The holiday season is here for for many people across the globe as Christmas fervor reaches its peak. The plethora of holidays that take place during the December and January months means work productivity now has to compete with numerous distractions. There are presents to buy, unique meals to cook, and family to see. Staying up to date with your job becomes less appealing. It’s not an uncommon obstacle.
There are some really simple things I do as an international teammate to make sure I don’t fall behind during the holiday season. The extra responsibilities that arise during this period of time shouldn’t affect my ability to be a good teammate to my international colleagues. Check out some minor adjustments that can make a world of difference when it comes to accomplishing professional goals during the holiday season.
Be Proactive and Get Ahead
I get it, doing extra work isn’t fun. This becomes especially true when the fire is going, holiday music is playing, and family members are in town. However, the point here is to get stuff done prior to anyone showing up. You know the limits of your own productivity, so why not take some action and knock things out before the actual deadline? This is something I’ve always done, even going back to my college days when I’d binge assignments leading up to the break so I could spend more time enjoying the vacation. This same principle, when applied responsibly, can help in a professional setting, too.
People may be scared of taking some vacation time only to come back to an inbox filled to the brim. Or may worry that as soon as vacation starts some doomsday message will be delivered needing an immediate reply. However, if you’re proactive in the weeks leading up to the holidays these fears may be lessened, or completely alleviated. There’s enough stress that comes with the holiday season, so taking work issues out of that equation can truly be a weight off your shoulders. I know when I’m spending time with my family I won’t want to be rummaging through my brain for blog ideas. Instead, I set aside time at the beginning of the month to complete any projects that may cause my mind to wander. Focus on the little things now, so the big things in the future don’t loom quite as large.
Be Communicative, But Check The Calendar
We’ve all heard the mantra that communication is key, and it absolutely has merit. Communicating efficiently and effectively with teammates is a skill. But part of this skill also stems from understanding context. Staying in touch with teammates, especially ones scattered across the globe, takes effort. This effort can be rewarded and even sometimes reciprocated. However, when it comes to the holidays there are reasons to tone it down.
If there’s something trivial you’d like to ask your vacationing teammate about, maybe it waits until they’re back online. No need to bother them while they’re enjoying time off. But then the question becomes, how do you know when they’ll be available again? Thankfully we all have a cheat sheet. The calendar. Holidays outside of your own culture may not first come to mind when surveying the calendar, so make sure to be inclusive. My communication on a holiday is a simple message acknowledging the importance of the day to my teammates, but I would never bother one of my Indian colleagues for editorial advice during Diwali. There’s a time and place for everything, and crazily enough that applies to professional communication. Be kind, be understanding, and be contextually communicative. That simple act may have more influence on your holiday season productivity than anything else.
Stress Is Real, Have Some Self-Compassion
You ever look at the calendar and think you have three weeks before vacation, then check it again and find there are only a couple of days left before you’re off? There may be several weeks still to come before the holidays, but those days will pass by rapidly. The amount of novelties that are intertwined with the holiday season means you must be adaptable. Often times people are in new environments, socializing with new people, eating meals they don’t usually have, and even altering sleep schedules. All of this change might be overwhelming, and it’s here that self-compassion can be truly key.
There’s nothing wrong with being stressed, and there’s also nothing wrong with addressing that fact. It’s so common that studies have been done on the effect holidays have on people’s stress levels, with a HealthLine survey noting that professionals find themselves “very stressed” during the holiday period. This stress can be an inhibitor, something that breaks down productivity and lessens the enjoyment of this holiday period. To minimize those negative effects, do what you need to do to stay sane. If your least favorite family member tries to talk your ear off about a subject you find less than thrilling, take steps to make it up to yourself. I find having some space to retreat to, whether that be a bench at a nearby park or an empty room in the family member’s house you’re visiting, incredibly beneficial. I can relax, recharge, and then head back into the whirlwind I left. Professional responsibilities and holiday obligations may not go hand in hand. But, if you prioritize your mental health you can not only get everything done for work but also manage your vacation in a way you find most enjoyable.