You’ve probably heard this a few times already but...it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so we hope you’re spending it with friends, family, and Netflix! But sometimes, the fast-paced, get sh*t done startup life can lure you back to work even when you’re on vacation. “Just a bit of catching up” can quickly eat up your holiday preparations and, before you know it, you’ve missed out on all that much-needed family gathering time (or plain old R&R.)
There are a few ways you can stay away from your work this holiday season, all of which can actually help you maintain a high level of productivity in the long-term. Read on for a successful 2019!
First, let’s cover the whys before we get into the hows (because, if you’re like us, you prob need a little persuasion before you shove your work laptop back into your suitcase).
You’ll be MORE productive when you get back to work
A well-deserved vacation can give you that productivity boost you need. Via GIPHY.
You know how a good night’s sleep can really help you crush it at work the next day? Taking your vacation time to unplug from work is that feeling x10. Studies have actually shown that people who take time away from work are more apt to stay focused at work than people who don’t. It’s not a coincidence that more companies are embracing flexible paid-time-off policies!
You need to spend time focusing on personal relationships
Get your group hug on this holiday season. Via GIPHY .
Do you sometimes go a few weeks before realizing you haven’t seen anyone outside of work in months? Yeah, startup life will do that to you. The holidays are the one time of year you’re expected to spend more time with your friends and family. So take advantage of it! These are the people who have been there for you all year, including all those times you canceled plans to meet a deadline (seriously, the only thing that should be flaking this holiday season is the snow, not you). Taking some time to enjoy their company and will help you to be happier when you return to work.
You can spend time doing something you enjoy
Spend your free time doing something fun! Via GIPHY .
If you have a longer holiday break, devote some of the time you would have spent catching up on emails doing something you love but don’t have much time to do during the workweek. Whether it’s spending some time outside, working on a puzzle, or just catching up on your favorite show, take advantage of these vacation days and something you love. The startup life can eat into all of your free time and, before you know it, you may have gone a few months without devoting time to your hobbies.
How do we know this for sure? You guessed it—studies have shown that those with a greater work-life balance achieve a high level of productivity at work. This means taking that time to do something that makes you happy isn’t actually hurting your work life; i’s helping you to feel more fulfilled in your life outside of work, which will help you succeed.
So...how do you get time to do all of these things and still hit all of your work deadlines?
Well, it’s all about managing your own expectations and being realistic with yourself. It can be tempting to think of your days off as catch-up time but, that time is important for your productivity when you come back to work. Although you may not have followed all of these now, keep these tips in your back pocket to whip out before any future break:
1. Set realistic deadlines
What’s better than checking something off your to-do list? Nothing. Via GIPHY .
Is that 50 page report you need for a meeting in late January going to get done before you leave for the holidays? Probably not. So don’t kid yourself into thinking monstrous tasks will magically get done during the holiday season. Set reasonable goals that you can actually hit. Maybe get a really rough draft or an outline of that report done so you can come back feeling prepared without overwhelming yourself.
2. Say “No” to things you can’t get done
It’s okay to say no. Via GIPHY .
Hopefully, your team isn’t asking you for a million little things that you can complete “really quickly” before the holidays. But, if they are, it’s ok to say no. Turning down some of these tasks will keep your stress levels down and help you stay on track with the bigger things you’re trying to get done. If it’s really important, you’ll get to it in the new year. This isn’t just seasonal advice, either: it applies to any project at any time.
3. Block off specific times to get to the tasks you can’t complete
We love a good, color-coded schedule. Via GIPHY .
If looking at the list of things you need to get done is pushing your stress levels to new heights, take some time before the holidays to schedule out specific times for your tasks. Set reasonable deadlines and be realistic about how long each task will take you. This way, when you leave for the holidays, you know you’ll have enough time to complete your work after your break.
Take some time to relax—you deserve it! Via GIPHY .
That’s it! This holiday season, do yourself and your work a favor by checking out for a few days and preparing yourself for a much-needed break from the hectic startup life. If you’re ready to hunt for an amazing startup job, sign up for Planted and we’ll make your holiday job search feel like fun!
Carrie Boyd is a freelance writer covering everything from startups to languages. She loves traveling to far-off lands, cooking new recipes, and drinking heart-stopping amounts of coffee. You can find her on Twitter @carrielb_.