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The holiday season is now in full swing, and while it is, arguably, the best time of year, for non-retail businesses, working professionals, and law students, it is also one of the most challenging. This is due to the fact that along with all the celebrations and festiveness, and individuals taking vacations, productivity (for some easily explainable reason) seems to go right out the window. This seasonal phenomenon is often referred to as 'holiday-it is.'
Generally, this phenomenon is characterized by individuals sloughing off work, being disorganized, or working in a "countdown mode" of sorts. Everyone's basically just trying to get to and through the end of the year, mostly by coasting and enjoying the parties and lax holiday attitudes. Below, you can learn to get through it in two simple steps.
Step 1: Holidays Are for Everyone, Acknowledge This
Whether you're a managing partner or a law student, holiday-itis can have an impact on you. For practicing attorneys, it could mean that getting ahold of an opposing counsel, or client, or staff member, might not be possible, or it could just be unreasonably difficult (because of you or them). And for students, the real challenge is fighting all the distractions, and the desire to be holiday crazed and/or lazy, during the most critical part of the semester: final exams.
If you're personally suffering from holiday-itis, your own or someone else's, the first step in fighting through it is acknowledging it.
Step 2: Dealing With/Embracing It
For law students, it may seem difficult to have to forgo a few of the holiday parties and celebrations in order to study. But, luckily for you, your countdown actually has a fixed end-date. One good way to motivate yourself and avoid the desire to coast through the holidays is to have a really big treat lined up for yourself right at the conclusion of finals. It could be party, a fancy steak dinner, a spa day, or anything else your heart desires as a reward for avoiding slacking.
Unfortunately, in the professional world, the clock doesn't ever really stop. And if you're not the one lollygagging, scolding others for slacking can often put a damper on your otherwise good spirits. If staff are slow, non-responsive, or otherwise not productive, you may want to dangle some sort of holiday incentives over them to keep productivity up. If it's another attorney causing you trouble, sadly, you just have to deal with the fact that the attorney set up their holiday schedule better than you. And it's not like there isn't another mountain of work you can tackle while you wait for people who are enjoying the holidays and getting recharged. ProTip: Don't forget to send the CYA email/letter if an opposing counsel goes MIA on a deadline.
Lastly, for the lawyers that suffer from holiday-itis, it might not be a bad idea to just embrace it and get some rest and relaxation. Everything usually slows down during December anyway, right? If you need to avoid slowing down, you can set bigger targets, treat yourself to rewards for sticking to your routines, get an accountability buddy, or try to get some friendly year-end competition with some colleagues going (within ethical bounds of course).