The holidays should be a time filled with joy and laughter, but, more often than not, the days or weeks off for break can lead to greater stress. When you work in the events industry, that stress can be monumental. After all, event planner consistently ranks as one of the top ten most stressful jobs in the US. The constant deadlines, difficult clients, and unforeseeable changes make the job demanding and unpredictable. With a schedule that has you onsite and away from family for days on end, the holidays should be a time to reconnect and take time to disconnect from work.
You can’t take away the intrinsic stress that comes from preparing an eight-course meal for twenty-five family members, but there are a few tips and tricks to employ to decrease work stress during your vacation.
Check Your Calendar
A few weeks before the holidays, take the time to find out what’s coming up. As terrifying as it can be to look ahead when you’re drowning in day-to-day tasks, it will help you in the long run. Take note of deadlines and big meetings that require preparation. You don’t want to wake up in a panic the day after Christmas worried about a project.
Set Up Your Schedule
Don’t have your tasks meticulously organized? Take some time to lay out your current projects and break them into time bound tasks. The resulting calendar can be daunting, but smashing big projects into manageable chunks will give you a realistic idea of what needs to be accomplished. Free management tools like Trello or a simple Google Calendar can help get you into shape.
Get One More Thing Done A Day
As hard as it is to focus on work on a normal day, distraction and “vacation-itis” will only increase the closer you get to the holidays. Motivate yourself to complete one more task a day than you normally would. You don’t need to work hours into the night, but take thirty minutes a day to cross another item off of your list.
Manage Unexpected Work
There is no way to avoid last-minute requests, but do your best to manage them by setting realistic deadlines and adjusting your schedule so that you can get those tasks and the ones you know you need to finish done.
Make a Back to Work To-Do List
Create a list of tasks for the day you come back so you don’t need to worry about forgetting where you left off. A neat list of to-dos will give you purpose despite post-holiday tiredness.
Carve Out Time
You might not be able to escape work the whole break. Events wait for no man (or woman) and things have to get done. If you can’t take the time off, block out a few hours a day and let your family know that those are reserved for work. The mornings can be a great time to knock out a few hours of work. If you’re thinking about using work to get out of helping with cooking or cleanup – don’t. You aren’t fooling anyone.
Put Your Phone Away
It’s unlikely that others are emailing you. If they are, they don’t expect you to answer. Check your email once in the morning and once at night, if you have to, but other than that - email can wait.
These tips will help you decrease stress while away from the office and set you up for success when you return. Your first day back grab a big ole cup of coffee and hit the to-do list – you’ve got this!