5 Tips for Finding Work-Life Harmony at the Holidays
If you’re a busy professional, you know all too well how quickly the month of December becomes a balancing act of work and home responsibilities — even more so than usual! It seems like there’s exponentially more to do before the end of the year and for many companies, less manpower to get it all done. As a life coach, I’ve worked with dozens of clients to help them find work-life balance during the busy holiday season. Here are a few pieces of advice I always offer them.
Separate your work and home lives
It’s important to focus on the task at hand during this time: when you’re with your family, really be with your family. Don’t bring work home with you, and similarly avoid bringing your personal life into the office as much as possible. If you’re caught up thinking about the office while you’re having dinner with your friends or family, there’s not much point in you being there at all — don’t let your mind run away with worries in your off-time. Commit to turning off your work phone as soon as you leave for the evening, and don’t give in to the compulsion to check your email once you’re home. You’re allowed to relax, so let yourself.
Make time for activities you enjoy
Ever notice how much better you feel after going for a jog, reading a few chapters of your favorite book, or practicing a musical instrument? You need to have activities in your schedule that you look forward to, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day. If you live in a mild climate, take a short break to go outside for some fresh air. Play a game of solitaire or sudoku. You might even want to have a pet project — you could start a blog or make your own website, for example — that you’ll feel fulfilled working on, but is low-pressure enough that it won’t add to your stress.
Designate a second-in-command
Many of my clients fear that if they leave the office, turn their phones off, and don’t answer any work-related emails, the world may actually come to a halt. I assure you, this isn’t true! To ease your mind more effectively, however, you should appoint someone to oversee projects in your absence. Choose someone who is capable at their current job and shows promise to move up in the company. Set clear expectations: what questions they might encounter, how they should handle conflict resolution, and under which emergency circumstances they should reach out to you. And here’s the tricky part: trust them to handle everything. Don’t call them every hour to check in or reach out to another co-worker to see how it’s going. Remember: when you’re not at work, it should be out of your head.
Delegate menial tasks
We all have those minor responsibilities that we prefer to do ourselves for one reason or another. It could be anything from creating the schedule to distributing paychecks. Delegate these kinds of tasks every chance you get. With so much going on, it’s better to save your brainpower for bigger, more important projects. You can always pick those responsibilities back up after the holidays, but you also might discover you no longer need to be in charge of them.
You might also consider what tasks you could use help with at home. From gift-buying to card sending, the holidays add responsibilities to your to do list so you may find that you don’t have time to run home and take your pup for a walk on your lunch break, for example, or you may not have time to clean your home yourself before your Christmas gathering. Today, it is easier than ever to enlist the help of a dog walker, housecleaner, or other task helpers so that you can tackle more on your to do list.
End your day with a plan for the next
Give yourself a few minutes at the end of each work day to evaluate where you’re at with your workload and what you’ll need to prioritize the next day. You might want to jot down a list, make notes in your calendar, or leave yourself a reminder on your laptop. It’ll be much easier to go home and relax if you’ve already given yourself a strong start for the morning — just don’t let your to-do list linger on your mind!
Busy season at work doesn’t have to deprive you of all your personal time, but it will take some strategizing. Implement these suggestions into your routine and find the balance to tackle it all — work, family, the holidays, and whatever else comes your way!
Written By Julie Morris (www.juliemorris.org )