How to Balance Your Work and Social Life during the Holidays

Thanksgiving is over but we have another set of social gatherings to attend. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or just join in for the parties, there’s no denying that all the shopping and events you’re invited to can derail your schedule.

This month is one of the most overwhelming times of the year, when people are expected to juggle between their friends, family, and work. How you can maintain your work-life balance, so you don’t feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you’re supposed to be having fun with your loved ones?

Allow Yourself to Say No 3 Times

You don’t have to agree to every party, gathering, or exchange gift you’re invited to this month. Your time and money are limited, so you should only allocate it for the events you want to attend.

If saying “no,” is hard for you, pretend that you have three paper slips with the words “No” in your wallet. Each time you’re invited to a party or volunteer event, think hard about whether you really want to (or are required to) go. You’re allowed to decline three (or more) of these events.

Your friends, colleagues, neighbors, PTA association, and everyone else will understand why you can’t make it. Use the time you have freed up to relax, or finish your work early so you can start your holiday vacation ahead of schedule.

Set a Budget

December is an expensive time of the year, with many people spending a total of $800 or more on gifts. Consider what you can realistically allocate on your budget for gifts and food.

Look for ways to save by hosting a potluck instead of eating out, or organizing a secret Santa instead of gifting each member of the family. If you still send cards to everyone in your mailing list, consider sending an e-card instead or remove people you barely talk to instead. Stick to your budget and don’t let anyone, including your friends and kids, pressure you into spending more.

Get Ahead of Your Holiday Tasks

Free up your time during the holidays by doing some of your shopping and prep work early. Below are some ideas:

  • Shop for holiday cards in October
  • Do your Christmas shopping ahead of time, whenever there’s a good sale
  • Prepare some of the items in your holiday menu well in advance
  • Buy prepared and cooked food instead of making everything in advance
  • Assign food items to the whole family so you’re not doing all the cooking yourself

Doing some of these tasks ahead of time saves you from last minute errands. It also frees up your time so you can spend the day having fun with your family instead of slaving away in the kitchen.

Allot Contingency Times for Work

You might already be on holiday leave but what happens when an emergency at work demands your attention? This is one of the reasons why you need to schedule contingency time during your holidays to deal with unexpected problems at work.

Having an allotted contingency time, even if it’s just three hours for a one-week period, gives you the freedom to move around some tasks, so you can deal with your boss’s request and still have time to attend your friend’s party.

The Holidays Don’t have to be Stressful

I know some people hate the holidays because of the traffic and all the shopping they have to do. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can still have a productive day at work while attending the events that matter to you. Try the steps above and see what happens.