The holidays bring a lot of stress: there’s lots of shopping, traveling, and planning to do, and that doesn’t even include all the things you have to do for work.

Many professionals tend to put off their to-do list until after December, hoping things slow down, but end up overwhelmed when January rolls around. Falling behind on our goals and commitments can lead to depression or anxiety, which can affect many facets of life.

Fortunately, tending to your professional life and getting through the holidays simply takes planning and patience. Here are my best tips for doing both:

Get out your calendar

It’s time to get organized:

  •    Go through each day and write down everything that will need to be done.
  •    Make a list of your own and plan out even the most seemingly mundane things, like shopping trips, baking, and traveling. Map out how much time you’ll need to set aside for these things.
  •    Set aside time that is non-holiday or work related. It may sound like a bit much, but when you’re this busy, sometimes you have to plan out time to just read a book or go see a movie with friends.

Seeing all these events written down in front of you will help you keep track of appointments and commitments, plus help you see where you might be spending too much time needlessly. Time management is a big part of any professional’s life, so plan, plan, plan, Then cross off each item as you accomplish it. Small goals are a wonderful thing!

Ask for help

If you have friends or family close by who are willing to lend a hand, take them up on it and allow them to help you get some things done. It’s the closest thing to having an assistant, and it will allow you to use your time wisely.

Don’t allow any wasted time

If you’re traveling for the holidays and will be spending time on a bus, plane, or train, use it to your advantage and take that time to build up your business’s social media presence. You can even take that time to connect with like-minded professionals and wish them a happy holidays.

Expanding your professional reach and networking is never a bad thing, and this way the time you spend as a passenger will be as productive as possible.

No internet access while traveling?

  •    Draft a few cold emails.
  •    Look over successful presentations from the past and see what takeaways you can implement for the future.
  •    Look over unsuccessful presentations and find ways to learn from them.
  •    Create a professional goal list for next year.

Say “no”

It’s impossible to do everything that is asked of you, so don’t be afraid to give a firm “No” when too many people request your time. There’s only so much one person can do, and overextending yourself will never lead to anything good.

Set some limits and only take on the projects and commitments you know you’ll have time for (this is where that calendar will come in handy).

Take care of yourself

Get enough rest, eat well, and work in daily exercise when you have your calendar out. Taking care of yourself will ensure you won’t let exhaustion set in and can help battle burnout. Self-care is an important aspect of overall healthy living, and can make a crucial difference in having the happiest of holidays.

Keep these top tips in mind if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by your pre-holiday deadlines. Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday season, and a very merry Christmas!

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