Productivity and Family Holidays

Not everyone has the luxury to take complete weeks off for family holidays, nor does everyone get the chance to get away from their work the whole time they’re with family. Especially with all the holiday hustle and bustle, it can be hard to set boundaries on spending time getting all the holiday “things” done and spending time with those you love.

I know I’m planning to take a good break from work during Christmas time. That time will be filled with lots of fun and stuff going on (especially since I have young kids at home). However, I know I won’t always be away from work. I will still have content posting to the Guild (yay for scheduling!), and creating things is one way I recharge after doing draining things. Regardless, my main priority this holiday is to make sure I’m spending time with family, being present, and enjoying every minute I can.

@wilsonng, @Kourosh – how are you spending your holidays this year and how are you planning to set boundaries between your work and family time (if you’re spending any this year)? Others feel free to chime in as well!

I have learned to be flexible in the different seasons of the year. It’s Christmas time which means it’s Holiday Shopping Season. I run a retail shop and I have to take advantage of the shopping season while I still can.

The response I put up here is more about how I survive the Holiday Season.

I do prepare ahead of time. I set my boundaries for my family because Life gets crazy at times. I’ve already farmed out my kids to different Holiday activities with other families. I delegate as many responsibilities that are normally mine. And I automate as much as I can or prepare the menial tasks way ahead of time.

Time Shifting my Holiday Fun

I do tell my kids that Daddy won’t necessarily be available for many of the Holiday activities but he’ll make it up afterwards. We already have plans post-Christmas. A lot of shows and activities are still occurring after Christmas. We time-shift our Christmas calendar to after December 25th to accommodate the crazy office hours. The kids know they’re getting Daddy time a little later and have learned to understand.

A Strong Support System

I’m lucky to have a strong, supportive wife who is one smart cookie! We stay in constant communication about daily events so that surprises are kept to a minimum.

Many of my friends understand my hectic schedule and are willing to accommodate. I might delay dinner plans to after Christmas or have some of my friends take my kids to a Holiday event during my crazy time. Picking up the kids and taxi-ing them various activities are set up with different parents with whom I’ve cultivated close connections with.

Learning to say No

My sideline job gets shut down when my day job responsibilities ramp up. I do have to say no to any assignments that might come up during December. I will inform them to shift their expectations of job completion to after the Holidays. Most of them understand and they’ll either wait for me or move on to the next person. I’m OK with that. I’ve been able to time-shift many sideline jobs off to after Christmas without any worries.

Many of my Big Rock projects are temporarily put on hold or maintained at a minimum. They do get reviewed every week to make sure nothing is missed. But significant progress on a Big Rock is not required during the holiday season. My Big Rocks are important but not urgent. These pet projects will improve some aspect of my life but requires more attention and focus than just making a cup of coffee or stapling papers together. I set up a reminder right before New Year to re-assess my Big Rocks and bring them back online.

Automating My Life

There’s no time to hem and haw while trying to make decision about what I want to do. I already have much of my paperwork set up in advance. Weekly and Quarterly reports are prepared way ahead of time. I just have to plug in a few numbers to finish it off and submit. I already try to pay bills ahead of time or have an auto-payment setting set up.

Prior to the Holiday Seasons, I have my end-of-day review set up to grease the wheels. I already have in place a lot of my daily routines for morning and shutdown. Creating systems and routines helps to reduce decision making and automates life. A lot of this is done way ahead of the Holiday Madness for me.

I hope everyone is having a blessed Christmas week. I wonder what others are doing to maintain their sanity during the Holiday Season? Chime in and share. We can all learn from each other about what we do to accommodate a week where social events and family obligations starts to collide with our productivity.

Now, we can move along to the more important debate…


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!