Beat the winter blues with these top productivity tips

As Christmas approaches, it can be difficult for business owners to keep up the pace.

The cold weather has well and truly set in, and some entrepreneurs find it tough during the final weeks of the year to maintain morale.

But even as they year comes to a close, it is vital that you keep your spirits up. We have compiled a list of top tips to help you boost morale this winter.

1. Get some perspective

It is all too easy to get bogged down in the myriad daily tasks involved in running your business, and forget to look at the bigger picture. Unless you zoom out regularly, you will never be able to celebrate your wins – and this is a real morale killer. Take some time, on a regular basis, to ensure that you take a step back and assess your progress. By keeping track of your accomplishments you can help yourself remain motivated.

2. Plan some time off

Time off is key for mental wellbeing. Clearly, Christmas forces us to take some time out (or at least it should – but think about the annual stories regarding the number of people who fill out their tax return on Christmas Day), but you should consider maximising this potential while also making sure that you take breaks during the rest of the year. Clearly, for small business owners taking time off can be a challenge. But, where possible, try to leave your work at home at least for the bulk of each day. Make sure that you plan ahead to make this feasible.

3. Work smarter

As well as taking holidays, you can boost your productivity and your morale by taking breaks during the day. Many people find that they are able to work more efficiently if they split their time into, for example, 20 minute chunks. This way you can help to eliminate ‘mission creep’, and instead concentrate on the task at hand. You might also consider investigating one of the major time management techniques like Getting Things Done, which help you to split projects into manageable chunks.

4. Set boundaries

You cannot work all the time. In addition to the occasional holiday, it is vital that you set daily limits to your work activities. This is particularly important if you work from home. In these cases, you must ensure that you have a daily routine other than getting up, moving to your desk, working all day, and then going to bed. Force yourself to adopt a routine wherever possible, finishing work at a specific time and starting again at a regular time in the morning.

5. Make a plan

As the year comes to a close, take the opportunity to plan ahead for 2014. You cannot hope to be productive without setting out your goals, and the end of the year is the perfect time to do this. Concentrate on the major accomplishments you are aiming for in the coming months, and then split these into actions that you can carry out according to a timetable. By focusing your work in this way, maintaining both granular detail and headline goals, you can help to ensure that you work more efficiently and more happily.