6 Ways to Stay Sane While Working From Home during the Holidays
The holiday season can be a time of such excitement and fun! But it can also pose some real challenges if you work from home. Kids are on break, there are a zillion events to attend, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake. All of these distractions can make it difficult to stay on task in a home office environment. Here are some tips on managing things a little better.
Consider a temporary change in your office hours.
If you have school-age kids, you might want to think about changing up your office hours while they’re on holiday break. They’ll want lots of your attention and can only watch TV for so long. Plan to wake up an hour or two earlier, or work in the evening after their bedtime, to power through your most important to-dos so that you can spend more time with them during the daytime.
Arrange playdate swaps.
Ask some of your close friends to do a playdate swap – each participating parent takes a turn watching everyone else’s children for an entire morning or afternoon. This will free up several big chunks of time for you to get work done, and you’ll only need to devote one day to meeting your end of the bargain. Don’t feel limited to asking other work at home parents – stay at home moms will jump on the opportunity to have a few free hours to run errands or do kid-free Christmas shopping.
Give yourself permission to say no.
You want to bake homemade cookies for every special family member, friend, and teacher in your life. You want to commit your time to three different charity causes. You don’t want to miss any of the holiday parties you’ve been invited to. But the fact is, no one can do it all – especially during the holiday season. Figure out what is most important and/or enjoyable to you, and say no to the rest. Be okay with buying packaged gifts instead of baking homemade. Pick one charity to help out. Be selective about the parties you’ll attend. You’ll be more refreshed at work, and enjoy the season even more.
Outsource where you can.
There’s so much on our plates during the holidays! Figure out what you can outsource to paid help or delegate. Enlist your kids to help you – even if it’s unloading the dishwasher or dusting. Hire a young girl to be a mother’s helper to entertain your kids for a few hours while you work in the office. If your house is beyond dirty, ask for a one-time housekeeping service as an early Christmas gift. Spend your limited work time on the stuff that’s going to be best for your bottom line.
Get away from your desk every day.
Work at home parents often have a hard time stepping away from the computer. While it’s always critical (and healthy!) to not be chained to your desk, it’s especially important during the crush of the holiday season. Step away from the work every so often, have a quiet moment with your favorite beverage, listen to some music, or simply reflect on your day. Don’t let the holiday season pass you by without you having enjoyed a second.
Create a festive office environment.
Just because you’re not working in cubicle-land doesn’t mean you can’t be festive. If you like holiday music, have it playing in the background while you work. Decorate your desk or office with a colorful poinsettia or tiny Christmas tree. Ask your kids to help you – they’ll have a blast! These little touches will make working from home during a harried time of year much easier.
Remember, we often put more stress and anxiety around the holidays than there needs to be. With simple changes in our routine, we can still be productive and happy amidst all of the chaos around us. Happy holidays!
Photo Credit: Flickr Mr. T in DC