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Balancing Business and Holidays

A lot of folks I know talk about how they are going to be busy with family time and down time over the holidays. They say that this time of year is great for sports and eating and drinking and other fun activities they enjoy. The last thing they want to do is think about their work, let alone going into the office. I agree and hoped to land there, too.

Isn’t it funny, though, how those plans can change, quickly, as the days pass? One colleague sent an e-mail (not a call or text, thank goodness) late on Christmas Day, with a work related question. Perhaps he had had enough of his family already or maybe he just could not wait for an answer to a question that was bothering him. His choosing a less intrusive means of contact – I do not sit waiting for e-mail to arrive but check it periodically – was helpful to me. I was able to ponder the question and take the time to formulate a useful answer (sent the next day) which I might not have been able to do during a phone call.

Another colleague called on the day after Christmas wanting to discuss a couple of business ideas. We set a time to meet and go over the material before the end of the year. What was good about the approach here was the ability to protect one’s holiday time and time off while at the same time taking care of the business at hand. There was no urgency – real or false – to the tasks, thank goodness. If, however, an emergency had arisen, then there was the flexibility to postpone some of the merry-making and handle the problem without delay.

My basic thought on all of this is that one may be better off treating the needs of our business and the means of instant communications we enjoy as our helper and not our controller. Too many of us, it seems, feel the urge to be always alert for communications and place responding to them ahead of our own family and enjoyment, even when we are ostensibly on holiday.  

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