How To Be Present During The Holiday Season

I love the holiday season.  It is a time for joy and celebration.  It allows me to spend more time with family and have more relaxed social bonding time with my work team.  There is more laughter and reflection during this time. It is also the time in the calendar year where my heart is divided the most and I wrestle with where to place my energy and focus and presence. Is it the same for you and your team?

On the work side, there are year-end reviews, plans for next year, day-to-day labors, tasks to be completed, projects to wrap up, year end goals to make, and more.

On the home side, there are travel plans, receiving family plans, shopping for presents, decorating the house, kids stressing out over finals, kids on vacation from school (while you are still working), and the myriad of emotions that surround the holiday season.

If we really looked at it, it is exhausting and exciting at the same time.

This pull in emotions and time leads companies to see a drop in productivity during the holidays and rightly so. Less business transactions create greater overall stress. If you are in a business that is heavily based on the holidays, you are putting more hours into work during this time while juggling time with family and friends.

This is a time for most of us where our truest priorities show up.  What we truly value is emphasized and we put off what is less important.

There is a principle here that can help us throughout the calendar year: If we want to be present in the workplace and at home, we have to make hard choices as to what things we are going to focus on.  I suggest that we look at what is most important to our role at work and what is most important for our home life and emphasize that.

1. At work, what is the most important part of your role?  As you process what is most essential in your role, imagine if you went all in there and saw the most success.  How could you emphasize that during the rest of your holiday season? Can other priorities hold off until the new year?

Is it too late? Are there too many other things that have to get done? Then, how could next year’s holiday season be better?

2. At home, what is the most important part of your home life?  How could you go all in there? Where do you need to invest well in your family? In what relationships or settings do you need to be more present?

With both of these questions, look for a theme more than a task.  Look for a way you can get into the groove and stay there.

The most important part of my role at work is to “get to the heart” of my clients’ concerns. During the holiday time when things are slower, I can focus on a key ingredient that helps me get to the heart. For me, that ingredient is building the relationship I have with them. Within that goal, writing holiday cards and setting my clients up to continue the "heart" work in the new year is key.

At home, that same “getting to the heart” priority can shine through.  There, it is about really connecting to my wife’s and children’s hearts and truly listening, enjoying, laughing, and having fun with them. Although we may be doing various tasks, traveling, and celebrating, my focus is always connecting with their hearts.

Chew On This:

  • What can I prioritize to be most present both at home and work this holiday season?


Ryan C. Bailey is an Executive Coach who helps business leaders develop in-demand high performing teams.

*This blog is an amalgamation of a few different clients.  No one single client is being singled out.