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December is a magical time of year, but it can be pretty hectic too!

As the year draws to a close, there are many competing demands on our time between business and personal commitments. And we often forget that December is only a 3-week month – at best! Pushing ourselves to get things finished before the year end, we can get overwhelmed and stressed. And that To Do list keeps growing!  So, it is important to take control and make the most of your time. Here are 3 tips to stay focused this December.

  1. Set Priorities for the Month

When you don’t have time for everything, you have to prioritise.  There may be lots of things you would like to do but what are the key things you need to deliver? It can help to divide the long list of tasks into 3 buckets based on the importance to the business:

  1. Must Do – Business Critical Work
  2. Should Do – Not Critical
  3. Could Do – Nice to Have

In December, decide to focus on those ‘Must Do’ tasks. Then day-to-day, when lots of requests are coming in, you don’t have to stop and make decisions. These tasks take priority – you have already decided and agreed with your team.

Identify which tasks in your business fall into this category and make sure everyone is clear.

  1. Protect Your Time for Priority Work

December is a unique month, and the time disappears very easily. It is also very easy to get distracted. Your time is precious, and you need to protect it for the ‘Must Do’ work. Because if you don’t, lots of other things will steal it away.

Block time in your diary at the start of each week for priority work. And then, stick to the plan. Don’t give this time away easily as other things crop up. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Keep meeting time short (45 minutes max)
  • Decline non-essential meetings!
  • Say No to lower priority work

Saying no is one of the hardest skills in business. But it can be the right decision if the request is a lower priority than your planned work.

Explain why you are saying no and suggest an alternative time or solution.  There is pressure to “do everything before Christmas” so start asking if some things can be moved to January. This protects time but also helps to make plans for January.

  1. Plan January 2024 before You Finish

In January, it can be hard to tune back in after the extended break. If we have successfully switched off over the holiday, all those business details can be a little vague.

That’s why it is a productive move to do some planning before you tune out in December, while everything is still fresh in your mind. On your last working day capture everything and plan out the first working week in January.

This has two benefits:

  1. It helps you switch off, relax and refresh over Christmas
  2. It helps you hit the ground running in January

Be Productive in 2024

So, in summary, a focused December can lead to a restful holiday period and a productive start to 2024. Try these 3 Tips to Stay Focused this December. And enjoy your break, you have earned it!

To book 2024 Planning session for your team contact our Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne. We customise all sessions to suit your exact requirements.

You can access lots of productivity articles on our website on Tips for Hybrid Working, Managing Email, Reducing Stress and Saying No.

Should you wish to develop new skills and habits in your own time you can book our online Productivity Masterclass. To discuss any of these options, contact our Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne.

Written by Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne, founder and director of

Moira Dunne