You Can Still Tackle Your To-Do List with These 11 Ways

Nancy Anderson
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While you wish you could spend the holiday season sipping eggnog by the fireplace, the winter months are often filled with more stress than you care to face. As year-end deadlines loom, festive parties fill your social calendar and holiday shopping fills up your to-do list, it can be hard to find a minute to breathe. Consider these 11 tips to help tackle your to-do list and battle that holiday stress.

1. Know Your Most Productive Times

If you're a morning person, work on your most pressing and time-consuming tasks then. If you have more energy in the afternoons, save the heavy-hitting items on your to-do list until after lunch.

2. Celebrate Little Milestones

Whether alone or with your team, reward yourself for the little victories. Take an afternoon off to see a movie or grab a drink with friends to celebrate those small successes.

3. Silence Your Cellphone

If you find yourself replying to text messages, browsing news articles and scrolling through Instagram, ditch the distraction. Mute your ringer or put your phone in a desk drawer so you can get some work done without the disturbances.

4. Plan Your Projects

Decide which projects you need to complete before the end of the year. Map out the rest of the month, and determine deadlines for each task on your to-do list to help you stay on track.

5. Schedule Everything

Whether you're going ice skating with the family or attending a holiday luncheon with co-workers, put each event on your calendar. Treating each activity as an appointment ensures you don't get double-booked.

6. Collaborate with Colleagues

Discuss your holiday plans with others in the office, and make your boss aware of your travel plans. This ensures there is adequate staff coverage and helps you avoid scheduling conflicts.

7. Learn to Say No

When your calendar is already jam-packed, don't be afraid to say no. If you truly can't take on another task, it's okay to say so. Don't make excuses; just be honest about your already-full schedule.

8. Allow Yourself Breaks

For every hour you work, afford yourself 10 minutes of downtime. Take a walk around the block, grab a quick drink or chat with a colleague.

9. Commit Fully

When you have a meeting or event on your calendar, focus all of your energy on it. Whether you're attending a sales call or watching your child's Christmas pageant, don't let yourself be distracted by phone calls or emails.

10. Make Your List Realistic

When making out your to-do list for the rest of the year, make sure you include only those items that really are a priority. If there are items that can wait, save them for another time.

11. Avoid Distractions

There are times when you need to commit completely to a task to complete it on time. Don't be afraid to close your office door to avoid interruptions from your colleagues.

Don't let holiday stress take away from the cheer and merriment of the winter season. These 11 tips can help you navigate your to-do list, both personally and professionally. What tricks do you use to get through the holidays unscathed?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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