If you are a new business owner just starting out or a seasoned veteran with years of experience under your belt, the holidays are a busy time for everybody. Managing the stress of work at a time when you are supposed to be spending time with family and friends is tough. It suddenly seems like you have less time for everything. For many of us, business ramps up suddenly. The next thing you know, you have piles of work on your desk that never seem to go away.
To say the least, 2020 has not been kind to businesses. Owners and their employees are facing stress in ways we have not seen since the Great Recession. Making matters worse is the fact that the pandemic makes spending time with loved ones a real challenge. Whether you are unbelievably busy in the office, facing distractions working from home, or just plain fearful of the unknown, it is probably fair to say we can all use a little help staying on track, focused, organized and sane this holiday season!
For that reason, we have compiled a list of tips for you to do just that. It’s our hope these ideas will help you get what you need to get done, leaving ample time for the things in life that matter most: family, friends, health, and happiness. (And you may even get some holiday shopping done early!)
Without further ado, here is the list we prepared to help you out this holiday season. With any luck, you’ll be able to have your presents and unwrap them too!
How to Balance Work Life and Home Life
First on our list is to make a list of your own. Track your daily priorities and make sure you are accomplishing the most important things first. Keeping a list in this way helps you go into every day knowing what needs to get done. And, if you don’t get to something that day, then you can easily and immediately identify what you need to tackle the next day. Making sure you spend your time wisely is critical to being efficient. Making lists will also help you be sure you don’t miss or forget anything.
There are many different ways to create lists for staying organized at work, especially while you’re working from home. One way is called the “Kitchen To-Do List,” where your work tasks are broken up into four categories:
- The front burner, for things you’re working on right now that take the highest priority
- The back burner, for things that will be important later but not right this second
- The vitamins drawer, for things you need to “take” or do every day, like checking your email
- The oven, for scheduled items that happen regularly but not often. You check them when the timer goes off.
Other popular methods include Kanban boards (workflow systems with labelled columns that track an item’s progress) and the 1-3-5 rule (where you seek to accomplish one big task, three medium-sized tasks, and five small tasks).
Another strategy you can try is to let your schedule work for you. This idea is to help you use your time wisely. Instead of trying to run errands after work or on the weekends try to make time for it during the day if you can. An example would be if you go out for lunch on your work break and you are near a mall or store, set some of that time aside to grab a few gifts while you are out. This will help you manage your time better and leave your weekends free to spend with friends and family.
One of the best pieces of advice for this holiday season is this: do not overcommit. Overcommitment happens when you have too many obligations to the point where you can’t fulfill them all. This can apply to personal and work-related obligations. But don’t fill your schedule to the brim. Make sure there are holes in your schedule for you to take time for some self-care. And don’t forget to leave room for your family and friends. If you don’t leave these holes in your schedule, it can lead to burnout. Burnout is where you feel stressed to an unhealthy extent and completely unmotivated to get work done. That is why if you leave holes in your schedule to relax, your chances of burnout are reduced.
One last thing to do this holiday season is to trust others. It may be hard for you to delegate tasks to your employees because you may feel like if you don’t do it yourself then it won’t be done right. But, if you have a good team you can rely on, use them to your advantage. Yoram Solomon with Inc.com stresses the importance of autonomy and learning to trust your employees. It is also critical to give them freedom to do their work. Even though this method may not be for everyone, it can be a good thing to try. Knowing how to delegate tasks will also take some of the weight off your shoulders, giving you more time to focus on what is absolutely necessary to get done. Victoria Vessella with Repsly also discusses how micromanaging can be detrimental to all involved and may lead to burnout quicker. She also mentions that if employees need a manager’s approval for everything, they will be less creative, have weaker performances, and won’t be able to solve problems on their own.
Overall, it can be tricky to manage your time and workload while working from home during a pandemic, but with the pressures of the holiday season that can make it even harder. If you can manage your time and try not to overwork yourself then you will be in good shape going forward. And as always don’t forget about the people around you who are willing to help you out.