How to Balance Work and Family During the Christmas Holidays


How to Balance Work and Family During the Christmas Holidays

The festive season is here, and with it comes family activities, parties, and other fun events. But during this time our usual work commitments don’t stop, and it can be tricky to keep on top of our work whilst also maintaining a healthy family life balance. But with the right preparation, you can make sure you successfully undertake everything you need to over the holidays, so you can succeed at work and spend quality time with your family.

Read our advice to help you improve your work life balance this Christmas.

Prioritise what you have to do

You should start your festive period by setting out your priorities. What do you want to focus on over Christmas. Perhaps you have some important work deadlines that need to be kept. You might also have some family activities and social events that you want to make time for.



You can categorise your activities into things that “must be done” things you “want done” and things that are “nice to haves”. Making a list of your priorities will help you to successfully achieve what you want over the holidays and also see what could take a backseat if your schedule doesn’t allow them to happen.

Include your work projects and deadlines, your family activities, social events, and the usual day-to-day chores that can’t be ignored over Christmas. You should also factor in plenty of time for you to rest and reenergise.

You could also look for ways to work around tasks that could take a lot of time that you’d prefer to dedicate elsewhere. For example, rather than baking cakes and cookies from scratch for a party, could you buy them premade instead? Take this opportunity to find solutions so you can make the best use of your time.

Create a schedule

Once you have your priorities, you can create your schedule for the Christmas holidays. You should try to stick to your schedule as much as possible, but also leave room for flexibility. It might be that something takes longer than you had planned, or you might have a last-minute addition to your to-do list. In that case, you want to be able to accommodate it, if it’s important.

Use a calendar to note down your “must do” work deadlines and social engagements. You can then work in your other activities around these, such as spending time with the family, relaxing for yourself, and chores and errands.

Try to create a schedule that’s efficient. So, if you have to attend a meeting in town, see if it’s possible to do some Christmas shopping after. If your kids have to attend a party, will you be able to schedule some free time for yourself whilst they’re there? Look at what you must do and see where events and activities can crossover or join up to make things more streamlined.



Use the right tools to keep organised

Make sure you’re using the right tools to keep yourself organised over Christmas. It might seem overwhelming with so much going on, but by keeping a clear list and schedule, you’ll have no trouble keeping on top of everything.

You might prefer to use a digital calendar so you can always have it on you. Alternatively, you might find it easier to have your weekly plan somewhere you can see it, such as on a whiteboard in your kitchen or home office. This has the added benefit of being visible to the whole family, so everyone can see what is going on.

Communicate to colleagues and clients

Once you have your plan and schedule in place, you should make sure to communicate with your colleagues and clients. They should be aware of when you will be taking time off, when you may be working flexible hours, and when you’ll be available for them.



Communicating your plans with your colleagues will help them to organise their own time, so they can plan their work. It can also be helpful to let them know when you’ll be in the office and when you’ll work from home, if you plan to implement some remote working over the festive period. This will let your co-workers know the best way to contact you if they need to collaborate.

If you’re usually in close contact with clients, you should also let them know in advance when you plan to take time off. You should let them know who they should contact instead and how any issues that arise when you’re not working can be resolved.

Stick to your boundaries

You maintain your boundaries throughout the festive period. That applies to both work and personal activities. When you’re working, make sure your loved ones know that you need to focus on work, and you may not be available until the end of the day (except for emergencies, of course).

For the time you’ve set aside for personal and family time, make sure you’re not taking work calls or replying to emails. Set firm boundaries so your colleagues know that you will not be available outside of your working hours.

You shouldn’t be afraid to say “no”. When you’re juggling so much, you might want to try to fit everything in. But this will probably mean you’ll be working too much and overdoing it, leaving you stressed and fatigued. Saying “no” to the events and activities that aren’t as important will mean you can focus better on the things that mean more to you.

Be present

As well as letting others know your boundaries, you should also keep yourself accountable. You should be fully present for each activity. So, when you’re spending time with family, make sure you’re properly immersed in whatever you’re doing. Try not to think about work or what needs to be done in the office tomorrow. If you’re struggling to focus, make a quick note of what you want to remember, and then get back to the activity at hand.

The same goes for work. During working hours, you should be fully focussed on your work. If you’ve planned your schedule, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether a family member needs picking up from somewhere or taken to an event, as you’ll already have it noted down. However, if you find yourself distracted by other things whilst you work, take a quick five minute break to make a note of what needs to be done. This will help you to return to work ready to focus on the project.



Make time for yourself too

The best Christmas period will leave you feeling fulfilled and stress-free. So, it’s important to schedule in plenty of time for yourself. You shouldn’t only focus on work and family – you will need to take time to rest and reenergise, so you’re ready for all the events and activities.

This might involve scheduling time for you to visit the gym or attend an exercise class, or it might mean blocking out time to take a bath and read a book. Whatever it is that relaxes you, you should ensure you have plenty of time to take part in that activity.

You should also make sure you’re prioritising your rest. With all the activity over the Christmas period, it can be all too easy to fall ill. If you start to feel unwell, you shouldn’t be afraid to cancel your plans and get some rest. Trying to push through could just mean that you become unwell for longer, and it will have more impact on your festive activities. Taking a day to sleep off an illness can sometimes do wonders, getting you back to full health so you’re ready for the next event.


Leitz has a range of home office essentials to help you keep organised at home.

Read more about looking after your health and wellbeing at work:

 How to Identify and Fix Poor Ergonomics at Your Workstation

Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for the Workplace

Signs of an Unhealthy Work Life Balance and How to Fix It