The holiday season is the best time of the year and the worst time of the year. At the expense of an intense year-end rush at work to get last minute things together in preparation for the new year, you get to enjoy great food and spend time with family and friends. But sometimes, the rush gets too overwhelming and quality time seems out of reach.
This year, let’s try to do a few things differently to find that happy medium.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This applies to both home and work. Develop a system that works for you. If you’re the type of person that needs to plan things down to the minute, do it. If you need to set reminders on your phone, tablet, computer, or all of the above, do it. Try to plan out your day-to-day tasks, weekly tasks and monthly tasks. Leave some room for when other obligations spring up on you or when something doesn’t quite go according to plan, like when the kids come home from school with a cold or an important shipment is delayed due to poor weather conditions. This is something that many people experience; and at the worst times. Have contingency plans prepared and laid out so you don’t completely lose your mind if something goes wrong.
Stay on Track
Okay, so getting organized usually isn’t the problem. It’s the getting off track that gets us into trouble. Some say it isn’t the best idea to open emails in the morning because it will just delay the start of the work day. If you lack self-control, this may be the option for you. However, if you can open your emails and know that an email with the subject line, “SPECIAL OFFER FOR YOU” is something to stay away from, then continue with your morning routine.
When at work, be at work. Focus on work-related tasks, not surfing the internet for a gift for your nice neighbor down the street that you’ve maybe had one or two interactions with. When you’re home, be home. Put the computer away, shut the ringer off on your phone. Focus on your family and the things that will help get everyone into the holiday spirit.
Set “Off” Times
This might be difficult to do because it requires having some assertiveness with others. Whether dealing with employees or fellow basketball moms and dads, designate “on” and “off” hours. These are the times that you are available to take calls or help out. If you designate Tuesday nights from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to concession at your child’s game, then your employees need to respect that time. If you state that you’ll be at the office and unable to take unrelated calls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., people need to respect that. If you get a call during your “off” hours, let it roll over to voicemail. Stick to your own schedule. If you always answer during your “off” hours, people will take notice and they will always call. Now you’re on the 24/7 schedule.
Maintaining a balance between work and life during the holidays is important. Not only for your own sanity, but also for your loved ones. It’s almost like a Catch-22. You want to work hard to provide great times for your family, but you can’t enjoy quality time with your family if you’re working too hard. You plan for things to go one way and it might seem as if they rarely go the way we plan. But it could really be as simple as organizing a schedule that works, with alternative plans put in place; staying on track, even when temptations are alluring; and staying true to a set schedule of “on” and “off” times. Of course, something to remember about the holidays, from both a work and life perspective: the holiday season doesn’t last forever.