Top 10 Tips for Creating Work/Life Balance During the Holidays From Maria Woytek, DayTimers' Time Management Expert

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A list of ten tips for being successful in the area of work/life balance during the holiday season. This list will help manage both work life and home life, assuring that everyone receives the most out of the holiday season, without the stress to accompany it.

Competition from other tasks and a tendency toward procrastination are the top reasons Americans don't accomplish the things they need to get done, according to a recent study by Day-Timers. Many people blamed this time-deprivation stress on the demands to do things for family members as well as other people. During the holiday season, this time crunch becomes even more prevalent, as demands from work and family increase and add stress to an already stressed life.

Since there is no way to add more hours to the day, we have to make the most of the 24 hours we have. Here are the top 10 tips from Time Management expert, Maria Woytek of Day-Timers to help you manage your time, become more efficient and productive during the holidays and have time to spare to enjoy it all.

1.    Don't try to do it all. Pick-and-choose holiday activities. It's often impossible to attend all of the holiday festivities that come up--from company parties, dinner with friends, children's holiday concerts, church celebrations, dance recitals, family obligations, local community festivities and clubs and organizational activities. One solution: gather everyone in the household at a family meeting. Each person should assign a number to each event, stating it's level of importance to them - one being most important to five being least important. Make a decision about which events you will all go to together, which events you may attend in smaller groups or separately and which events you will pass on for this year. By knowing your limits, you've now set yourself up to enjoy the holiday festivities.
2.    Note all holiday events you're attending on your calendar in pen. Pencil in all alternate activities so if one event drops out you'll be aware of other options available to you and your family. Also schedule time for other holiday to-dos like shopping days (at the store or online outlets), decorating, baking and more. This will help the entire family stay up-to-date on what others in the family have planned--and you'll accomplish things too.
3.    Make a holiday to-do list to be sure everything during the holiday season is covered, from having a holiday card for each important person in life, to remembering to ship presents to faraway family and friends in time for holiday delivery.
4.    Create a list of chores together so each person in the household can choose how they will contribute to holiday season preparations. When someone has volunteered to pick out holiday cards and another to string popcorn for the tree, while someone is buying grandma's gift and another is wrapping and mailing the gifts to long distance relatives, it helps take the pressure off of one person as well as giving everyone a chance to be involved.
5.    A planner is the chief tool in your organizational arsenal. Planning equals doing! In your daily planner, specifically write down the activities you want to participate in throughout the holidays. For example, write down a specific time that you will be going to the gym and the hours you plan to spend cleaning or shopping. By having these day-to-day activities planned, you will be less inclined to forget them and it will be easier to schedule holiday activities around them.
6.    Be sure to keep your home and office clutter-free. Cargo storage boxes come in a wide variety of sizes which will keep CDs, DVDs, tapes, photos, magazines, catalogs, crafts, supplies, sewing, mementos, catalogs and mail all in order. Clutter can slow you down by distracting you from what you really should be doing--a needless distraction during the busy holiday season.
7.    In order to be best prepared for holiday activities, organize all necessary items the night before. If there is a family gathering on Sunday and you plan to bring a baked dish, making it on Saturday will ease the pressure on the day of the event.
8.    Shop early to help avoid the last minute rush. Online and catalog shopping will help cut-down the amount of time spent in the department stores as well as allowing you to stay away from the crowds. This will also leave more time in your schedule in the days surrounding the holidays.
9.    Before going to the store to shop--whether it be for gifts or the holiday turkey--never leave without a list. List making - although it seems like a no-brainer -- is essential in assuring that you won't waste time by forgetting things or over-buying. Make sure to include clothing sizes, children's' ages, and preferences in your gift list.
10.    The holidays are about spending time with loved ones in a relaxing and leisurely way; so don't forget to schedule time for just that. This time can be overwhelming and hectic, but without having some time to relax it can lead to over-exhaustion. Plan to schedule alone time at the spa or meet a friend for coffee.


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Leesa Raab
LaMotta Strategic Communications
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