The holiday season is a tricky time of year when it comes to work and your career. Oftentimes, your personal commitments and family duties supersede your professional life–and rightfully so. The holiday season is a special time of the year that should be shared with the ones you love. But you also have a career that cannot be stagnant during this busy time, and it can be difficult to navigate through both work and personal.
I have come up with ten (10) tips that can assist you and help you balance your personal with your professional life during this most wonderful time of the year. These tips are adaptable to most lifestyles and can be utilized right away for optimum balance.
Here’s a list of 10 Must Use Work Life Balance Tips to Help You Survive the Holidays:
1. Email Blackout
On holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc., don’t check your email. Unless you are on call, any emails received can wait until after the holiday. Make an effort to have an email blackout during these periods and spend it with your family and loved ones. Set up an Out of Office reply so that people are notified that you will not be answering emails until after the holiday.
If you are in the position to delegate and assign duties, then do so. There is nothing like letting your ego have you doing most of the work during this busy time of the year. Delegate when you can and ask for help if you feel overworked or overwhelmed.
3. Techno NO
Do you have a work laptop, phone, or tablet? During your time off from work for the holidays, leave these devices at work. If you feel compelled to bring them home, make sure they are off and only use them when you have to.
4. Set Boundaries
If your boss thinks you are going to work even when you are off (and you have a track record of doing so), can you blame him or her for expecting you to do so during the holiday? Set your boundaries beforehand and let your boss and coworkers know you won’t be available during the holiday. You can do it casually even with something like, “My son is coming home from college for the holiday and I am looking forward to spending some uninterrupted time with him”. If that doesn’t work, then just straight up tell them you won’t be available on your time off.
5. Be Realistic
Don’t sign up or volunteer for time sensitive projects that will have you working during the holiday. If you don’t have a choice, make sure management knows that the actual holiday (and any time-off due) will have to be factored in.
6. Family First
If you do have the type of career or job that can’t be turned off and on even during the holidays, have segments of time that you spend working (say 45 min intervals), then stop working and spend time with your family. Balance and blend that work time with your special time.
7. Get Your Family Involved
Write a Wish List of things that you and your family want to do over the holiday, and as you complete them, check them off. That way, you are making sure that everyone is getting to do what they want to do, and you feel a sense of accomplishment.
8. Don’t Discuss Work
During get togethers, dinners, soirees, and such, don’t discuss work. If someone brings it up and asks you how work is, answer their question swiftly, and change the topic. That way, you truly feel some balance away from the job.
9. It’s Okay to Just Do Nothing
During the holiday, there are downtimes, and many people think that time has to be filled with work. But being idle and just “doing nothing” is good. Relax. Give your mind a break and enjoy being off. You don’t always have to be ON.
If you are leaving work for an extended period of time for the holiday, leave directions and check-lists for those taking over for you. And resist the urge to stop in, even if it’s just to see how things are going. Trust that you’ve left sufficient instructions in your absence. Do not fall into the “micro-manager” trap.
The holidays are a fun and amazing time of year, but they can also be stressful and hard to balance with your life, work, and career. The most important thing to remember is to not get too worked up over things beyond your control. But if you do have some say so, use these tips to help you with your Work Life Balance during the holidays.