Tiffany Couch
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As the work year comes to a close, our days are filled with projects to finish, next year’s goals and budgets to create, and too many goodies in the breakroom. Many of us are counting the days until we can take some much-needed PTO to recharge and enjoy the holidays with our friends and families. 

Meanwhile, business owners and managers are facing their own crunch time, worrying about how to make those annual holiday bonuses, figuring out next year’s plan, and longing for some time off of their own. Far too many business owners and managers spend holiday time playing catch-up and preparing for the new year, instead of taking much-needed down time of their own. 

So, how can everyone work together to prepare for holiday PTO that can be enjoyed by all? Here are 3 ways to get ready for some holiday season 'me' time. 

1. Pitch In

As you complete your projects, instead of using the countdown time to do menial tasks or check your social media a few more times, consider asking your coworkers or boss how you can be helpful to them. Not only does such an offer earn you points with the boss, it’s just another way to spread some holiday cheer. Even better? A relaxed and rested boss is a happier one. 

2. Defer to Next Year

Are end-of-year projects creating stress? Don’t have enough time to rid your desk of unnecessary paper or your email inbox of unnecessary messages? Stop and take a breath. Write a list of must-do’s between now and your PTO date. Focus only on those assignments that are necessary and defer all else to next year. Help your boss and coworkers do the same. 

3. Make it Fun

Business and personal stressors at this time of year can make the Grinch come out in all of us. No one wants to feel that way — and no one wants to work with someone who feels that way. Think of ways to make this time at work more fun. Whether it’s listening to your favorite holiday music in the car on your commute or bringing everyone’s favorite coffee orders to the office one morning, find ways to make this time fun, even when you're working hard. 

Need to lighten the mood in advance of an important EOY meeting? Start it by asking everyone to share their most favorite holiday memory. Not only will it lighten the mood, it will help bring you closer as a team. 

No one wants to slide into PTO feeling stressed or unaccomplished. There are few feelings better than walking away from your office on the last day before PTO ready to relax and enjoy the holiday. And even better? Walking away knowing that your coworkers and bosses feel the same way. Working together to complete projects, prioritizing what must be done before the new year, and making your time at work fun can mean all the difference between an enjoyable holiday season and a stressful one.

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Tiffany Couch is the CEO and founder of Acuity Forensics, a forensic accounting and fraud investigation firm that helps unravel complex financial crimes.