If you’re like everyone I know, this is your busiest time of the year. Not only are we all doing our year-end assessments and strategy sessions for 2014, we are spending time outside of work preparing for celebrations, houseguests and gift-giving.

You might feel like you have something filling up every waking moment already, but unless you are functioning at a high level all the time, there is still room for you to get more done quicker and maybe even reduce your stress. After all, there’s almost nothing as relaxing as checking that last item off your to-do list.

We recently read an article on Amex Open Forum by Michael Beck of Skyline Group International about the 4 elements of what he calls “personal energy” and they sound pretty on point. Mr. Beck tells us that to be productive, we must keep all 4 energy reserves topped up:

Physical Energy–You cannot function at your peak without a healthy body. Eat small, nutritious meals often and make sure you are getting enough sleep, whatever amount that is for you.


Emotional Energy–Focus on the positives. Make a list of what went great yesterday or what you are grateful for before you start your day. Practice positive self-talk. Not only will you be able to maintain your equilibrium, but you can have a positive influence on the stressed out people around you.


Mental EnergyTake breaks. We cannot emphasize this enough. High productivity is impossible to maintain over many hours in a row. Take a 15 or 20 minute break every 90 minutes. Walk around the block, read a book, listen to some music, even close your eyes for a catnap. Your next 90 minutes will be just as productive as the last.


Inspirational Energy–Whether you get your best ideas when you draw or run or sing or read, carve out time to do the things that inspire you. You’re not wasting time–you’re saving it by getting your ideas lined up for when you get down to work.

This time of year can be overwhelming, but it’s amazing what we can get done in just a few weeks. What if we were this productive all year round?

We would love to hear your suggestions for staying productive throughout this busy time of year!

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative