Work responsibilities aren’t the only thing you need to be focused on during this time of year. There are office parties, family get-togethers, and of course, giving gifts. So how do you stay on top of all these things without losing your sanity this holiday season? These five tips will help you get through December.
#1 Set Smarter Priorities
December can be especially stressful for busy professionals as they shift their focus to administrative tasks to close out the year. As great as it is to start completely fresh on January 1st, this can also lead to some undue stress as you try to add these additional administrative responsibilities on top of your regular demands.
If you’re experiencing a seasonal increase in sales, you already have a lot of other stuff taking up your work hours, and “year-end administration” will only add to the workload. This is especially true of the retail industry. Last year, the National Retail Federation reported that more people planned to shop the weekend before Christmas than went shopping over Thanksgiving weekend.
Because of this, learning to prioritize appropriately is essential for the month of December. Many of those administrative tasks can likely wait until January, after the holiday shopping frenzy has slowed down. Focus on what needs to be done now and let less important tasks wait until later so you can avoid overstuffing your schedule.
#2 Stick to the Routine
Whether you’ll be flying across the country to visit family or you’ll have amended holiday hours at the office, working in December requires a fair amount of flexibility. However, trying to stick to your regular routine can go a long way in helping you stay de-stressed during the buildup to Christmas.
Linda Walter of Psychology Today explains, “A change in routine can lead to additional stress. Try to exercise at your usual time, go to meetings that you normally go to, and stick to as normal a diet as you possibly can.”
By maintaining a sense of normalcy in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle, you will be better able to focus on the things that matter most and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
#3 Know When to Outsource
There are only 24 hours in a day. If you try to stretch yourself too thin by doing everything yourself, you’ll probably find yourself rushing from one appointment to another, making mistakes and becoming even more stressed.
So what can you do when you don’t have time for one of those oh-so-important holiday tasks? Outsource. Today, there are apps and services to help you automate everything. There are social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and even services like Occasion Station, which allows you to “set and forget” personalized gift-giving for your loved ones. You can streamline both your business and personal life when you take advantage of these resources.
As Felix Odigie, CEO and Founder of Occasion Station explains, “Outsourcing lets you turn over some of your responsibilities to a specialist. Someone who focuses on that thing you’re struggling with or that you don’t have time to do yourself. This lets you focus on the things that you’re good at and helps you successfully complete everything that needs to be done.”
#4 Customer Communications Matter
You’re not the only one who might be stressed out during the holiday season—there’s a good chance your customers are feeling pretty stressed, too. This makes customer communication a top priority. If you run a brick-and-mortar retail store, for example, amended holiday hours should be clearly posted online and in-store so customers know what to expect. E-commerce companies should give accurate shipping estimates to avoid angry emails about shipping delays.
Clear communication is important, even if you aren’t selling a retail product. If your office is going to be closed on certain days, you should inform clients in advance so they can schedule meetings and calls accordingly.
When you’re proactive in informing your customers of any holiday changes, you’ll be far less likely to be bombarded with problems and complaints that would add to your seasonal stress.
#5 Take a Break
As much as you might feel like you need to run around at a frantic pace to get everything done in time for Christmas, this is only going to cause you to get burned out. Research has found that taking breaks throughout the day reduces your emotional exhaustion and improves job satisfaction, two big factors that can help you stay sane during the holidays.
Even a short ten-minute walk away from your desk will help you mentally recharge and reduce some of the physical strain of sitting in the same position for hours on end. Don’t be afraid to schedule regular breaks so you can recharge and improve your mood and don’t be afraid of using that Christmas break to relax and have some fun.