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Don’t snooze this Christmas: 5 specialist tips on how to avoid being unproductive at work during the festive season


With personal and professional pressures culminating in the approach to Christmas, managing the tension between being good busy and overwhelmingly busy becomes more difficult.

You don’t want to be a Scrooge but you also know there is work to be done… a lot of it at that.

Productivity Expert, Michelle McQuaid, has partnered with Officeworks to identify five unproductive behaviours that should be avoided this November and set out five top tips to help combat unproductivity at work.

1. Saying “yes” to the wrong things

Often the first words out of our mouth when someone asks for our help is: “Yes, I can help with that.” This is despite a list of commitments already requiring more hours than we have in a day!

We find ourselves lurching from one deadline to the next, and suddenly having neither the time nor energy to prioritise the things that matter most.

2. Wasting time and energy

Busyness becomes overwhelming when we start fixating on all the things that might go wrong if we can’t get everything done. These stories about what “might” happen burn up our energy, steal away our hopes and undermine our grit to achieve the goals we’ve set.

3. Distracted by what’s not working

Ever noticed how your attention sticks like velcro to what’s not quite working in your business, while the things that are going well slip away like teflon.

Your brain’s negativity bias means you’re wired to notice weaknesses in yourself, in others and in your business and while these can always be improved the time, effort, energy and commitment required mean this is generally a pretty slow return on any investment you make.

When you’re busy it’s time to focus on what’s working well and look for ways to quickly build upon this.

4. Isolating yourself from others

Finding time to connect with other people – at work or at home – is one of the first things that go when we hit a period of busyness. We just can’t fit them in! But other people are your best source of lowering your levels of stress and improving your concentration and focus at work.

5. Tired and unfocused

There’s nothing wrong with short periods of stress, but if you let stress build up day after day, week after week, you wear down your mental, physical and psychological resilience to run your business – and your life – effectively.

As a result your brain performs more poorly causing you to see less of what’s going on around you, think less quickly and creatively and cut yourself off from the people who are most likely to be able to make things less stressful. Not surprisingly, everything gets harder than it needs to be!

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Michelle McQuaid