focused and motivated this holiday season.


Reflect on Your Accomplishments

When the early sunsets and stacks of files are starting to get you down, take a few minutes to reflect on the things you’ve accomplished in the past year. Write down those that you are most proud of, be they in your work or personal life. These can include closing a large deal, being given more responsibility at work, being given new opportunities, buying your own house, etc. When you need the extra push to get your motivation back, pull out that list of accomplishments. It’s a great, tangible, representation of how far you’ve come. It can also remind you not to give up now. You still have time to add to the list, so make the most of it. In addition, looking at your accomplishments in the past year can help shape your goals and aspirations for the year to come.

You’re so close to the end of the year. Stay motivated this holiday season, work hard, add to your accomplishments and enjoy the festive spirit while it lasts!


Melanie is a Recruitment and Communications Consultant with The Heller Group. She is involved in the recruitment and placement of lawyers into law firms and corporations. Melanie is also responsible for the corporate communications related to The Heller Group.

Image via