Embrace the Gift of Productive Presence This Holiday Season

by | May 30, 2023 | 0 comments

Photo by Jonathan Borba

Did you buy all your presents yet?

What are you bringing to the holiday party?

Will you be able to wrap up that project before New Year’s?

Chillier temperatures and snowfalls welcome the holiday season, along with endless work and family to-dos. “The most wonderful time of the year” can quickly become the most overwhelming few weeks and months.

Holiday stress is no stranger to anyone. Balancing jobs, financial strain, family dynamics, get-togethers, gift buying, and many more challenges may keep you distracted and running in circles. The whirlwind of emotions and expectations can cloud your perspective and yuletide experience—so much so that you stop paying attention to what’s in front of you and what you can be grateful for.

But what if you embrace this season with a productive presence, so you can achieve your goals with more ease? What would that look like, and how can you tap into this gift?

We Are All Distracted

Between our devices pinging 24/7, work responsibilities, and family demands, it’s very difficult to be here and now—especially when you have the holidays right around the corner. There’s so much to do!

You might work when you are supposed to rest or suffer from a “monkey mind” when you try to concentrate. You are being pulled in so many directions that you can’t focus or finish a task before something else comes up.

What is the cost of so much distraction? In the workplace, it can kill productivity and lead to mistakes, accidents, and injuries.

Distractions can also have detrimental emotional, mental, and physical consequences on your well-being and relationships. Perhaps you feel so anxious you can’t sleep, so you wake up exhausted and irritable, feeding a vicious cycle. Or you might lash out at your coworkers or loved ones, looking to blow off some steam.

When you are not present, your needs, priorities, and values become unclear. You might stop noticing what’s important within your workplace, family system, and sense of self.

What Is Productive Presence?

The concept of productive presence or mindful productivity refers to how being present can aid productivity without making it its primary goal. Instead of focusing on going fast or multitasking, you are consciously aware of what you are doing, your thoughts, feelings, and sensations and let the benefits of presence unfold. 

When you are present, you are able to self-regulate and respond with intention instead of reacting out of impulse or letting your emotions take over. You can see, hear, and acknowledge others, fostering deeper connections and meaningful experiences.

Productive presence can also lead to better management of your time, energy, and mental focus, despite the distractions and stressors around you. It can help you identify and prioritize what matters, both in your personal and professional spaces, so you can live by your values and make conscious choices.

Productive presence allows you to be there for yourself, your employees, and your loved ones as you navigate the demands and joys of the holidays. It’s a precious gift for those you serve and care about.

Tips to Embrace and Give the Gift of Productive Presence this Holiday Season

1) Reflect on Your Needs and Values

It’s the perfect time to reflect. Evaluate your organization’s workflows and processes, as well as your family’s routines and dynamics. Think about where you are and where you want to go.

  • What’s working and what’s no longer serving you and others? 
  • What do you need?
  • What do your teams and loved ones need?
  • What’s essential for you and others?

Based on these reflections, set clear priorities and values for the new year.

2) Manage Your Devices and Distractions

While you can’t quiet all the noise, you can manage your exposure to it:

  • Regulate your notifications: Go to your settings and decide which apps you want to receive notifications from. I bet it’s not all of them! You can also activate the “focus,” “do not disturb,” or silent mode on your devices when you want to concentrate or spend time with others.
  • Reduce your access to social media: Set a time limit on your social media apps. Your device will prompt you when you’ve reached your daily limit, and you’ll be able to make a conscious decision about this boundary.
  • Use technology to support your productive presence: YouTube guided meditations and meditation apps are excellent mindfulness resources. You can also use a Pomodoro timer to help you structure work into set intervals with enough breaks in between.

3) Sprinkle Mindful Moments

Create opportunities throughout your day to practice mindfulness, at least for a few minutes:

  • Start the day journaling or practicing gratitude
  • Take breaks between meetings or holiday errands to do a quick breathing exercise
  • Bundle up and go for a walk or do some mindful movement (e.g., dancing to your favourite song, yoga, working out)
  • Meet with a friend, colleague, or coach to get perspective on any holiday stressors you might have
  • Spend quality time with someone you love, or block your schedule to do something you enjoy
  • Unwind at least 30 minutes before bed with calming music, reading, or light stretches

Check out this mindful well-being checklist for more nourishing activities you can engage in daily.

4) Model the Way

Lead the way for your employees, peers, and loved ones. If they see you being present, setting boundaries around your values, and taking care of yourself, they might feel inspired to do the same.

But, if they see you distracted and disregarding your needs, they might take it as an example. For instance, if you are emailing your employees during the holidays, your team might think you expect them to stay ON, even when on vacation. Or if you are constantly on your phone during a holiday gathering, your kids might think that’s ok, so they may get lost in social media and miss the chance to connect.

It’s never too late to kickstart the ripple effect of productive presence. As soon as you start living it, others will follow.

Need Mindful Support During the Holidays?

I know the holidays can be daunting, but they are also a fantastic time to appreciate all the goodness in your life. Embracing a productive presence can help you slow down and focus on what truly matters while still taking care of your work and family responsibilities.

If you are looking for support to be more present and steer holiday stress, I’m here for you.

I offer individual and group coaching programs to spread the gift of mindfulness to leaders, families, and organizations—not just for this season but for the rest of your journey. 

Visit sensesmindfulness.com or book a complimentary call to find out more.