With that in mind, here are some pointers to keep you from settling into a seasonal work slump:
Don’t shop on the clock. Sure it’s great to have the option of shopping at 10 a.m., when stores are decidedly less busy. Just plan your shopping trips carefully, so your work doesn’t suffer or fall behind. Online shopping is a great alternative for those of us who are already on the internet 24/7, but be sure you aren’t cruising Amazon.com while still logged into your team room!
Don’t be a ‘yes’ man. Just because you can drop everything and run to your child’s school for the holiday bake sale, doesn’t mean you have to. Just because you could add a new client this month doesn’t mean now’s the right time to do it. Sit down now and plan what you will volunteer for this month, what events or parties you will attend and what kind of work hours you can put in. If things look daunting, start saying ‘no’ – and keep saying it.
Do put your kids first. If you have kids, chances are you’ll have a lot more time with them this month, so consider in advance how to spend it. Kids are only young once–should you take a week off work to enjoy them? And can you afford it? Setting up a week that you will be unavailable to your clients is probably better than promising things you can’t deliver when your kids are out of school and running in circles around your ankles.
Don’t spend more than you can work. There’s little doubt you are going to spend more money than usual this month, just don’t slack off on work and make things worse. Work as much as you can in the early weeks of December and keep your spending on a tight leash to avoid being broke by the end of the month.
Do write a mission statement for the holidays. That’s right. A mission statement. Summarize briefly what you think is important this month for your work life and your personal life, and then put it in four places where you’ll see it every day. Prioritize each day according to this statement and live by it all month. Reachable goals like more face time with loved ones or gaining one new client can leave you happy and satisfied Christmas morning before you even get to the presents.
Working from home can either liberate you or weigh you down — it’s all about how you do it. Having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. Here at oDesk, you’ll find the tips and tools to do it right.