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Time Management Tips To Make The Most Of The Winter Solstice

12/21/2015 04:03 EST | Updated 12/21/2016 12:38 EST

Winter solstice means saying goodbye to the sun earlier than ever on Monday across Canada. Every December, the shortest day and the longest night of the year come around and steal away the hours from you.

The Winter or December solstice occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is angled the farthest from the sun it will be all year, giving us the least amount of daylight and the longest night of the year.

Depending on where you live, that means you’ll have as little as eight hours of sunlight to get all of your work done for the day. And as you've already noticed for the last month or so, earlier sunsets equal sleepier people.

Here are some tips to help you become more productive and make the most of those precious eight hours of daylight we have this time of year — they’re ticking away. Of course, these tips can help any other day of the year too.

Make a To-Do List and don't let it leave your sight.

Lay out tasks for the day on a sticky note and put it up in your workspace. This will let you organize what you’d like to get done for the day and see it all laid out side-by-side to think about how they relate. Physically checking items off will feel concrete. Emails sent, check. Turkey bought, check.

Get started once you sit down.

Taking a second to check irrelevant emails, scroll through social media or read something on Twitter can easily turn into 30 minutes. And the day is already drifting away.

Switch gears every hour.

If your to-do list is daunting and long-term, shift gears every hour to ensure you spend some time working on each little project. Setting a short work period will help you focus and utilize each minute before you have to start in on another project. Separating assignments will make you more productive than switching between different tasks at the same time. A Stanford University study showed that multitasking actually does more harm to your brain and end results than managing one thing at a time — especially when it means juggling electronic devices.

Set time to clear your mind.

Just because you’re pressed for time, doesn’t mean you should skip breaks to calm your thoughts. Studies show that short breaks are healthy and can help you get more done. Meditate for five minutes, get up and stretch, write out what’s on your mind — it can be just what you need if you’re starting to get overloaded and overwhelmed.

Don’t forget that time management also includes your personal life.

It’s easy to put all of your energy into your work and leave yourself with no energy to spend time with friends, your significant other or your family. While you’re scheduling and visualizing what needs to be done today, don’t forget to add in baking Christmas cookies with the kids.

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