How to Balance Work and Your Personal Life During the Holidays
It can be easy to get distracted at work during the closing months of the year. The holiday season makes everyone’s personal lives busier, and that means our minds might wander at work as we worry about getting things done at home, running an errand on our lunch break, or cooking a big meal for the extended family. The good news is that there are proven ways you can successfully balance your work and personal life during the holidays.
Make a Plan and Calendar
At work most of us have to follow a very specific plan each day, while in our personal lives we just play it by ear. But when the holidays come around and life gets busy, we end up struggling to find the time to buy gifts for loved ones, cook holiday meals, decorate the house, attend parties, or volunteer for local charities and schools. It’s helpful to make a plan and keep a calendar of when you want to get things done in your personal life during the holiday season. Otherwise, you may find yourself worrying about your personal life while at work, which makes most of us less productive.
Prep Meals in Advance
The holidays can be a delicious time filled with lots of great food, and for many people it’s fun to cook for their friends and family. However, cooking can become stressful when you have to rush home from work and spend hours making a meal. The secret to cooking during the holidays is to prepare as much as you can in advance. Study the first few steps of a recipe, and do all the chopping, seasoning, and marinating over a few nights leading up to the day you want to serve the meal. This way, when the big night comes it will be much easier to cook and serve dinner on time (and with less stress throughout the week).
Don’t Stress Over Gifts
Many of us get caught up in buying the “perfect” presents for our loved ones to the point it becomes more stressful than fun. It’s important to put gift giving in perspective, and remember that the holidays aren’t just about material items. That doesn’t mean we should forget about giving gifts altogether, we just need to manage it better. For some people, it’s best to take one whole weekend and get all the shopping out of the way. For others, it might be better to go shopping in short spurts one or two nights a week for several weeks before Christmas. Either way, having a gift-buying strategy will keep you from worrying about what to buy and losing concentration while you’re at work.
Stay on Top of Your Game…
During this time of year there might be decorations up at work, holiday music playing, and coworkers hanging around extra food in the break room, but all this activity can make it tempting to slack off a little. Unless you’re on a formal break, make an effort not to wander away from your workstation. Too often, “grabbing a quick snack” turns into a fifteen-minute conversation about a coworker’s children’s Christmas pageant, and that won’t look good to your supervisor. Even though some businesses that aren’t related to consumer goods slow down around the holidays, work is still expected to get done.
…While Embracing Work Fun
There’s no question that your career should be a priority, but the holidays are a fun time, and you deserve to enjoy any special work activities that only happen once a year. The key to balancing work fun with normal responsibilities is to check with your supervisor if you’re ever unsure about what you should be doing. Taking an impromptu ten-minute break to eat a slice of pecan pie, sign up for a secret Santa gift exchange, and read a flyer about your company’s upcoming holiday party is much more enjoyable when you have permission and don’t have to worry about getting in trouble.
What holiday traditions do you have at work? Let us know in the comments below, and contact a Personnel Services office near you when you’re ready to land your next great job!