5 Ways to Survive the Holidays: Finding Your Work-Life Balance
Tis’ the season to be productive, social, responsible, and don’t forget – jolly! The holiday season brings with it a unique set of challenges and pressures to handle in addition to your day-to-day responsibilities. Juggling end of the year deadlines, wrapping up projects (and presents!), spending time with family and loved ones, attending parties and concerts, shopping for that perfect gift, baking your world-famous cookies, and still finding time for yourself can be a challenge. With so much to do and limited time to do it, many professionals struggle to maintain their work tasks and personal lives, with the additional added pressure of the holiday season.
From Halloween until New Years, you want to do it all, going above and beyond at work and for family and friends, even if it means risking your own personal well-being. Don’t let the holidays get the best of you this year, start preparing early for a productive holiday season with the following tips:
Plan Ahead – Make your plan and stick to it!
It’s never too early to start planning! Start by making a list of all your work and personal responsibilities. Sit down ahead of time and review all up-coming work projects and deadlines and mark them on your calendar. It may help to spend some time discussing work expectations for the upcoming months with your manager to make sure you are aware of everything that needs to be done and assess how to balance your time.
On the same calendar, mark down any up-coming events, parties, concerts or family gatherings you have. Then start to list out and prioritize any additional personal tasks you want to do during this time, tasks could include; shopping for gifts, baking cookies, decorating the house, cleaning, organizing, and making that final donation of goods for the year.
After reviewing all upcoming events and tasks, you will then have a better idea of what will need to come first, and what can wait a few weeks in order to get everything accomplished on time. It may help to color code your calendar either by level of priority or by task (work, social, personal). Make sure you review each week to track progress, prioritize your responsibilities and set goals for yourself to help ensure you get the most out of the time you have.
2. Flexible Work Schedules and Working from Home
As millennials, we are all familiar with the increasing flexibility of working remotely. Although nothing beats human interaction, with busy schedules and unexpected weather conditions, some days it may be easier to work from home. By cutting out the time it takes to commute, you will be able to jump into work tasks faster, and at the end of the work day you will be ready to tackle other personal responsibilities immediately, all while saving a little extra money in gas!
Talk to your manager about your current schedules and the possibility of working from home, even if it is just one day a week. Make sure you are aware of the expectations that come with working remotely prior to leaving the office and establish clear lines of communication between you and your supervisor, either through Skype, email, and/or by phone to guarantee you can still be reached throughout the work day.
3. Don’t Just Budget your Time
Although time is of the essence, it should not be the only thing you plan for this holiday season. One of the major stressors of the holiday season is money. Prior to any holiday shopping, personal or professional, first review your current finances.
Make sure to set aside a budget for your current monthly finances including rent/mortgage, food, gas, and other bills. From there you can evaluate how much you would like to budget towards holiday expenses including gifts, baked goods, decorations, and social events. Just make sure you factor in how much you would like to maintain in your savings as well, providing yourself with a buffer for the post-holiday months.
4. Schedule Time for Yourself
We all want to enjoy the parties, concerts, and other festivities and still maintain our regular responsibilities without getting burnt out – right? The secret to a healthy work-life balance, is making sure to schedule time for yourself. It is easy to get swept up in the holidays and forget about “me” time, which can ultimately lead to unhealthy behaviors and added stress.
Make sure to take some extra time for yourself this year. Focus on maintaining a regular exercising routine, healthy eating habits, getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and even unplugging from electronics to truly reinvigorate yourself in a time of increased stress.
Although self-reflection should be something you do on a regular basis, it is especially important during busier times of the year. It does not have to be a time-consuming task and can really give you an idea of how to best maximize your time moving forward.
At the end of each week, take some time to reflect on how things went, did you meet your goals? Are you on track with projects, financial budgets, and holiday activities? What worked and what could have gone better? Use this insight to revise future responsibilities and expectations to ensure you achieve all that you desire this holiday season.