Balancing Work Around the Holidays

Holiday festivals! Gift giving! Cookies, pies, cakes! Christmas feasts! Decorations! Christmas trees!

Do these words inspire holiday cheer or Ebenezer’s ‘bah humbug’? As festive and cheery as the holidays are, the most wonderful time of the year is not so wonderful for many people. Work stress can pile on top of family obligations, financial strains and time constraints that may have been mounting for months. If you’re dreading the holidays, take an hour in your day - right now - to make a plan for the rest of this year. The goal is to balance your work responsibilities and holiday happenings so that you don’t usher in the new year frazzled and exhausted. Here are some tips and ideas to think through as you make your plan:

  • Decide what your best case scenario work schedule is around the holidays and brainstorm ways to make it possible. That may be leaving the office at 4:30pm every day instead of working late. Or, maybe you are OK with putting in extra hours each day if that means you can take off a few extra days after Christmas. Whatever it is, jot down a plan, discuss it with your team and communicate it to those that would be affected.

  • Is travel an absolute necessity, either professionally or personally? Are there alternatives to travel that would make your life less stressful right now? For example, if you have family out to town but know your have deadlines at work, maybe it makes more sense to travel early in the new year to visit instead. Or perhaps a work trip can be eliminated with some virtual meetings and creative team collaboration. Limiting the amount travel during this time of year is sure to lessen the stress level (and will save you or your company money).

  • Use the word “NO.” Can you take on that extra project? ‘Not this time.’ Can you add that extra holiday party to your calendar? ‘No, I already have a full schedule.’ Can you organize this year’s office Christmas party? ‘Not this year.’ Soften your ‘no’ to be polite and gracious for the opportunities, but understand that you aren’t a bad guy for turning them down. Less “stuff” on the calendar and on your list means more time to relax and enjoy the season.

  • Assign priorities to your responsibilities and stick with them. Tackle the big things and let the smaller things go if you can. Some things may be able to wait until after the holidays if you are honest with yourself.

  • Don’t sacrifice fitness, healthy eating or sleep in order to be a superhero. Yes, you can eliminate or reduce these things to make room for your to do list, but it won’t make you happy. It will make you feel sluggish, tired, and both physically and emotionally drained. Take care of yourself!

What would you add to the list for balancing work around the holidays? We’d love to hear from you! Comment on the blog or shoot us an email at 

Posted on December 12, 2016 .