How to Plan Your 2014 Holiday Work Schedule
The holiday season is a time for friends, family and festivities. That doesn’t mean, however, that your workload will disappear or even decrease.
Consequently, managing inside and outside-of-work responsibilities can become particularly tricky, but not impossible. In order to balance your social calendar and job duties most effectively (and without driving yourself nuts) consider managing your holiday work schedule this year by doing the following:
Work Ahead, Within Reason
When you see your holiday vacation days approaching on the calendar, begin working ahead. Start taking bites out of projects weeks in advance to keep yourself from resorting to all-nighters in the week before the holidays.
Be careful not to do things too far in advance, however, as requirements for projects could change closer to the deadlines. It may also be helpful to make a work calendar, specifying when you will tackle certain projects in the weeks leading up to any vacation days you have pending.
If you find yourself unable to work in advance, try these 50 tricks to get things done faster, better and more easily in the weeks before your break.
Find a Personal Replacement
Don’t let your absence hold up major projects at work. Instead, choose someone to fill in for you – as much as possible – while you’re on vacation. Get this person up-to-speed before you leave, focusing on the areas that are most question-worthy.
If, for example, fellow workers are approaching you regularly with inquiries about a particular assignment or aspect of an assignment, provide enough information so that your fill-in can answer questions about it.
Make the office aware of your replacement in advance and allow only that person to text or call you over your vacation, so you can be sure that any urgent issues are being taken care of right away.
Balance Tasks Realistically
You may need to do some work during your vacation. It’s an unfortunate reality for some workingwomen, but it beats coming back to your projects in chaos.
Don’t let your work overtake your social life, though. Make realistic goals regarding your during-vacation work accomplishments. You’re not going to be able to work everyday, and you shouldn’t aim to work in every available free hour.
Vacations – and holiday vacations in particular –should be spent enjoying time with your company, so factor work in realistically.
Find Your Quiet Place
When you do need to tackle work duties from home, make sure you’re doing so in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
The presence of family and friends will only impede your focus, prohibiting you from both completing your work and enjoying your company.
In order to produce your best work most efficiently, excuse yourself to “your quiet place” – whether it’s a secluded room in your home or a café down the street.
Don’t Take on More than Necessary
The season is already busy enough with parties, get togethers and family meals – don’t offer to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to work. It’s important to be comfortable telling your boss that you can’t take on extra projects right now, although this can be somewhat difficult for many of us to do.
Instead, offer to tackle any potential new projects upon your return. Only you know your limits; taking on more than that amount will result in inadequate work and lack of enjoyment during the season.
By preparing in advance, maintaining a realistic vision and being as efficient as possible, enjoying your holiday vacation will be easy. You won’t have to spend your days away from the office working excessively or dreading your workload upon your return.
With these planning tips and your own personal creativity, you can have one of your most enjoyable holiday vacations yet.
In what ways do you remain productive over the holidays? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!
Images by Viktor Hanacek and Luke Chesser