For millions of people across the globe, Christmas is an opportunity to step back from everyday life, spend precious time with family and take a well-earned rest. However, many people choose to work over the Christmas holidays. For some, this time of year is perfect for making future plans, whilst for others working is simply a way to avoid the dreaded in-laws and the chores. Unfortunately, working effectively from home is a challenge at the best of times and at Christmas it can be even more difficult. Read on to learn how to be effective over the holidays whilst maintaining that elusive work-life balance.
1. Work on the right things
Christmas isn’t a time for bothering your colleagues with emails and requests. Not everyone wants to be working over the holidays and you’ll end up waiting a long time for responses. Instead, use this time for planning the year ahead and being creative.
2. Avoid distractions
Over Christmas, there are endless potential distractions – kids asking you to play with them, uncles telling confused stories and food asking to be eaten in silly quantities to name a few.
How do you remain focused? The first thing to consider is where you work. You need to have your own space, away from family and temptations. This does not mean it’s a good idea to work from your bed, as studies suggest that doing so will put you in a lazy mood and stop you from shutting off at night. If you’ve got a desk, use it. If your house is noisy, whack your headphones on and listen to a playlist that helps you think. If you can’t find anywhere comfortable and quiet, consider working from a local cafe.
Lastly, avoid online distractions – use a siteblocker to prevent yourself from wasting time on Facebook and news websites – nothing happens at this time of year anyway!
3. Be disciplined
Working from home, you’ll be tempted to get up late, finish early and do everything possible to avoid work in between. Studies suggest that if you act like you’re at the office, you’ll be more disciplined. Get up at the same time as you would do on a normal working day, set yourself deadlines and dress in your usual office attire. Though be aware that you don’t need to wear that suit over Christmas dinner, unless you want to pretend to your kids that you’re going loopy.
4. Schedule breaks, exercise and family time
It’s so easy to get absorbed in something, then realise you’ve been at your desk for 3 hours and feel like a zombie. In order to concentrate and work effectively, it’s vital that you take regular breaks.
To remind yourself to take breaks, try the Pomodoro technique, which involves working for 25 minutes then taking 5 minutes to rest and recharge. If you’re feeling sluggish and don’t want to pack on the pounds over Christmas, take a longer break for a workout. If you can take the cold, go for a jog outside to stimulate your mind and body.
Finally, don’t forget that Christmas is your chance to spend quality time with your family and recharge. Set a time each day when you’ll stop work and enjoy the festivities.