“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Or is it? Holiday cheer is no doubt contagious and everyone at work has an extra groove, but the holidays also usher in a bit of anxiety around the office work schedule. Who’s on vacation? What work has to get done before year’s end? What about budgets for 2018? How will you manage family time and providing extra care to clients?
For those like me, who are self-proclaimed “planners,” the holidays can also be a great time to reflect and prioritize projects. While you may not be able to avoid working late the nights leading up to the holiday break, there are a few things you can do to achieve work-life balance and combat stress during the holidays. Below are a few of my own suggestions:
- Put in extra hours before the holiday to build a buffer & complete projects
As I said, I am a planner and one tool I implement during the holiday season is scheduling ahead to add one extra hour of work to my day, each day leading up to the end of the year. If you are like me, this will allow you to get more work done and hopefully put you ahead of projects.
- Determine “must-do” items versus “would like to do” items on your list
Part of living a balanced professional and personal life is planning and setting clear expectations with team members. I generally have two lists of priorities. The first list is my general “to-dos” and the second list is my priority “to-dos” that I re-write each day. Making these lists of what has to get done, versus what can wait until the new year, helps keep me on track when last-minute projects arise. Prioritizing and thinking ahead helps me ensure I am creating the right deliverables. While it is almost certain you will have last-minute fires to put out, staying organized helps to keep these fires more manageable.
- Give yourself time to mediate and reflect
Between holiday parties, gift shopping and prepping for family to arrive from out of town, it is easy to get caught up in this crazy time of year. That said, it also a great time to hit pause once a day and take time for yourself to reflect and recharge. Recently, I have been practicing meditation and using an app on my phone called Calm to guide me through my practice. The app offers tools to become more present and often provides perspective on the many things we can appreciate about each day.
While all of the above contribute to reducing stress around the holiday season, the most important thing to me is to stay present and enjoy this magical time of year.