By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars
The holidays are quickly approaching, and with them comes the opportunity to relax and recharge before kicking off a busy new year. Whether you’re taking two weeks of holiday vacation or just planning to enjoy a long weekend, time off to spend with friends and family is something to look forward to. So, why is it so difficult to actually unplug and experience it?
While you’re probably looking forward to the break, chances are it’s also causing some anxiety. With just weeks left until the holidays, your list of projects to wrap up may seem daunting — that doesn’t even include new projects that may pop up before you leave. It’s never fun to come back from vacation to a packed inbox and a long, disorganized to-do list.
Instead of spending your holiday worrying about what you’ll be coming back to at work, take the steps to set yourself up for an actual break. With a little bit of planning and mindfulness, you can have the worry-free vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
SET AN INTENTION
Take time to consider what you want to gain from your time away from work. Maybe you’d like to focus on creating memories with your children, or catching up with family members you don’t get to see that often. It could be that your top priority is simply to take time for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with focusing solely on getting some much-needed R&R. No matter what your plan is this holiday season, set an intention.
Intentions are much more flexible than goals, and are designed to open you up to possibilities instead of adding extra pressure. Your intention for your holiday break is guilt free. If it doesn’t completely happen, that’s okay. By being mindful about how you approach your vacation, you are enabling yourself to make the most of it.
FIND BALANCE WITH TIME BLOCKING
One of the best ways to ensure that you can truly unplug during the holidays is to manage your time efficiently. The holiday season is full of social commitments like parties, happy hours and gift exchanges. Add work obligations and gift shopping to the agenda, and you’ve got a lot to do in just a short amount of time.
Time blocking is a great strategy to maximize productivity, and it works particularly well when time is of the essence. To start time blocking, create a comprehensive list of all the things you’d like to get done before the holidays. Next, assign blocks of time on your calendar to complete your tasks. For example, 8:00am – 9:00am is spent checking emails; 11:00am – 12:00pm is spent addressing holiday cards; and 2:00pm – 4:00pm is spent on that presentation you’ve been putting off. Hold yourself accountable and don’t be afraid to get too detailed with your day.
Be sure to set aside some time to work on a list of priorities for your first week back at work. You’ll feel much more organized and in control once your to-do list actually becomes part of your schedule.
KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO
Everyone loves a party, but make sure you don’t overcommit yourself when it comes to seasonal get-togethers. It can be difficult to turn down an invitation, but you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to spend Friday night Ubering to and from four different parties and networking events. Say yes to the events that really matter to you, and allow yourself time to relax and enjoy the evening without worrying about what time it is or where you’re heading next.
The same applies at the office. Don’t overload yourself by inserting yourself into every last-minute project. Be realistic about what you can execute before heading out for the holidays and prioritize the work that really needs to be completed in December. If a project can wait until January, let it. If you try to do too much, chances are you’ll spend a big chunk of your vacation with your laptop instead of loved ones.
ACTUALLY UNPLUG (FROM YOUR PHONE)
A recent Nielsen report concluded that adults in the U.S. spend an average of 10 hours and 39 minutes each day consuming media. That means the average American can spend nearly half a day staring at a screen! Try scaling back your device usage over the holidays so you can be truly present.
If you can’t stand the thought of parting with your phone for an evening, Apple devices now provide screen time analytics. How much time are you really willing to sacrifice scrolling through your Instagram feed?
In addition to interfering with quality time, your phone can disrupt your plans to get better sleep. Using an electronic device within the hour before going to bed delays your body’s internal clock, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Set a goal to turn off your devices an hour before bedtime. You’ll be better rested and better equipped to enjoy the festivities.
The holidays are all about indulgence, but don’t forget to prioritize your mental and physical health. Take some time over the break to meditate, go for a walk with your family or get a massage. Time off during the holidays is a gift, so treat yourself!