Prevent Holiday Burnout

Dear Levy,

Getting ready for the holidays is a stressful time of year for me. Trying to manage my employees, get my job tasks done, and getting my family prepared for the upcoming holiday celebrations requires so much energy. How can I set an example and be as engaged as I expect my employees to be if I feel so burnt out myself?

--Engagement Burnout

Dear Engagement Burnout,

The holiday season is here, and you may be finding it difficult to stay motivated and focused at work. You’re not alone. Each year, one in three Americans suffer holiday burnout in November and December. Fatigue, stress, and holiday distractions can affect your productivity at work. It can even damage the quality of your work. Here are some ways I balance the holiday hustle and bustle and the work needing done at the office. It might help you and your employees stay focused during this busy time of year.




Prioritize Your Things to Do

According to a study by the New York Post, the average American spends 38 hours getting ready for the holidays. That’s not counting the over 9 hours spent in the kitchen preparing holiday meals. Depending on the work you need to do at the office and the type of hours you are expected to work during the holidays, your time is stretched to the max.

Creating a list of priorities and only focusing on the ones that must get done can help you to feel less stressed and more on top of your responsibilities. Stop thinking about the things you need to do in the coming year and put your attention on only the things you need to accomplish right now. By making a list and checking it twice (you see what I did there?), you can accomplish all the things that need to be done while still taking time to enjoy the holiday season with your employees and your family.


Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

If your workload is feeling too heavy, ask your coworkers for help. Learning how and when to delegate tasks to work colleagues is one of the most valuable leadership skills you can have. You don’t have to do everything yourself to be a productive employee. The same applies to the tasks you usually do to prepare for the holidays at home. Being able to ask for help and trusting others to assist you can not only reduce the amount of stress you are taking on but can also be empowering for coworkers who want to play a more prominent role in the company. Giving them a few more responsibilities when you are especially busy can ensure your employees that you trust them and have faith in their capabilities.




Avoid Vacation Brain

It can be tempting to stare off into nothing while daydreaming about holiday fun and time off from work. But don’t let the fog of vacation brain settle in too early. While at work, minimize distractions by setting your phone to silent and avoiding the urge to check in on how holiday preparations are going at your home. Trust that anyone who has offered to help you is getting the job done so that you can stay focused on the year-end tasks that require your attention. When you feel your brain about to “check out,” take a short break, refocus, and get back to checking off your to-do list.


Don’t Over-Schedule Yourself

Know your limits when it comes to how much time you have for things. If you are trying to tackle your workload and enjoy the holiday season, don’t let yourself get bogged down with unnecessary meetings or phone conversations that you can handle in an email. It may seem rude to tell a client or business partner that you do not have time to meet with them, but chances are, they too are trying to avoid filling their schedules with a bunch of meetings. Unless it is absolutely necessary to have a meeting before the holidays, consider yourself booked until the new year. By prioritizing your meeting schedule and blocking off days for you to get work done, you will be more productive feel less pulled from place to place. Blocking off time slots in your schedule will also leave room for sudden changes or emergencies that seem to pop up this time of year. It also gives you more time to be part of the holiday events happening in your workplace.




Be a Holiday Cheermeister

Being stressed, overworked, and tired can make anyone a real Grinch this time of year. It’s near impossible to enjoy all the fun and excitement the holidays bring if you are still trying to sort through piles of work to do. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to work hard and play hard. Remember all that time you saved by not over-scheduling meetings? Use some of it to attend a networking event or holiday party for an association or organization you have a membership. This time of year offers several social events for business professionals to enjoy the spirit of the season while also making new connections and sharing cheer with prospective clients. No events in your area happening? Throw your own! Host a networking event or holiday party where you invite your employees, clients, and business colleagues to come together and celebrate. You’ve worked hard all year; you deserve it! That pile of papers on your desk and all those unread emails can wait until January.

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