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Work-Life Balance: Keeping It Together During The Holidays, Part 3
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Work-Life Balance: Keeping It Together During The Holidays, Part 3 - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Keeping It Together During The Holidays, Part 3

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Keeping It Together During The Holidays, Part 3

You might think that two articles with advice on maintaining balance during the holidays would make us experts with everything totally under control, mulled cider in one hand and color-coded appointment book in the other. It’s true that following our own advice has certainly made aspects of work-life balance easier at this time of year, like all good strategies, ours could stand a bit of tweaking. It’s also worth pointing out that some of suggestions work good on paper but nothing works for everyone, and not everything on our lists is exactly right for us.

Toward even better balance, we scoured the web and grilled our most got-it-all-together friends and co-workers for a few more pointers, the most intriguing of which we share here.

To review, two years ago we submitted this wisdom, gathered from friends and associates:

  • Routine is for January.
  • Learn to execute the well-chosen no.
  • Keep your body in tune.
  • Remember Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree.

Last year, we added:

  • Minimize sources of stress
  • Consider unplugging
  • Don’t cram the planner
  • Work out even more

If you’ve put into practice (or at least consideration) some of the things on this list but still need more, consider this wisdom from the crowd.

Set early deadlines at home and work
Christmas Eve this year is on a Monday, and few things throw the spirit of the season off more than hurrying through to-do lists on a day where most business shuts down after lunch. At the office and in your personal life, do your best to get the must-complete items scratched off the list by Friday night, or choose some other, early date that works for you. If you have a few loose ends to tie up on Saturday and Sunday, sure, that’s no sweat, but try your hardest to make Monday the real beginning of the holiday. You’ll find yourself less distracted and more celebratory throughout the weekend if you can get the big stuff done before turning in Friday evening. Many people take a few vacation days before or after the holiday; why not take one earlier and just get those to-dos into the done column?

Stop talking about work
Many of us process our work stress by talking about it with forbearing loved ones. They know all about the big presentation in January, the added workload left by vacationing colleagues, and the grouchy vendor who can’t make any promises. The problem is that sometimes talking about it doesn’t help us forget about it, and by keeping it front-of-mind, we really just keep the stress alive. Forcing yourself not to talk about it forces you to talk about something else, which may be the blessed distraction you need. If you and your partner make it a mutual agreement, you may find that office stress isn’t nearly as stressful, and there are much nicer things to talk about over glasses of spiked eggnog.

Work from home
Yes, of course when you work from home, you should actually work. Still, you can get a lot done in the in-between times while you’re putting out all that productivity from your home office. Brownies can be taken out of the oven and left to cool. A few gifts can be wrapped during a coffee break. And let’s not leave out the all-healing power nap, which does wonderful things for stress levels and feelings of balance. Some of that holiday house-cleaning you keep not having time for can be taken care of during what would normally be your commute. If you can swing a few days at home in the lead-up to the holiday, by all means take advantage and use your time wisely so you can do double duty.

Aside from the stress-inducing household management, a day of working at home can also just give you a lot of that alone time seemingly in very short supply during the holidays. A quiet lunch with the Hallmark Channel, a quick stroll around the block, or a second power nap (we’re not kidding!) can go a long way in improving your mood and attitude at this time of year. Take half the day to work at a cafe and really get some time to yourself away from the noise of both office and household.

If working from home doesn’t work for you, and if it’s in your power, send everyone home early once or twice and enjoy working in the office by yourself. You’ll feel good about giving your people some time for their own balance, too.

Put it off until the week after
The week between Christmas and the New Year has its own kind of stress and bustle, but if you’re like us, you’re still feeling the spirit of Christmas well into the New Year. If you can put a few things off until that week, a week when office productivity often slows down anyway, just do it, even if it’s to pass out your annual Christmas goodies to all the support staff. Christmas bonuses can’t wait until next week, but Christmas brownies certainly can.

If there are family obligations, see if you can arrange ahead of time to make those visits the week after the holiday, if doing so would lighten your stress.

Balance: ever in progress
It should be clear from the fact that every year, we find new ways to think about work-life balance during the holidays: we are all works in progress, and true balance is always dynamic. Something works one year; maybe it doesn’t work the next. As we seek to make the most of this special time of year with our loved ones, be bold in trying new things, and cut yourself some slack if they don’t all work out. It’s the season of goodwill, and you’re as deserving of it as everyone around you!

Reference links:
Our own articles on keeping it together during the holidays, parts 1 and 2!


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Work-Life Balance: Keeping It Together During The Holidays, Part 3 - Executive Leadership Articles

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