This CEO still works during the holidays: 'Follow these 5 rules to stay sane and stress-free'

Nina P. | Twenty20

It's the busiest time of the year — and while your family and friends may expect you to put your phone down and lean in on quality time, your job might be tugging at your sleeve and pulling you back.

According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 66% of Americans say they've worked while on vacation, and 14% say it's created friction with family members.

As the founder and CEO of a fast-growing company, Hint, it's not often possible for me to fully disconnect over the holidays. But I've found that with the right approach and firm boundaries, you can strike a balance. In fact, I always follow these five rules to stay sane and stress-free:

1. Communicate upfront with your family.

The last thing you want is for your partner, kids, or extended family to be surprised when you arrive for Christmas and jump immediately on a conference call.

If I know I have to check-in at the office, I'll let my family know as far in advance as possible. Of course, work emergencies can pop up at any time, but you can still give a heads-up if you think there's a chance you might have to put out a fire.

2. Designate a few stretches of 'online time.'

Make it a point to manage expectations with your colleagues: Let them know when you'll be unavailable, what time zone you'll be in, and any other logistical details that they need to know.

You can communicate to your colleagues, for example, that you'll only be checking work email a few hours a day. This will allow you to disconnect as much as possible during the rest of the day and schedule activities with your family.

3. Find a workspace.

If you're staying with your family, it might not be the ideal place to get work done.

We've all been there — the WiFi isn't great, there are a ton of kids running around, your mom gets passive aggressive when you check your phone. Lower your stress levels and boost productivity by booking yourself a designated workspace.

Be sure to ask your boss if you can expense the cost. And, if you are the boss, consider allowing employees who work over the holidays to do the same.

4. Plan a few surprises for your family while you have to work.

Whether it's planning a spa day for your partner or treating your kids to an afternoon at the movies, there are plenty of ways to say, "Thank you for putting up with me."

This nice gesture shows them you're thinking of them and want them to enjoy the holidays, even if you have to spend some time at a desk or on the phone.

5. When you unplug, be fully present.

When that big project call is over or your end-of-quarter reports have been sent to accounting, don't hesitate to put your phone on airplane mode and enjoy the moment.

No matter how stressful they may be, the holidays can still create some of the most magical moments you have with your family. You can even get your job done while making the most of this special time of year.

Kara Goldin is the founder and CEO of Hint Water Hint. She is also the founder of The Kara Network (TKN), an online resource for aspiring and thriving business-minded people. Listen to her podcast, Unstoppable, where she interviews founders, entrepreneurs, and disruptors. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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