What do you do when you love blogging, writing and being a productive little nugget BUT you also love cosying up as soon as the sun sets, sleep and of course, spending time with actual not-on-the-screen people?
Staying productive and maintaining your business, blog or online presence takes work – we all know that. Naturally, a lot of casual bloggers and Instagrammers wind down over the festive period, but those who still have goals to reach or stories to tell face the added hurdle of staying productive during this busy season.
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t have all the answers – who does? – I am however pretty determined to stay productive the season (probably just like you, since you’re reading this) and will be doing so at all costs.
Create seasonal content
It’s admittedly hard to write about (or create around) serious and maybe boring things when everyone is snapping pics of their Starbucks red cups or snazzy winter coats… but creating content that’s maybe only seasonally evergreen might be your answer.
Most blogs or businesses have room for a sprinkle of seasonal or festive specific content, whether it’s a gift guide (maybe but a twist on it), a festive coupon code or an advent-long quiz or competition with a prize at the end. Seasonal content is still working, but it takes you out of the same-old headspace you’ve been in and makes this fresh, festive and interesting – which ultimately holds your attention longer.
This blog taking part in Blogmas is the perfect example. Half my content this month is completely Christmas and festive season themed, meaning it’s a breath of fresh air to write and hopefully to read (plus I was running out of standard ideas…).
Cosy up your desk
Although I have some super cute and cosy festive interiors posts lined up in the coming weeks, I couldn’t not share some ideas about making your working space cosier.
Setting up to work on the sofa or your bed at this time of year is a recipe for disaster. The low light means that in bed we get sleepy (and our sleep patterns are susceptible to being screwed up) and on the sofa, the distraction of actually good TV is all too real. Stick to your desk or dining table – but make it cosy.
Think of cushions on the chairs, colourful blankets draped over your lap, candles burning in the corner and an Instagrammable mug with an endless supply of tea. To go the whole hog get some slippers on and your favourite jumper or dressing gown. Keep it all cosy so you’re less likely to retreat back to the warmth of the duvet – it might even become your new favourite spot.
Assess your lighting situation
Not only is working and smashing your to-do list hard when it’s freezing, but it’s even harder when it’s pitch black outside and your eyes are straining at your laptop, computer or phone constantly.
Investing in a proper desk lamp – you know, the sort with a warm and bright directed light – was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It brightens the dark corner of my room my desk is in, lights up my keyboard well and reduces the strain on my eyes. Decorative lighting can also make it easier to rise an hour earlier and work on bits and bobs. Think fairy lights, festive decorations and candles.
The proper lighting makes the difference between feeling sluggish or wide awake and ready when working. If you generally struggle in the winter low light and maybe don’t ever feel like working because of that, I’d suggest investing in a SAD lamp or something similar.
Prioritize your tasks
Believe me, I know the feeling of wanting (or needing) to get everything done. It’s so alluring to think of your to-do list being completely clear, and getting the real time you need to completely switch off… but it’s not realistic.
If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that there is always something next. By the time you’ve ticked off those big things, some other big things will be coming along. The only way to combat the choca-block task list is to simply prioritise and delete. Decide what’s really important and, more importantly, what can wait. Split tasks up into more manageable pieces and tackle them little by little each day – instead of feeling too overwhelmed to even start.
Another good trick is to include a few festive or fun tasks each day. Adding them halfway down the list gives you a fun hour or two to look forward to. Maybe it’s shooting some festive flat lays – check out all the props you need – or taking part in a Twitter chat.
Invest in time-saving tools
The struggle of productivity in the season doesn’t just crop up because of the cold, dark winter – getting things done also becomes a struggle when being out and about with friends, family and loved ones is an option. No-one wants to be the person turning down exciting invites to sit in the dark and type away at the computer, do they?
Investing in a few tools this month could be the complete time-saver you’ve been looking for. Some of the most time-consuming tasks when it comes to blogging include self-promotion, proof-reading and spell checking and general social media busy work. My favourite tools include Buffer (which you can free trial if you’ve never used it before), Planoly (for Instagram scheduling) and Grammarly (for as-you-write spellchecking and grammar correcting).
If you want to go even further then maybe hire someone to proofread your posts or create imagery for you. For businesses, this is a great option if you’re busy over the festive period as the content created could be evergreen – making it a super long-term investment.
Do you struggle to stay productive when the festive season rolls around? Let’s be honest most of us do but are you ready to squish those low productivity levels? I know I am.
Let me know in the comments whether you’ll be benefitting from a few time-saving tools, a cosy desk set up or something else entirely.
Did you know that I’m doing Blogmas this year? Check out my other festive posts right here.