Ahhh holiday season, the most wonderful time of the year (pun intended)! On the other hand, the holiday season is also known as the busiest time of the year– not just personally, but professionally as well. As publicists working at a lifestyle PR agency, we know media is only thinking about one thing around this time: holiday stories. Ranging from gift guides to entertaining to the ultimate dinner recipes, you’ll have your hands (and minds) full. Not to mention all the personal planning there is when you’re out of work mode. Questions like who’s hosting?, what can I bring?, what are we having for dinner?, float between families and friends as holiday planning is underway.
STOP- take a second and breath. We know work and home are busy right now, so we put together a few tips to help you make it through to the end of the year:
Outline Your Workload & Set Hard Deadlines
A simple but extremely beneficial tip! Working in a fast-paced public relations agency, you quickly realize the mountain of work that is ahead as the year begins to wind down. Instead of a daily to-do list, try a higher-level approach and transition to a holiday or end of the year to-do list. Start early: begin by making your list (and checking it twice!) for all of the must-do’s during holiday time, followed by the ‘can do early 2020.’ For example, PR pro’s need to pitch short lead holiday gift guides no later than November, this would be a must-do on your holiday to-do list. This way, you can prioritize all time-sensitive work accordingly. This also goes hand in hand with setting hard deadlines. If possible, set calendar reminders for yourself when materials are due. Think of major projects/campaigns as they come to a close, end of the year reports, 2020 planning, etc. If you prefer a hand-written approach, go for it! Take your physical calendar and outline in red all the must-do’s, followed by can-waits in yellow. Giving yourself a clear line of sight and a detailed course of action for the holiday season will only alleviate unnecessary stress.
Maximize Your Downtime
In those small windows where you do have some downtime during the holiday chaos, use it to your advantage! In the world PR, it’s the perfect time to check administrative duties off your list (ones we all know have been sidelined). Research new media contacts to pitch, draft your press materials, work on monthly reports so they are off your plate. This may even be a great time to grab coffee with an editor to learn their holiday/end of year schedule so you can maximize your efforts to the fullest. All these are important to accomplish while time is on your side because when crunch time approaches, it’ll be smooth sailing into the new year.
Plan Holiday Activities in Advance
Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of holiday season and family time. However, it can sometimes be stressful to plan get-togethers, purchase gifts, and more in a short time frame. That’s why it’s best to plan in advance! To avoid burnout when all is said and done, make these plans NOW. Talk to the fam and determine who is hosting this year, chat about the dinner menu (including who brings what), plus ones and any other holiday traditions your family does.
Are you procrastinating holiday shopping? Honestly, we don’t blame you, but check it off your list now! Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, order online, go on group shopping adventures to make it more exciting. Whatever your holiday activities/to-dos are, make sure to give ample time to complete them, so you’re not faced with a chaotic holiday season.
Even with these tips, holiday burnout is sometimes inevitable. With such a busy time at home and at work, it can be a bit much to handle in such a small amount of time. That’s why self-care is SUPER important. To start, don’t try to cram everything into one day, which ultimately makes you lose sleep. Accomplish what is feasible for you in a day, get a full night’s sleep, and regroup in the morning to tackle the next holiday task on your list.
Additionally, an obvious but important one- drink plenty of water! Think about it, how many times have you been so busy during the day and forgot to drink an appropriate amount of water? Not doing so will leave you tired and sluggish, something you definitely don’t need to be feeling during the busiest time of the year! Also, it is safe to assume we will be straying from our diets just a bit (pshhh) during the holidays with all the candied sweet potatoes and egg nog we are about to consume. For now, try to eat as healthy as you can so your body won’t be too angry at you come the new year.
Finally, make sure to carve out you time during the holidays! You’ll likely be spending a lot of time with family and friends over the next several weeks, so make sure to take some time to yourself to recuperate.
There ya have it! A guide to keeping yourself grounded professionally and personally over the next month and a half. Happy Holidays!