Thanksgiving is absolutely a time to be spent with friends and family. A time for turkey, and stuffing, and too much pumpkin pie.

However, that does not mean you still can't find ways to be productive. After all, Thanksgiving is also filled with a lot of downtime that can be put to good use.

1. Be the first one up in the morning. Chances are, you are in someone's home for the holiday, and once the morning is in full effect the busyness of the day will begin. So get up early, make the first pot of coffee, and get in an hour of focused work.

2. Be aware of the rhythm of the day. Thanksgiving is always timed around the food. There are hours where the kitchen is a madhouse, and then there are hours when everything is in the oven and it's a waiting game. During those "waiting" hours, sneak away and knock some things out.

3. Block off certain hours to work. If you have things you really need to get done this holiday weekend, then block off certain hours to work and put those to good use. Work hard, play hard. That way, you can still be productive, and also make time for family and friends.

4. Make use of family conversations. Your family will always be honest with you. If you want real feedback on your ideas, share them at the dinner table. You'll find out real quick what other people think--and that can be a big positive for you.

5. Pick brains. The holidays are filled with conversations, so why not extract as much value as you can? This is your opportunity to really get to know what your siblings, parents, and closest friends think. As my Grandma would say, "You can learn something from everyone."

6. Read, read, read. A lot of time is wasted in front of the television. Even if you're in the room, pull up a book on your phone (iBooks is perfect for this) and crank through some new material while everyone else watches what's on the tube.

7. Be the night owl. If you're not the first to rise, then you should be the last to go to bed. When everyone else goes to sleep, now is precious time you can spend working through your own projects. Make some tea and get cranking.

8. Enlist the help of your younger siblings, nieces, and nephews. Think of your siblings and youngest extended family members as potential interns for the weekend. (Just kidding, kind of). If you can make things fun for them, they will be happy to work on projects with you. Remember: It's all about showing them the value.

9. Take time away from your daily grind to refresh. And of course, it needs to be said that sometimes the most productive thing you could possibly do is to not do anything at all. If you've been burning the candle at both ends for the past few weeks, or even months, then Thanksgiving should be spent recharging. But you have to make the call yourself: when do you relax, and when do you continue to push through. 

Published on: Nov 24, 2016
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