Seasonal Survival

by Country Inns & Suites
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 With organization, planning and delegation, your holiday season can be stress free.  A few simple strategies can help you beat year-end stress at work and enjoy a blissful holiday.  By Beth D’Addono
Managing year-end work and holiday stress sends Tom Callan’s usually frenetic schedule into overdrive. A partner in a New York–based investment management firm, Callan travels at least seven days a month. By December, he’s working double time to manage office responsibilities that include client entertaining, employee functions and getting portfolios positioned for the coming year. “The end of the year is insane for us,” says Callan. “The first three weeks of December are brutal.”

Everything from preparing end-of-year financials to dealing with staff shortages to planning the office holiday festivities—all on top of getting the normal work done—can create a pressure cooker. Coping with the stress can be a challenge.

“Learning how to rely on others can be a survival key,” says Dr. Billie Blair, president and CEO of Change Strategists Inc., an organizational change management firm. “Make it collaborative. Discuss with colleagues how to go into the holiday season doing things better, smarter. If you work with an administrative assistant, enlist their help in pre-screening for unnecessary actions or contacts and generally maintaining a calm office environment.”

“Delegate duties you just can’t get to, so your energy is spent on those things that only you can do,” says doctor of psychology Nancy Irwin. “It’s really unfair to poison the rest of the family or co-workers with your shortness or anxiety. Find creative ways to manage it and ask for help. That is what assertive, powerful people do.”

Try these stress-busting tips to ensure that year-end pressure doesn’t ruin your holidays:

Write it down. Get your goals on paper. Decide what’s reasonable, and ask your supervisor to help set priorities.

Hire. If it’s feasible, bring on an interim manager, consultant or marketing professional to take on immediate, short-term assignments for only as long as necessary, clearing your desk in the meantime.

Schedule. Make a master calendar of November and December. Cross off the week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas. Fill in all the “must-dos” and see what’s left over for the “want-to-dos.”

Prioritize. List business and personal obligations. Rate them on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being extremely important and 4 being not important. Dump all the 4s, and if you really want a calm holiday season, dump the 3s, too.