"It's easy to fall in the trap of feeling like you must put your head down and plow through the first day back non-stop until everything is done. But tackling your first day with that approach will not only potentially cause you great stress; it will increase that chances that you'll make mistakes and likely result in you being less, rather than more, productive." – Michael Kerr, Business Insider
The holidays don’t have to be synonymous with chaos. If you can feel the holiday noose beginning to tighten, it’s not too late to pull yourself out of the hectic and actually enjoy the month of December. Read on for what to do before, during, and after the festivities so you can embrace 2019 with open arms.
Get your six geese a-laying in a row.
Ask for your time off in advance. If you haven’t asked yet, do it now. You want your employer to have plenty of prior notice, especially if your job is one which requires coverage.
Take a few days off to decompress. Working through the holiday may get you ahead in the short term, but vacation days will help you in the long run. Clinical Psychologist Deborah Mulher tells USNews, “Without time and opportunity to [relax], the neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes.”
Set your OOO email before you take off. We recommend one of these.
Prioritize your days in advance. Scheduling your time is so vital for ultimate productivity every day, but especially during the holiday season when things can get a bit more hectic.
Set boundaries. If you work remotely, let your team know what hours you’ll be working and that they are to only contact you during those hours. Choose a coworker that your team can report to if they’re stuck and need immediate assistance while you’re away.
Attend your office holiday party. We’ve got your ten hacks for survival here.
Have yourself a merry little vaca’.
Unplug. If you’ve set your out of office email, you are out of office. Those that are contacting you are likely out of the office after they’ve sent you that last email. If they need you, they’ll call. Unplug from email checking, LinkedIn messaging, and prospect hunting, and be present.
Don’t feel the pressure to give. Getting a few small gifts for a select few colleagues is great but do so without expectation. You could also opt to make a dish for the entire office to share or if you craft, bring in something homemade, so no one feels left out. Forbes contributor Lisa Quast writes, “Even if bosses give gifts to employees, employees should never be expected to give gifts upward.”
If you have to work during your holiday, that’s okay! Make sure you carve out the time to spend with family and friends. If you have to work remotely, set clear expectations with others of when you will be working and stick to those times. Be sure to communicate with all parties, so there’s no frustration on either end.
Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy yourself.
New year. New you?
Back to the office doesn’t have to mean slow and dragging. Make a plan for when you get back to the office the day before. Schedule out your workweek in advance. Get to bed early so you can wake up with a fresh start. Begin with some morning meditation and spend at least five minutes jotting down all of your stressors first thing so you can start your day with a clear mind.
Spending hours in your inbox isn’t useful. Your inbox can consume your entire day. Try not to get sucked in. Michael Kerr, author of "The Humor Advantage," tells Business Insider, “Don't confuse email activity with productive work, so be strategic and only respond to emails that are time sensitive."
Try to keep your first day back to the office as free as possible. Schedule your meetings and appointments for later in the week. Allow yourself a full day to play catch up.
Reconnect with your colleagues. Let your supervisor know what you’re working on, and catch your team up. Communication is key in forging a plan of action for the new year. You want everyone to put energy into the same goals in order to be most productive.
Take a breath. If you find that you’re extremely overwhelmed, it can be beneficial to just breathe in, breathe out, and take a minute for yourself to reset.