ColumnA simple tip for a productive December

Lena WittnebenPR

An extraordinary year is drawing to a close. Whether working from home, online conferences or vacationing in your own city: a lot has become normal this year. But especially for home office “newbies”, the situation is often challenging in order to concentrate and work productively.

For many, the last month of the year is associated with the annual Christmas stress. December makes us think about what we definitely want to do this year: for example, the travel expense report, completing the online Spanish course or drawing up a business plan for the sidepreneur idea.

We can use the remaining 30 days of December to devote ourselves exclusively to a new thing, project or wish in the morning. Especially the extended lockdown light – without the morning hour in the gym or the commute – can play our cards in the cards.

In the next 30 days, in the morning when the majority experiences a concentration high, we should isolate ourselves completely without disturbance for 30 minutes and devote ourselves exclusively to one thing. Put this “deep work” appointment and reminder in your calendar so that your colleagues can also see that you do not want to be disturbed. Switch your mobile phone to airplane mode, close all browser tabs if you need the internet at all. Inform your family or office neighbor (in the home office) that you will not be available within the next half an hour.

Times of the day when you can concentrate on your work should not be used for activities that require little mental exertion, such as reading e-mails or answering appointments.

This principle of “30-30-1” to get new projects rolling through the “power of ritual” can, depending on the time available, also be used in “60-60-1” or even “90-90 -1 “can be extended. Our brain cannot concentrate for more than 90 minutes en bloc anyway. Our head doesn’t like “multitasking”. Being active at the same time does not mean being productive. Monofocus works.

The constant repetition to form a habit takes different times. The often quoted 21 days are a myth that has its origins in a faulty interpretation of “getting used to” and “habits”.

Ultimately, it depends primarily on the complexity of the new task and our willpower (which we can train like muscles). On average, it takes a good 66 days (beginning of February 2021!) To turn new habits into routines. This is also helpful to implement the much-cited “good resolutions” for New Year in the long term. Perhaps there is one thing (be it a new hire’s guide, a new hobby, or a podcast idea) that has never been time before.

Lena Wittneben writes here regularly for She is a systemic coach, memory trainer and speaker – more at The weekly interview podcast “There is a crack in everything …” is available free of charge on Itunes, Spotify or their website.

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