happyThe holidays are stressful enough, what with the frenzy of travel, last-minute shopping, and relatives determined to push your buttons. The last thing you need to add to the mix is unfinished work. Brian Moran provides some unique, pre-holiday break planning advice to help you get it all done before you take off (and make those “optional” holiday tasks a bit less hectic, too).

 Don’t go it alone. It’s likely that out of your network of colleagues and friends you aren’t the only one who is a) hoping to have a work-free holiday break, and b) currently working frantically to make that goal possible. And if that’s the case, team up with them. The peer support you receive will be invaluable in your pursuit of the perfect holiday season. “Your chances of success are seven times greater if you employ peer support,” says Moran. “In working with thousands of clients over the past decade, we have found that when clients meet regularly with a group of peers, they perform better; when they don’t, performance suffers. It’s that simple.”

Isolate yourself from modern-day distractions. In today’s society, technology can be a major distraction. When you’re focused on executing your pre-holiday season plan, don’t let smartphones, social media, and the Internet distract you from the activities that are truly important. “Some spontaneity is healthy, but if you are not purposeful with your time, you’ll get thrown off course,” explains Moran. “Allow yourself to get distracted by emails, social media, or the latest viral video while you’re working your pre-holiday break plan, and before you know it, you’ll be working on the project you didn’t finish while the rest of your family is laughing and having fun in the kitchen while baking holiday treats. Learn to isolate yourself from distractions when there is important work to be done.”

Make a personal “time off” commitment for your holiday break. You make work commitments every day; why not make one for your personal life, too? “Your commitment might be making breakfast for your family in the morning — something you don’t get to do during a normal work week,” suggests Moran. “Remember, your pre-holiday break plan was all about spending your time with intent and purpose so that you’d be able to truly enjoy your time off. Why should you stop being more purposeful with your time once you’re actually away from the office? Set your vision. Make a plan. Stay the course. When you’re decorating the tree with your kids or putting the finishing touches on the perfect turkey, you’ll be glad you did.”