4 Pillars To Work-Life Balance During The Holidays

Jaron Ludwig
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December 21, 2016
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Laptop on a desk with a view

Are you ready for the Holidays?  Yeah, me neither!  Am I excited for them?  Absolutely!  The two can, and normally do coexist with each other in the madness we call the Holidays.

It seems every year that passes, the more surprised I find myself come late November.  How can the holidays be here already?  Weren’t we just basking in 80-degree heat, like…yesterday?  Also, I know I am not the only one that feels as if there are roughly four whole business days the entire year.  

For those of you that find yourself feeling something similar, it's okay!  We are all here with you.  Forward Together, right?  Here is how I attempt to manage the madness at work and home, using what I call my four pillars.

Make time for YOU

Do this because no one else likely will.  Your family, friends, coworkers, boss, and anyone else you may be interacting with these holiday weeks will most likely be asking for something of you.  Guess what?  That is okay!  They haven’t seen you in a while.  There is a deadline approaching.  The kids want to show you something, or just be kids…  New year projections are being discussed.  The point is there are more and more distractions as the holidays near.  This fact makes it that much more necessary to carve time for YOU.  It doesn’t have to be an extended period of time.  It doesn’t have to be scheduled in advance.  It simply needs to be “you” time.  

One simple “you” time activity I do is meditation.  And, the great part about this example is it only takes a few minutes throughout the course of a day - four minutes on average.  Cool, right?  Because I’m an Apple geek, I utilize the Breathe function on my watch.  Four one-minute Breathe sessions a day is all I need to give my mind and body the little break it needs.  Try and set aside time for yourself to inhale and exhale a few times.  Tell me you don’t feel a little better already!

Whether you use my example or find your own, the end result should leave you a little more relaxed than you started.  In my opinion, not only will you find yourself in a better, more relaxed state, you may also find yourself perceiving future situations in a more positive light just because of your mood.  For me, it works wonders.  Next!

Manage Expectations

My wife and coworkers can attest, I am a messy, frazzled version of myself when it seems little planning has been done.  Setting and managing expectations helps me counteract this.  Because, if you are like me at all, last-second curveballs throw you for a loop that leaves you scratching and clawing back to an emotional balance.  Cue “You” time!

For work, executing this pillar means communicating with my team and ensuring everyone is on the same page on projects, deadlines, next steps, etc.  For my personal life, it means communicating with my wife and ensuring we are on the same page about departure dates, which side of the family we’re visiting and when, knowing we have all gifts purchased (unlikely!), return dates, etc.

The main point here is that by allowing everyone to share in expectations, you minimize potential instances that could slightly derail your happiness.  And, the optimal result of all of this would be a worry-free (or worry-less?) transition from work-time to family-time and back again to work-time when the new year rolls around.  Can you imagine, while surrounded by family, not having to worry if that little, pesky thing at work was resolved or not?  What a wonderful concept, right?  Do your best to make it a reality!

Prioritize Tasks

This pillar is somewhat leaning on the foundation of the last.  Without it, we wouldn’t know what tasks to prioritize.  But, because planning was done, we can construct this pillar without a problem.  

When I begin to feel bogged down with work or personal life, I try to take a step back and ask if I’m focusing on the right item.  And I do say “try” as I am not self-aware enough to always do this when needed.  In those occasional moments when I catch myself, I often notice my attention is not where it should be.  This exponentially adds to any exhaustion or stress already present.

To address this, try to take that step back, evaluate the situation, and focus where you invest your mental and emotional efforts.  If these align with what is actually most important, you will feel your energy level rise at the office and at home.

Engage

The last pillar is simple, but it may also be the most difficult to consistently execute.  The simple part?  The idea.  When you are at work, be at work.  When you are home with family, be home with family.  So what is so difficult?  We often find ourselves thinking about a different part of our life rather than the present.  Be in the moment.  Actively listen to others, rather than gaze off or wonder what you will say next.  You will receive more from an interaction like this and so will those involved.  It's a win/win in the game of Life, and those ROCK.


So that's it!  YOU, Manage Expectations, Prioritize, Engage.  Try those four pillars this holiday season, and maybe have your best one yet?  Either way, we hope you enjoy your holiday season!  We are excited for what the new year will bring.  Forward Together!