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Working From Home During The Holidays – Maintaining Focus & Productivity

Complete transparency, as I pen today’s post, I’m trying to transition from one holiday moment into the next, while thinking about all the work things I need to complete before my next round of vacation, and the list is growing. As a result, this post is a day late. I try to manage when posts go out no less than a day, or a day and a half in advance if possible. So, if that makes you feel better about my insights…there you go. I’m writing a post about staying on track while working from home during the holidays and hopefully inspiring you to get it all done lol. But I believe it is possible…because I’ve done it before, on more than one occasion. Just not today. What made me late is that I decided to spend time with my family when I should have been writing. I don’t feel bad about it, not one bit. But there were many opportunities for working and I wasn’t doing anything during those times. Oddly enough my family was around…but we were all doing nothing together. But during the block of time that I scheduled for writing (they did not know when that time was), it just happened they wanted to snack and watch a movie. I love movie nights or movie afternoons. So I wasn’t going to skip out on the moment. I wanted to hang out too. So this was a series of choices that I made, knowing full well what was on my schedule. So this is where this post takes me…how to make sure you make time to do what you must and what you want. So, let’s get into these bullets for today.

1. Be honest, you want to hang out too! – Remember, I never said I was pressured, or felt obligated, or struggled to decide what I wanted to do. I know what I like. And I LOVE movie time lol. I also love the snacks. So, if those moments are combined, I’m trying to be there. Period. But I also know that the moment was a likely one, so I had the entire day to get prepared for it. Typically, movie time is a nighttime activity. The days are long and lazy, especially around the holiday. So if you know the thing you want is likely to happen around a specific time, just make sure that you’ve accounted for the things you need and get them out of the way.

2. Schedule your priorities, then prioritize your schedule – yeah, that is a mouthful. But the fact is if you have things planned, especially if they relate to the things that pay you, so you can enjoy time with your family, it is so important to make sure you honor them if you’ve taken the time to schedule them. But on the other hand, spending time with family is also extremely important. If you notice, I said that my family didn’t know when I scheduled time for writing. So as far as they were concerned, their needs never conflicted with my work. It’s on me for not making it clear that I needed to take care of some things. But…I was part of the crowd lounging in festive lounge PJ’s doing nothing the entire day. I knew what was on my schedule and I very well could have used some of my lounge time to knock out work and no one would have noticed my absence. Truth be told, there were several naps that occurred, I could have slipped in and out before the entire crew was alert and awake. If we have important tasks on the schedule…make sure you prioritize them. Keep the time. It will keep you from feeling rushed (like I do with this post), or feeling like you have disappointed your family because you are choosing work versus spending time with them. This isn’t to say that you won’t be able to shuffle your schedule around for hanging out, but if you take time to look at the schedule you put together, it will be a little easier to prioritize it as needed. But completely ignoring your tasks and how you plan to manage them, will only lead to missed deadlines and you rushing around later. And if you’re like me, this isn’t how you like to handle things and a little order goes a long way.

3. Be clear about what’s going on – Again, I never said to anyone that I had stuff to do. It’s okay to say what you have planned, and it may not include the entire posse. This keeps family and work plans from conflicting. Now, there are times where I can easily start my draft post in the car. I use my site’s app to get started. Once I get home, it’s saved and I can finish editing on my laptop and get it all ready to go. But, if that’s part of my plan, I’m working during the drive (I’m not driving), my family knows and understands. I’ll participate in the conversation, but you’ll know why I ask “wait…what did you say?” It is because I’m working, and I missed it. But it’s understood that I was, and I usually get a “never mind, go back to work”, accompanied by laughs. Sometimes the pressure we put on ourselves to be super is just too much. The help we need comes when we just say what we need. Your family will (and if they don’t, that’s a different post completely), but they will understand, and hopefully, they will be patient and considerate.

4. When you can go to your dedicated space – I just said that I will work in the car sometimes. But that is not my norm. If I know that I have work to do, I make every effort to do that work in my space dedicated to work. The reason for this is simple. This is where I work. If my family sees me in this space, they get it. Mom really had something she needed to do. She’s really working. I’ve tried to take my laptop to the room with the festivities so I can be present. It only ends up taking longer. The distractions…five minutes here, five minutes there…a break for laughing here or there…all of this adds up. So something that probably was only an hour, becomes 3 hours. This has happened and a post takes several hours. Why? Because you can’t really be as focused as you need to, surrounded by so many distractions. Sometimes it’s necessary that you get away, do what you need to, and come back. Again, if you do it, you won’t feel pressed about it later.

In case you were wondering, I’m 100% team FAMILY TIME. Especially during the holidays. But I’m equally about finding ways to create and maintain efficiencies when things change in my current routine. The holidays are a change in routine. There is a lot more hang out time. What I find works best for me, is keeping the priorities on my schedule. However, when those priorities get completed is open and I can be flexible. If my schedule allows me to adjust, I adjust. As long as I accomplish what I need to when I need to. The important part of scheduling my priorities is that I do not lose sight of what I need to do in the day. Prioritizing my schedule helps me figure out when I can get them done. Family time is precious, and I don’t want to miss out on any moments to make memories or decompress with the people that I value most. After the year that we’ve all had, holiday time hits a little different this year. So make sure that you make time, so you can take time and enjoy all of your precious moments with your family!!

And let me be one of the first to say, be blessed this holiday season!!

As always, these are absolutely my thoughts...



*Disclaimer - The thoughts contained in these posts are my own. The advice and tips shared are based on my experience as a working professional. As a certified career and organizational coach, I do share this knowledge with my clients. I do not guarantee any particular results, as results and experiences will vary. Some of my blog content is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing in my blog is intended to be used to diagnose or treat any emotional, mental, or medical condition. For that, please see the appropriate professional. For additional information, please refer to the Terms of this site.

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