Holiday brain, don't overcommit, set goals, keep it simple, treat yourself, relax

Here are 8 Ways To Battle ‘Holiday Brain’

Here's what you can do to battle and defeat the inevitable holiday brain.

Originally Published Dec. 5, 2016

The arrival of the holiday season can often mean the departure of our brainpower. Who knows what happens, but it seems that the holidays are when many professionals lose focus, get lazy, misplace motivation, or simply burn out.

Welcome to the time of “holiday brain.”

With all the parties, shopping, vacations, and gatherings on the horizon, it’s a wonder how we keep any office momentum at all. The fight against office holiday brain may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a losing battle—if you wear the armor  to prepare for combat.

Set goals

Having realistic goals before the holidays will help you to better determine the time and effort required to reach them. As a tip, give yourself more than enough time and space to make things happen. Successfully doing what you set out to do can add to your holiday euphoria, so be sure your goals are attainable.

Don’t overcommit

You know those many tasks and projects that you eagerly signed up for in early October? Come mid-November you’re not going to want to do it. It’s just how life works. Take it very easy with end-of-the-year commitments. If possible, hold off on new or large commitments until the New Year when you’ll be revitalized and refreshed.

Keep it Simple

This aligns with not taking on anything new or robust. Try to keep your days as simple as possible so that you can push through. This is not the time for juggling or multitasking. You don’t have the capacity right now. Think “one-track and stay on it. This is as much as you can handle.

Treat Yourself

Reward yourself after each task completion. Listen, the fact that you’re getting anything done at all merits a pat on your back. In keeping with the holiday spirit, gift yourself when you’ve completed an assignment. That gift could be as small as a cup of tea, or as large as time away from your desk. Having an incentive can help boost task completion. Let this be your motivation.


If holiday brain starts to get the best of you, you may want to succumb. Take a couple of days off to feed your holiday spirit, whether that’s shopping, resting, or nothing. A little time to yourself can often be exactly what’s needed to reboot.

Tackle Big Tasks Early

The closer you getting to the holidays, the further you mentally get from your work. Try tackling your most pressing tasks before the holidays draw near. Leave the small or menial tasks the closer you get to your break.

Clarify expectations

Nine times out of 10, your bosses and colleagues are also suffering from holiday brain. This works in your favor. It isn’t likely that you’ll be asked to climb a mountain during this time, but if you are, let those asking know what you may or may not be capable of. Trust that they’ll understand.

Get active

This can help in more ways than one. Exercise works wonders for focus and productivity. Remaining active not only helps keep you sharp, but it keeps you fit. Given how those holiday meals are set up, you need all the help you can get.

Now that you’re armored, you’re ready to come up against this season. We’re rooting for you. Push through.

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