By Sarah Good
The holidays bring with them festive spirits, tasty treats and — for administrative professionals and office managers everywhere — added stress. In addition to your usual workload and personal responsibilities, your plate will be full to overflowing with tasks like decking the office halls, organizing an ugly sweater contest and planning a killer holiday party.
But there are ways to incorporate work-life balance so you're not snowed under. As the season inches closer, we've rounded up some tips to help make sure you have time for your own stocking stuffing and cocoa sipping even as you manage the merry at work.
1. Prioritize You
Before you start doing anything for work, think ahead to your own holiday season and make a list of what's most important to you. The annual lunch with your friends? Cookie decorating with the kids? Plenty of time for shopping? To ensure you have time for it all, put in early for a the personal days or schedule a work-from-home day so you can get more done, while also giving your manager and colleagues enough notice so everything still gets done in the office.
2. Start Now
Sure, you have months to go, but every item you finish now is one more thing that you don't have to leave work early to attend to later. Stock up on greeting cards and gift cards for employee and customer thank-you's, order decorations online and call some restaurants or caterers to get quotes for the holiday luncheon. Spend just 15 minutes a day on these kinds of tasks and you'll be halfway done before Halloween.
3. Make a List (or Five) and Check It Twice
The key to finding time for yourself is working efficiently. And the key to working efficiently is organized, detailed lists. Ditch the pen and paper and use a task management app like LiquidPlanner, or even just a shared spreadsheet to track items that need to be completed, deadlines and who has been assigned to each duty. Keep it clean by creating a list for each holiday project you manage: party planning, charity drives, customer appreciation and anything else your bosses throw at you.
4. Share the Load
You can't do it all. OK, with your multitasking mastery you probably can, but get your work done faster (and get home to bake some cookies) by delegating responsibilities. Recruit the customer service associate with the flair for accessories to hang the decorations and scout out volunteers who will stuff and stamp greeting card envelopes in exchange for eggnog and the good will of their employer.
5. Clock out Like You Mean It
During the holiday season when stress can be higher than normal, leaving the office behind is even more important. When you're trying to spend time with family and enjoy the festivities that come with this time of year, leave your work behind. No quick email checks on your phone; no staying just an extra hour to finish a few things; and no tweaking budgets from your laptop after dinner. If you have trouble disconnecting, the Harvard Business Review suggests planning specific non-work activities to distract yourself and banishing your devices to avoid temptation. This is the time for the life part of work-life balance, so embrace it.
Remember: You'll be better at your job if you're happier and more relaxed. So take some easy steps to make sure you keep yourself jolly — on the job and off.