How to Maintain Work-Life Balance as an Exhibitor During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is that time of the year where lots of exhibits and trade shows happen. And as an exhibitor, it is also during this time that you might find yourself the most stressed out and drained. While exhibiting is, of course, already known to be a time-consuming and exhausting task, this does not mean that it is impossible to have a work-life balance. You can never get rid of the pressure brought about by deadlines, and you also can’t just quit multitasking. But the good news is that there are certain things that you can do to keep yourself from being too exhausted during the busy holiday season.
It always feels great when an exhibit or a trade show goes just as it was planned, right? Kudos to your planning and scheduling prowess! Now, to have a work-life balance, you will have to use those scheduling skills in your own personal affairs as well. In planning your week or day and scheduling your activities, you should also keep your own interests in mind. The things that you do during your free time are as important as the things that you do for work. You must prioritize time for your hobbies, for going out with your friends, for spending time with your family, or even for just doing nothing at all. Having the time to do the things that you like to do will give you the opportunity to regain your energy and perhaps become even more focused and efficient. Schedule dates with yourself and stick to them the way that you stick with your business commitments.
Here are other things that you can do to balance your work and personal life during the holidays:
- Plan to do something that you’ve never tried before. Yup, you are super busy with work. But as much as possible find time to try out something new, even it’s just for one hour a week. Doing new things will lead you to new ideas and you’ll find that you will see the world in a different perspective.
- Give yourself a digital timeout. Technology such as phones and the internet are definitely essential for an exhibitor, but sometimes, these pieces of technology can also be a time blackhole where hours disappear, and you don’t know where they went. During the hours that you have scheduled specifically for personal activities, at first try to turn off your email and Facebook notifications then graduate to turning off your phone entirely. Doing this will be helpful to you, especially if you are someone who has the habit of always checking your voicemails and emails even if you are spending time with.
- Get help from others. Don’t do all the work by yourself! Trade shows and exhibits work best when team members are helping out one another. Learn how to incorporate colleagues and assign tasks to people. This also means that you have to learn to trust that these people will do their jobs well. For example, just as you may need help from a friend or family member with taking care of your children, you may need assistance from others in the exhibition business that work as your partner.
- Set aside time that you can spend with your family and friends. Finding time for the important persons in your life is crucial, and it is not something that you should just put off because work has gotten in the way. Career is important, but your personal life should not be compromised because of it. It cannot be denied that work and business are vital to one’s professional success. However, making plans with family and friends for the holiday season and actually sticking to them is just as, if not more, essential. Do not wait for free time to come because most likely, it won’t come. Instead, carve it out and commit to spending it on the people that really matter to you. Also, make time when at the show to have a regular check in with family. Skype or Facetime with those you love to stay connected while you are away.
- Have an open communication with your coworkers and family. Being able to properly communicate with people in your work life and personal life plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. If your family knows about all the exhibits and other projects that you are working on, there’s a better chance that they will understand just how occupied, busy, or exhausted you are. It’s the same thing for your vendors and coworkers. If you let them know the times or dates that you have devoted to your personal activities, they will be more able to adjust their own schedules. Most of the conflicts that occur in people’s work-life balance are due to the failure to communicate properly. Knowing the communication methods that work well for you will allow you improve your general well-being.
- Schedule a break. This break can be as short as a couple of hours every evening, a longer lunch hour to shop for gifts, a rest day after a hectic weekend on the show floor, or even (imagine!) a quick 3-day vacation. It’s the holiday season after all! Take some time off to have your own adventures and events. Doing so will allow you to really disconnect from work. Time off (even if it’s just short) will help you re-energize and bounce back to work with greater Try your hardest to just focus on your relaxation. As long as you are confident that you have delegated tasks accordingly and that you have made the necessary arrangements, there will be no need to feel guilty about taking a break from work.
We all know that the life of an exhibitor involves schedules that change all of a sudden and unexpected conflicts popping up. However, creating rules for yourself and setting guidelines for balancing work and your personal life can significantly help you allocate your time, prioritize your tasks, and prepare for whatever issues that may come up particularly during the holiday season.
Inevitably, there are urgent tasks that you would really have to complete even after your designated work hours or perhaps meetings that you simply cannot miss. You can make occasional exceptions. However, as much as possible, try to stick to the work-life guidelines that you have set for yourself.
Once you are able to do this, you will have a better chance at finding a healthy work-life balance, which will allow you to feel more fulfilled with your career and become a much more thoughtful family member and friend.