How to Manage Your Work-life Balance During the Holidays

Whether your work-life balance is perfectly level and to your liking or a little out of whack most of the time, the holiday season throws normalcy for a loop and can completely upend your usual schedule. Depending what kind of company you work for, November and December can be busier than usual, right on track, or a little slower. Despite all of these changing factors, the following five tips can help you manage your work-life balance during the holidays so you don’t feel overstressed, overcommitted, or overwhelmed.

1. Verify All Expectations: With your boss, with your coworkers, with your family, with your friends, with everyone who expects something of you or from you during the holiday season—make sure you understand these expectations. The best way to manage your work-life balance during the holiday season is to have a picture of what everyone needs from you so you can plan, prioritize, and effectively allocate your time.

2. Away Messages Are Your Friend: When you’re out of the office, make it clear to all of your coworkers, clients, and anyone trying to reach you with away messages in your email, altered voicemails, and even auto reply texts if you need them. Everyone has different schedules during the holiday season, depending on what their plans are and which holidays they observe. Don’t assume anyone knows your exact schedule, make it crystal clear so nothing can fall through the cracks and leave you overwhelmed and frantic come January.

3. Gratitude and Goals: If you’re a person who is crazy busy with work and personal commitments during the holiday season, take a few moments each day to list three things you’re grateful for in each area. For example, maybe you’re grateful for an awesome boss who is like a mentor to you, flexibility in your schedule so you can make it to your kid’s holiday pageant, and the chance to work on a project that is both challenging and rewarding. If you’re not overwhelmed and overcommitted already, this is also a great time of year to get a head start on your goals for next year!

4. Prioritize Out of Work and At Work: If you’ve got wall to wall events and preparation for events during every free moment outside of the office, you’re bound to feel burnout. If you’ve got to do the work of three people who are out on your team at the same time while also finishing up your own projects, you’re bound to feel burnout. This time of year calls for ruthless prioritization, both in and outside of the office. Be realistic with yourself about what you can get done and be careful not to commit to too much, both outside of work and at work. It’s nice to pick up the slack for coworkers who are out but, if you don’t have the time to get your own work done too, don’t promise to do so. List everything you need to get done both in and out of work and order them from least to most important. Take as many things off of the bottom of your to do list as you can and place them on a separate list. Only get to the tasks on this list if the tasks and events on your initial list are all completed.

5. Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy Yourself: The holidays are as happy as you make them! If you don’t take time to take a deep breath and enjoy yourself the gift exchange with your coworkers, the holiday bonuses, the extra time with friends and family can feel like it’s buried under your ever-expanding pile of stress. Get as much rest as you can so you can go, go, go during the holiday season—both at work and in your personal life—and really enjoy it to its fullest.

Don’t let the holiday season throw off your work-life balance! These five tips will help you cope with whatever this holiday season throws your way so you can remain professional and productive while enjoying yourself too, of course.