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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

3 Ways You Can Work Less and Relax More this Holiday Season

If you’re a recovering workaholic, like me, you likely struggle with pulling back from your job around the holidays. While you may want to prioritize spending time with family and friends, there’s always that pull to do more and work more. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you can be mindful this holiday about where your time is going, you’ll be able to relax and still keep your projects or business going. Last year when I realized how many emails I was sending throughout the holidays, I decided this is not what really matters. I realized I love to work but I need to find more of a balance in my life. Now, I’m able to balance my time around the busy season so that I’m showing up for the people I care about, continuing to take care of myself and my team, and even have some downtime in between. If you want to work less and relax more this season, keep reading to learn my process for getting there.

Step 1: Recognize that you’re a workaholic

Awareness is the first step to overcoming your over-working tendencies. A lot of us are undiagnosed workaholics and it can be a process in itself to recognize that you may be working too much. Go easy on yourself. Our society has normalized working ourselves to exhaustion so it can seem like you’re fitting in with those around you when experiencing burnout. Try asking yourself these questions next time a work opportunity presents itself:

  1. Why am I saying yes to this?

  2. Is this project just filling my time or is it a high-value opportunity that will grant me more time and freedom to do what I love in the future?

  3. Is this project going to compromise my overall well-being or personal health?

  4. What will I be giving up in order to prioritize this project?

  5. Is what I will be giving up worth it?

And be real with yourself! Sometimes workaholics like to justify any and every project so that they can say “yes” and often they don’t even know what is driving the “yes.” If you can start to recognize when you’re saying yes just to say yes, you’ll be able to say “no” much easier.

Step 2: Determine your priorities

I know what it’s like to be so in “work mode” that you barely even have time to squeeze in a bathroom break! While we may feel extremely productive when we keep our schedule packed, it often forces us to sacrifice our own health to keep up. Sacrificing things to achieve success is sometimes necessary, but it’s important that you are aware of what you’re giving up and what you’re achieving. What are your priorities? What are you sacrificing to get there? To determine your priorities, you can ask yourself these questions:

  1. How do I define success?

  2. What are my core values?

  3. What is important to me?

  4. How am I prioritizing my day?

  5. What am I giving up in order to get my to-do list done? How does that make me feel?

  6. What are some things I’d rather give up to create more space in my day for accommodating my priorities?

  7. What are a few ways I can be more efficient?

Answering these questions will help you see where you’re at now with your priorities and maybe how you’d like to re-prioritize your life.

David Allen, an American productivity consultant, said “you can do anything, but not everything.” So decide what you want to focus on and go after it! Be the absolute best you can be at it. And let everything else take a back seat (for now).

That’s the beauty of it. You can always change your priorities as you grow.

Step 3: Plan how you are going to spend your time

Once you determine what your priorities are, then you can start creating a plan to live according to them. Decide how you can best spend your time so that you are contributing to your priorities and goals each day. Look at your time management. Ask yourself:

  1. Where is most of my time and energy going?

  2. What am I spending the least time and energy on?

  3. Are there any processes, software, or people I can onboard to create more efficiency?

  4. If I had two free hours, what would be the best way I could spend them?

  5. From what I’m spending my time on, what gives the greatest return? What gives the least return?

One of the best ways you can spend your time better is to slow down. We are often so in a hurry doing everything for the sake of checking it off our list, that we forget to pay attention to what we are doing and even enjoy it. When we slow down, we can be more mindful of where our time is going and course correct so you don’t end up wasting your valuable time and energy. It’s also important to include rest, relaxation and free time into your schedule. They are as important (if not more important) than all the highly productive to-dos you have on your list. Balancing your work time with time for you to re-charge allows you to be more efficient and productive in the long run.

Make your holiday one to remember

When you look back on holidays past, do you want to remember it as a time where you were able to squeeze in more work or time you were able to spend with the people you love? I know for me, I want the holidays to be as meaningful as possible and I know that means pulling myself away from my computer and pouring myself into the present moments as much as possible. I want to be part of the holiday cheer this year and spend time doing the snow activities that I love. I have decided I will be taking almost a full week off of work around the holidays this year so I can spend more time with my husband and pets. Maybe this year, decide how you want to show up for the holidays and work backwards to create goals, actions, and a schedule leading up to it. If you’d like to connect more on this topic, reach out and let’s connect.


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