Best of the Rest: Happier Holidays

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s also the hardest time of the year to stay motivated and get work done.

Despite all the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer, the holiday season can be a very stressful time around the office and at home. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Like the decorations that have been up since Halloween, everywhere you turn it seems there’s another person offering another way to make the holidays work for you. Of course, some pieces of advice are better than others, and I’ve compiled some of my favorite ways to make your season even brighter.

1. Err on the side of caution if you’re in the gift-giving mood at the office. Though you’re probably in the clear simply because of the numbers—a recent CareerBuilder survey found that only 22 percent of people plan on exchanging gifts with co-workers and only 21 percent will give gifts to their bosses—you never want to get too personal. Sure, a gift card isn’t the most original gift ever given, but it’s practical and appropriate in this case.
What NOT to buy your boss for the holidays via CNBC

Lesson: Know your audience. If you don’t know someone at work really well, steer clear of the “personal” gift ideas you come up with.

2. Don’t get too distracted — you’ve still got a job to do. “The holidays are a festive time of year, but you still need to get your work done.” And so does everybody else. We know you’re doing some online shopping at work, but do your best to keep your personal and professional business separate.
4 Tips for Balancing Holiday Cheer and Your Career via Forbes

Lesson: People have a number of distractions to deal with when the holidays roll into work. Don’t add to them. Everyone still has work to do.

3. Don’t put your job search on hold because of the holidays. Just like work doesn’t stop because of the holidays (for the most part), businesses will continue hiring. Some companies find room in their budgets, and some people just decide to leave their jobs before the end of the year. Being available to start during this hectic time can make all the difference.
Why December is Prime Time For Your Job Search via AOL Jobs

Lesson: It pays to focus on your job search during the holidays. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy parties or take some time off – just don’t clock out entirely. You’ll have a lot more company after New Year’s.

4. Remember those who have helped you along the way. The year is almost over and, naturally, it’s a time to reflect on everything that’s happened in 2013. If anyone has helped you out along the way, whether they’ve helped personally or professionally, take this opportunity to thank them.
… Give thanks, not just gifts via Boston Business News

Lesson: Give to your network what you’d like to receive from it. At the very least, spending some time thanking those who’ve helped you out will be a nice change of pace.

5. It’s an awesome time to make new connections whether you’re employed or looking for a job. The holiday season means events galore, and this can be amazing for your professional network. If there’s an alumni event you’ve been invited to and you’ve never gone before, it’s in your best interest to attend.
Party Your Way to a New Job… via NETability

Lesson: Tis the season to network! Attend a few events and have a good time like everyone else; just make sure you don’t get too … jolly.

6. Take time off. On average, each American worker will throw away four vacation days this year. Don’t be one of them. Even small chunks of time off will boost your productivity, and this time is literally money. Just think of that old saying: “Nobody will say on their deathbed, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.’” It’s true.
Use it or Lose it: Reasons and Ways to Take Vacations From Work via U.S. News & World Report

Lesson: You’ve earned that time off, and you deserve to take it. In most cases, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

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