I think it’s safe to say the holidays are officially here. It’s the middle of November – Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and Christmas is six weeks away.
While the holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxing and spending time with family and friends, for us who work at home, it’s a slightly different story. Kids are home from school on winter break, daycares are closed and the stores are packed. Yet, when you work from home, your work doesn’t stop at all. As a freelancer, if I don’t write, I don’t make money.
Here’s my guide on how to survive working from home and the holidays.
How to Survive Working from Home and the Holidays
Last holiday season, my girls were not in daycare, John was super busy with his own business and I was just starting to land personal finance freelance writing gigs. This year, I envision our holidays to be pretty much the same (ie busy!). If you work from home and are nervous about how you’re going to juggle your workload with the holidays, here are my top five tips.
Change your schedule
You might have to wake up earlier or stay up later in order to get all of your tasks completed. While that may not be ideal (I really don’t like getting up super early when it’s cold outside), remind yourself that it’s only for a season. If you’re busier because your kids are at home with you, remember that they will be back in school come January. Try to enjoy this time as much as you can with them! If you have little ones like me, I know that this can be a hard season. But honestly, enjoy it. Even the fits and the temper tantrums. Let them be little. They will not be like this forever.
Make a to-do list
People prioritize what they want to do. I hate when people say they don’t have time to exercise, for example. I’ll admit I’ve fallen off the wagon when it comes to physical fitness, but it’s not because I don’t have time. If I wanted exercise to be a priority, it would be. Plain and simple. I strongly advice you make yourself a to-do list each night for the next day. Plan out a rough itinerary of when you will accomplish all of your tasks. My to-do list will look something like this:
- 5:00am Wake up, do a 15-minute workout (hopefully…), have coffee
- 5:30-6:30 Work for one hour
- 6:30 Girls up, have breakfast, clean up and get ready
- 8:30-11:00 Run errands with girls (this could be Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, etc)
- 11:30-2:00 Girls nap, I work
- 2:00-4:30 Run errands, go on a walk, bake cookies to deliver to neighbors
- 4:30-7:00 John home, make dinner, play with girls
- 7:30-10:00 Get the girls to bed, work, watch TV to unwind
This loose schedule gives me 5 hours to work and get things done. To make your holiday season more enjoyable, write out what you need to do and do it!! I’m always shocked at how much I can accomplish in a given day.
Allow yourself time off
Time off is important throughout the year, but it’s especially important over the holidays. Last year, I gave myself Thanksgiving Day completely off from working. I didn’t check emails, respond to blog comments or work on a freelance article. Instead, I FaceTimed with my parents, I took the girls to the park, I cooked a fabulous dinner with John, I helped John make his very first cheesecake, and I enjoyed a long, leisurely meal with my favorite people in the world. It was glorious, and I plan on spending this Thanksgiving the exact same way.
On your “work” days, I encourage you to really zone in on what you’re doing and try to get more done than usual. By working ahead, you’ll be able to take off time over the holidays – maybe even a week – guilt free! I’ve said before how I always work ahead by at least two days. The reason for this is if something comes up, whether a new work assignment that I want to take or one of my kid’s gets sick, I can take time off easily. I’m never rushing to meet a deadline because I’m always ahead. Over the holidays, I try to get even more ahead of schedule.
Check out my article on How to Work Faster and Increase Productivity
What are you plans for working over the holidays? Do you have a FT job and plan on taking a week or two off? Are you a freelancer? How will you give yourself time off?