'Tis the season to scurry to and fro! Your to-do list includes all the usual stuff. Now, however, you’ve added decorating, baking, gift buying, school parties, work parties, and an assortment of social gatherings. It’s hard enough to balance work and life sometimes; but balancing work, life, AND holidays can be especially overwhelming. Take a deep breath and enjoy the pine-scented, sugar-plum-laced air. These five tips will help you sail through your work, life, and holiday commitments in peaceful harmony.
Prioritize and Delegate
Listen, because this is really important. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t. There are other folks who can help you shoulder some of this load. Take a look at your to-do list and figure out what you absolutely must do yourself and what can be handed off to someone else to tackle. For example, you may want to take care of baking holiday goodies on your own to ensure that your food allergic family members and friends can safely eat the treats, or maybe you just really love baking. It relaxes you and makes you happy. If either of those sound like you, slip them onto your “my list” of tasks.
If vacuuming and dusting are tasks you do out of pure necessity when someone else is coming over but you’d happily ignore the tasks if you could, consider hiring someone to come in and clean things up for you ahead of your holiday hosting. At the office, maybe you need to tend to the annual report and planning for the coming year, but editing the website and running your social media feed are tasks someone else can take on for you. Identify those projects and enlist help.
Prioritize and Say No
Again, you don’t have to do it all. That cookie exchange your friend from the old neighborhood invited you to? Go ahead and say no if you don’t want to attend. Notice I didn’t say “If you can’t attend.” Yes, if there’s a conflict on your calendar and you need to give your time and attention to something else, you’ll say no; but it’s also okay to say no simply because you don’t want to attend. Give yourself the space to focus your energy and time on the things you want. Those hours spent baking for and attending that exchange could be used looking at holiday lights with your family or buying holiday gifts or simply putting up your feet and catching your breath. Likewise, if you are jammed at work and can’t make that social mixer your business association is throwing, it’s okay to pass this time around.
Use your days off
You know those vacation and personal days you’ve been holding onto - those days that may not roll over into the new year? It’s time to use them. Take a day off of work to attend your children’s school program, and while you’re at it, use the time you’re not at their school for a little self-care. Take a day off to pamper yourself or to meet up with relatives for lunch. You’re jamming in extra holiday stuff to an already full schedule. Use your time-off allocations and create space for some of the important things.
Embrace the “short-cuts”
There’s nothing wrong with donning your slippers and sitting on the couch with a class of hot cocoa and a laptop to do a little online holiday shopping. This lets you shop when you want and without the hustle and bustle of doing it with crowds of other folks. Extra perk: Online purchases can be shipped direct to friends and family who live out of the area, saving you a trip to the post office. Pick up ready-made trays of appetizers and desserts for your next holiday gathering. Yes, it’s a great time to send your partners and clients thank you notes or small messages, but they don’t have to be all handwritten notes. Identify those to whom you can email a heart-felt missive. It’ll save you time while still expressing your gratitude.
Be Gracious with Time
You’re not the only one scurrying around in December. Your team is also juggling the extra holiday-related tasks, too. Be aware of how you’re using your time in the office. Keep meetings focused and brief. That year-end departmental review can easily get off track and last longer than it needs to last. Encourage your team to use flex time and work-at-home hours to their advantage, and do the same for yourself!