Working in the Twilight Zone

Home for the holidays. I love it. Everyone does. I’ve put on a few pounds and put off a few projects. Here’s how to keep the dream alive when you’re traveling or on holiday.

Stick to your guns — In regular life I employ a morning routine to get my day started right. When I travel I have a shorter, more flexible morning routine that nonetheless gets me off the ground with my head in the game. Whatever your morning routine looks like in real life — develop a travel morning routine that crunches and adapts your typical morning schedule and use it when you travel, and over the holidays.

Carve out time — time abounds if you’re looking for it. Get up early, skip a movie or be the last one in bed. Be with those who you are with but don’t feel bad about slipping out if you need to work on things. Respect the space though, don’t be half working and half with family all the time. Create clear lines so that you can actually get work done instead of bouncing between watching the sports game and working. Head to a coffee shop, the basement or the porch to get some quiet. Don’t forget your headphones.

Dress — It’s easy to go un-showered, stubbled, or in sweats all day. If you’re used to working at home then you know the importance of taking yourself seriously and looking like the professional that you are. Plus, nothing advertises to your family that you take yourself seriously like the way that you present yourself.

Plan to not get it all done — You are home, or at the very least on holiday, it’s not going to all get done. You probably could use some time off the grind so enjoy it; drink coffee you’re not used to, sit at a table instead of a desk, shave with a disposable razor, adapt to the environment, be flexible and don’t show up for to the holidays with a mound of work to do. Be real about how much you’ll get done. Don’t play catch up your holiday. Bring a writing pad and a book and try to enjoy it.

If you’re still in the twilight zone — somewhere between Christmas and the New Year where you don’t really know that the day of the week is, or if you’re wondering how to make it through next holiday season without losing all your steam, or if you plan on traveling this year then this writeup is for you.