Holidays Make Work Weird

Now that we’re in the monthlong sprint from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the holiday season has firmly taken root here in rural America. Get togethers with extended family are sprinkled across the calendar. The kids have time off of school. Delivery drivers drop by (seemingly) every day to rescue us from having to do any Christmas shopping in person. It’s a fun time!

None of this is particularly conducive to productivity at work.

Sidebar: I know the holidays are a really hard time for many folks and I don’t mean to skip over that reality. In this current phase of life, the holidays are a joy in my home, and that’s not something I take for granted.

There are times of the year when personal and societal stuff create distraction. As a parent with kids in school, the beginning and end of school year is high up on my list of distractions as is any prolonged break during the year. As a runner, during the days just before a race I tend to get distracted by race announcements and planning. However, as for me and my house, nothing serves up quite the same degree of distraction as the hubbub surrounding the holidays.

I feel this tension most pointedly on days like today when I have lots on my to-do list but repeatedly find myself getting sucked into the holiday spirit every time I go check to see what Amazon just dropped off, text my wife about a gift for one of our kids, or open a cyber Monday marketing email.

Days like today are when things like a deep work ritual come in handy. The holidays are a fun time and I’m no scrooge – I’m all for wringing every drop of joy out of the holiday season. However, I also know that if I let the holiday spirit scuttle my productivity for the next month, my New Years’ resolution will be to pay back all the time I spent checked out of work basking in the warm glow of the holidays.

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