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How to Reduce Holiday Stress

Master these easy tips to maintain work-life balance during the holidays.

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The holiday season is marked with extra gatherings with loved ones and with overall holiday preparation. Work-life balance can be quite difficult to attain during the holiday season, and it is not uncommon for professionals to feel overwhelmed and torn between multiple obligations.

Follow these simple tips to regain your sanity and to maximize each moment fully.

Use a calendar to block out obligations.

Effective scheduling and time management skills are essential in the workplace. Normally, it may work for you to keep track of obligations in your head. During the holiday season, however, we have many more personal and professional outings and appointments.

Use a planner (either paper or electronic) to schedule your time while at work. Of course, we need to account for last-minute requests from the boss or customer. Still, a standard schedule clearly lets us know when we should work, and when we may play.

Consider “chunking” your meetings into part of your day and reserving the other part of your day for creative work, production, or holiday festivities. Block off specific time for holiday parties and family obligations.

Tip: Do not schedule any meetings an hour before such events to ensure that you arrive on-time. If your employer permits, take advantage of an afternoon off to complete extra errands. Or, consider blocking one full half-day to take care of personal items each week. (If needed, offer to stay later at work on the other days to make up for it.)

When we schedule a time for personal items, we are more likely to treat those blocks of time as true appointments. Just like you wouldn’t cancel a meeting with a client, you shouldn’t cancel this personal appointment.

Let others know your schedule, too.

If you are connected through the intranet or through a scheduling system, clearly share when you are free, and when you are scheduled to work on a deliverable.

Remember: When we focus our energy specifically on one task, instead of trying to do multiple tasks at once, we are able to accomplish more in a shorter period. Work quality improves, as does our work attitude.

Efficiently managing your time may even help you to leave work earlier, giving you more time and energy to do those things that truly bring you joy and happiness, especially during this holiday season. Plus, when we make time for ourselves (and when our bosses encourage it), we are happier and more productive while behind our desks, too.

Copyright© 2019 Amy Cooper Hakim

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