Lifestyle The Twelve Days of Productivity

The Twelve Days of Productivity

By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC


“The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as we refer to it today, was made famous in 1909 by an English composer, Frederic Austin. The Christmas carol is organized into twelve days with a new gift each day, building upon the previous ones as the song progresses. The song might be familiar, but what lessons could it teach us about moving our careers forward, especially if you are considering a career change? These twelve gifts might represent twelve efforts to be as productive and innovative as possible. Try these twelve steps:


1. A Partridge in a Pear Tree

In Greek mythology, the partridge is closely associated with Athena, who is said to have turned someone whose ingenuity she admired into the first partridge. If you are looking for a new job, consider using your own ingenuity to edit your résumé down to a single page containing keywords appropriate to the positions for which you are applying. This could help you get past the algorithms in place in the digital world.

2. Two Turtle Doves

Traditionally, turtle doves are symbols of love. Love on yourself by including on your résumé two exemplary achievements you have accomplished for each role you have had. For example, if you are a sales professional, prospective employers may be impressed if you grew sales 40 percent or expanded the product line. Make sure the achievements you include are presented in a quantitative manner.

3. Three French Hens

One interpretation of the three French hens in this carol is the three gifts of the Magi. With this in mind, what if, at year’s end, you sent Christmas cards to three ex-bosses or colleagues who have moved on to new companies and then followed up with phone calls to those people to wish them happy holidays? What groundwork might that lay for you? You might discover what their companies are doing these days. Maybe they would let you use them as references. Or perhaps they would be willing to advise you if their companies have any needs going forward.

4. Four Calling Birds

Consider calling on four individuals or companies. Make follow-up calls on positions you have applied for or contact friends or family you have always admired to let them know your availability status for work. You could also write down four goals important to your current “calling.” 

5. Five Golden Rings

Make a list of your five most transferrable skills. If you are unemployed, perhaps you can investigate five opportunities. List five of your golden traits, those qualities you are most proud of and focus on these traits instead of the challenges you have encountered. This might also be a golden way to enhance your self-esteem in the face of rejection letters or when job-seeking efforts don’t seem to be yielding results.

6. Six Geese a-Laying

Consider spending time on LinkedIn making new connections with six people in companies you would like to learn more about. Such an endeavor could help you lay foundations for stronger relationships. LinkedIn has forums, discussions, and announcements by people in management positions that might be advantageous to you.

7. Seven Swans a-Swimming

Swans are symbols of grace, beauty, and transformation, among other things. What are seven areas where you could enhance your personal development? For example, would you like to take a class in digital marketing? What about investigating mindfulness practices to make you feel healthier and more grounded? Would a writing or art class interest you and enhance your self-esteem? Write down seven activities that would showcase your own beauty, both inner and outer, or help you transform into an even better version of yourself.

8. Eight Maids a-Milking

Because of its numeral form, the number eight relates to infinity or the power of rebirth and transformation. List eight jobs that might be similar to what you have been doing yet would be more fulfilling. This exercise can help you step out of your comfort zone so you can grow. It can also help you explore how to milk your talents to get the most out of your skills and experiences. By listing them on paper, you add power to your belief in what you can do.

9. Nine Ladies Dancing

Many of us are looking to start a new dance in our careers. If you are, you must first learn the steps. Reflect on experiences you have had in which you might have gone backward to take greater steps forward. Have the past several months forced you to learn new steps to a dance you might enjoy more than the one you have previously followed? With such questions in mind, spend nine minutes a day updating your personal journal or expanding your LinkedIn profile to present your work experience so you can begin your new dance.

10. Ten Lords a-Leaping

Just as the gifts build on each other each day in the song, each of these tips should build upon the ones before. Consider how the suggestions to this point can allow you to take a giant leap in your endeavors. Know that you can achieve anything you put your mind to if you only take the proper steps. In numerology, ten is said to indicate an independent person with enormous potential. This number also helps in bringing projects to completion. 

11. Eleven Pipers Piping

When I think of pipers piping, I think of celebratory events. What can you do now to make sure you have something to celebrate? How are you going to recognize your growth due to the hard work you put into yourself and your career? What if you were to move up two levels in your workplace? Could you exercise more to have more energy and feel better at the end of the day? Can you gear your mindset toward doing things now that will allow you to celebrate later? Aim for eleven different ways to grow and celebrate.

12. Twelve Drummers Drumming

The beat goes on as you take these extra steps to develop both personally and professionally. Believe that you have the ingenuity to hunt for your own new rhythm. Are there twelve new steps, no matter how small, that you could take to expand your opportunities?



Try these things to enliven your personal and professional growth,  “The Twelve Days of Christmas” can be your method and roadmap to success!


Mary Ann Faremouth 

Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze,  Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (

Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business.  Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.

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