Holiday Distractions in the Workplace – Keep Your Team Focused

The holiday season brings with it warm food, ugly sweaters, family and friends, and personal time commitments. Soon family obligations start to consume our lives and of course our time. Yet, we know the holidays are coming, and still, we hear from our salespeople who don’t make their goal, “Well, the holidays got in the way.” Like they didn’t know the holidays were coming in December this year?  Here’s how to keep your team focused.

The biggest thing you can do as a sales leader is to help your team plan around the holidays. You should know December is heavy on the holidays compared to other months. You and your team should also know it comes every year, and you need to work with that.


Sit down 1-on-1 with your team and identify how they are going to end the year strong. Figure out what accounts they need to close, deals they have to finish with, opportunities they need to start, what decision-makers they need to get in contact with, etc. It’s up to you to guide your team to success with all the holiday distractions. Get specific commitments from them and even challenge them on when they can fulfill those commitments. Too often they won’t accurately account for days their client's offices are closed. If they need a bigger push, then make a time chart for them.

Limit Your Distractions

Ever find yourself scrolling through social media, and then the next thing you know, 15 minutes have come and gone? The same thing is happening to your team. Well, according to a study by the University of California “It takes 23 minutes to recover from a distraction at work.” That’s a lot of lost time to gain your focus back. Help your team keep focus by enforcing digital boundaries such as:

  • Using ‘do not disturb mode’ on your smartphone.
  • Disabling push notifications on apps like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, personal email accounts, ESPN, etc.
  • The hardest one of all, keeping your phone out of your hands or face down for all meetings or during high priority projects.
  • Lastly, not so much a digital boundary but blocking out time on your calendars, so your coworkers know not to disturb you.

Don’t Overcommit

Saying yes to a new project shows initiative, ambition, and a lot of other things. Saying yes to everything is a very common trait, especially in Minnesota. Minnesotan’s are notorious for saying yes to an event and yet never showing up. This is an unfortunate habit and shouldn’t be brought into the workplace. If you can’t take on a project and give it your personal best, then don’t agree to it. Make sure your team doesn’t bite off more than they can chew, and are only focused on the things that are most impactful to finishing the year strong. Everyone understands that the holidays are hectic

Leave It At Home

This one is vital to sales leaders. You need to be able to create a divide between your personal life and your professional life. You can’t bring your personal life to work. We know easier said than done. But, you don’t want to go to work and only pay half attention because your brain is still trying to figure out what you’re going to bring to that huge family dinner. That’s not fair to your team or your company. Instead, focus on work at work and focus on the family at home.

The same thing goes to your team. If you see those glazed eyes start to appear, refocus them onto work. Surprise questions about team goals, company numbers, or revenue will often snap them back into action. Honestly, you’d be surprised how many salespeople don’t know their own retention numbers. If you want to learn about customer retention numbers, check out our blog, “Customer Retention – Here’s How to Keep Them.”

Speaking of focus, make sure you and your team plan for their days off, especially during the holidays, so that they can still accomplish the things they have committed to. Make sure they know that just because they are on vacation, say to Maui for instance, that doesn’t mean work stops. Factor your team's time off into your year’s plan and prioritize tasks to incorporate that.

Your planning for the holidays should be done well in advance. Keep your team focused by remembering to prioritize your tasks, limit your distractions digital and otherwise, and make sure yes means 100%. If you can implement these habits, then you and your team will be able to crush the rest of 2019!

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