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10 Quick Ideas to Help With Holiday Burnout

As the festive season rolls in, so too does a familiar guest: holiday burnout. It sneaks in with the end-of-year rush, disguised in the hustle of wrapping up work and decking the halls.

The juggle between finalising reports and planning holiday festivities can stretch us thin, turning what should be a joyful time into a countdown of commitments and deadlines.

This season, it's vital to recognise burnout's subtle cues, pause and recalibrate. Instead of an overflowing to-do list, consider what can be delegated or deferred. Embrace the simplicity of the season; let the holidays be about connection rather than perfection.

This short guide will help you declutter as we near the holiday shutdown period.


  • Quick Wins: Tackle small tasks like sorting papers, unsubscribing from emails, or sending a thank-you note.
  • Focused Efforts: Clean a desk drawer, prioritise tasks, and set a single daily goal for a sense of control.
  • Deep Dives: Spend an hour on email cleanup and organising digital files for a clearer workspace.
  • Half-Day Sessions: Use half a day for project wrap-ups or strategic planning for the next year.
  • Holiday Break: Set up an auto-reply email and disconnect from work to fully enjoy the holiday break.

Listen To This Article

Less Than 2 Minutes: Quick Wins

  • Snap Sort: Grab a handful of papers from your desk and decide in a snap: file, bin, or delegate?
  • Email Blitz: Unsubscribe from one marketing email that always gets ignored.
  • Power Praise: Shoot a quick thank-you message to a colleague for their help this year.
    • Example: As the year draws to a close, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the exceptional dedication and effort you've shown throughout 2023.

About 10-15 Minutes: Focused Efforts

  • Desk Detox: Clear out one desk drawer, removing pens that don’t work, old notes, and clutter.
  • Mind Map Clear-Out: Write down all your pending tasks, then strike through the ones that can wait until next year - or digitally move them to a new section ready for January.
  • One-Thing Rule: Choose just one task to accomplish before the day ends. Completing it can give you a sense of achievement and control.

1 Hour: Deep Dives

  • Inbox Purge: Go through your emails with focus, aiming to cut your inbox by half.
  • Digital Detangle: Organise your desktop and digital folders, creating a clear structure for next year’s work.

Half a Day Ideas

Project Wrap Party

Set aside a focused half-day session to tie up loose ends on any ongoing projects. Here’s how to make the most of it:

1. Prioritise: Start with a list of all open projects. Rank them based on urgency and importance.

2. Allocate: Assign a specific time block to each project, considering the complexity of tasks remaining.

3. Simplify: Break down complex tasks into smaller, manageable actions that can be completed within the allotted time.

4. Eliminate Distractions: Turn off notifications, clear your workspace, and inform your team you'll be unavailable for this period.

5. Celebrate: As you complete each task, take a moment to celebrate. This can be as simple as checking it off your list or sharing the progress with your team.

Strategy Session

A half-day strategy session is crucial for setting a clear direction for the upcoming year. Here’s a structured approach:

1. Reflect: Begin by reviewing the past year. What worked well? What didn’t? Be honest and thorough.

2. SWOT Analysis: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to assess your current position.

3. Goal Setting: Based on your SWOT analysis, set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for the year ahead.

4. Action Plan: Develop an action plan for your goals. What steps are needed? Who will be responsible? What resources will be required?

5. Feedback: If possible, bring in a trusted colleague or mentor to review your plan and provide feedback.

Holiday Break

Before you go on Christmas holidays, give yourself time to notify your colleagues of how long you will be on leave. Don’t be afraid to set up an auto-reply email and log off your work email on your personal devices.

It’s important to give yourself the time and the peace of mind to properly enjoy your Christmas break with friends and family. This helps you return to work in the new year feeling rested and rejuvenated, after a holiday spent with the ones you love.

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