While the weeks from November to January typically represent the happiest times of year, celebrating traditions and friends & family coming together, they are also some of the most stressful -- especially this year. Amongst all of the chaos of 2020, the majority of workers are still working remotely and many are expected to be at least through this year's holiday season.
While we’re sure nearly everyone has figured out how to navigate this balance during the “normal” months, it is a completely different when you start introducing family, friends, days off, wintry weather, and the inevitable coordination that comes with gatherings of any size; Think: “Hey Honey, can you go out and grab a gallon of milk?”.
With all of this in mind, the Desktop.com team thought it would be best to pull together some of our favorite tips to make sure your work-life balance isn’t compromised this different holiday season. We’re something of experts in this space, many, if not all of us here at Desktop.com have worked remotely for a number of years and been able to experiment with what works best, not only for one person, but our colleagues as well.
Now, let’s jump right into how to find your work-life balance during the holidays!
It’s a busy time of the year, everyone knows that, but you need to communicate when you will be and won’t be available. Our pro tip? Use your out-of-office notices effectively. Tell clients and coworkers when you will have limited hours but ease their concerns by dedicating some time to checking messages and will respond within one business day. The key: don’t over promise to respond as quickly as you typically would. You may get stuck in talking to Aunt Susan, traffic at the store, family photos, and the list goes on and on.
Do you have family visiting? Want to spend some time with the kids? Go for a morning jog? Not a problem - just schedule it in! Oftentimes it can feel almost impossible to turn off work mode. One way around that? Decide that you’ll work in limited increments and block it out. Now all you have to do is let friends and family members know ahead of time that you will need to step away and respond to emails, return calls, or jump on a Zoom meeting.
It’s important to set this expectation so family members have prior notice and can plan something else to do during that time. Because we all know, there’s nothing worse than bored company… or worse, company feeling that they are being ignored.
Did you tell your boss that you’re going to join the weekly department meeting? Stick to it. No matter what you committed to, stick to it.
But what about the family angle? Stick with your working plan. If you only blocked out an hour to respond to emails, then keep it to an hour -- no more, no less -- to make sure you are returning back to the festivities as promised.
Now, of course there are times when a real emergency comes up and you need to decommit - everyone understands that.
They key when working remotely? Prior notice. The more time you can provide to your boss, team, or client, the easier it will be on yourself and the other party to accommodate as needed.
Up to this point all of our advice has been for those of us staying at home for the holidays, but what if you’re traveling? Pay attention to time zones. If you are visiting out of town you might be changing time zones and either in the future or the past. Keep this in mind when you’re dedicating time to projects
The best part? Most, if not all of our online calendars and scheduling services pick-up on the new location of our devices and automatically update meetings or calls to the local time. Just make sure that all of your scheduled items are still at the appropriate time and move along.
We’re all human and it’s important for everyone to spend time with their family during the holidays. It’s not unreasonable to tell your employer or clients that you won’t be available during a holiday or more particularly certain times or days. What is important? Sticking to a schedule during the holiday season and working when you’ve dedicated yourself appropriately.
Now that you are armed with the essential information to protect your home-life from your work-life, how do you maximize the input while your time is dedicated to working from home? Here is a list of a few of our favorite holiday tips to stay focused while working from home.
Is dealing with your family stressful? Avoid it during the work day. Simple as that. Whenever we’re stressed, our productivity drops off of a cliff for a number of reasons. The best way to mitigate that productivity drop is to simply keep tabs on what triggers a stressful response and either don’t do it at all, or at least save it for when you’re not working.
Create a comprehensive to-do list for yourself, for both work and life, and divide it up into categories “have to do,” “want to do,” and “obligated to do.”
With your list in-hand, read it over! If you are able to eliminate any of your “obligated to do” list, the rest of your to-dos will start to look a lot easier and more manageable.
Now that your lists are organized, it’s time to start doing and crossing things off. Don’t forget to take breaks in between your have-to-do and want-to-do tasks to break things up and keep yourself energized.
Schedules were made to be broken… at least that’s what we think. If there’s a few items on your “have to do” list that can happen during non-traditional work hours then do them then. The key to staying productive and balancing your work-life is to find innovative ways to accommodate both sides.
The best way to stop a cold from starting is to stop it at the onset. Unless a task is an absolute mission critical necessity, cancel your plans, find a suitable replacement, put away your lists, and take a break.
Sleep is the only thing you need to do to help fight the sickness and stage a quick recovery. Feel bad about canceling on work, friends and family? You’re doing everyone a favor. No one likes dealing with a sick person and more importantly, especially this holiday season, no one wants to get sick.
Trust us… everyone will understand.
Focus on Yourself
Now that you have a healthy approach to balancing your work-life and home-life, it’s important to focus on your life. In the midst of all of the holiday season chaos, don’t forget to take some much deserved me-time. It doesn’t have to be much, but strive for at least one hour a day.
How you spend that hour is entirely up to you… read a book, visit the local coffee shop, take a longer walk with the dog, or any other hobby you have.
Our final tip? Take the time to exercise during the holiday season. We know it’s oftentimes cold and dreary but too many professionals end up neglecting their exercise routine during this time. Don't let that stop you. Adding this extra step will help increase your energy and help support your immune system in the long holiday season.
Holidays are great for socializing and getting some much needed downtime, but what if you need to do a little digital cleanup before the New Year? Desktop.com has you covered. Take a deep dive into any these topics and find some digital clarity before another hectic year:
Are You Wasting Money on Apps? Probably.
You need a strategy for how to manage your apps. With so many incredibly helpful apps and resources currently out there, make sure that you review your current setup so that you can reap all the benefits of those instead of unknowingly wasting money on unused ones or let digital clutter eat away at your productivity.
Decluttering your desktop is an arduous task… we know. That’s why we created Desktop.com.
Are you always losing track of links, open tabs, or the countless web apps you use? Clicking through each tab to find the information you know you have, but can’t locate? Frustrated by your disorganization and it’s affecting productivity?
Take the first step to decluttering your digital life by tackling your open tabs and bookmarks! With Desktop.com all of your Apps and Links are always just one click away, neatly organized and available on any of your devices.
Get started with our officially, unofficial guide on How to Add a Website to Your Desktop.