Today, I’d like to to be the one asking for some advice…

You see – it’s holiday season which means chasing deadlines, demanding client needs, and of course – the Company Holiday Party!

GIF from the TV show "The Office" of a man in a santa hat asking "is this enough to get 20 people plastered"

This is the time of year that is trying both personally and professionally. Everything in the media is telling us we’re not doing enough – and to boot, we’re trying to stay balanced and do our best to meet our client needs with also minding our internal teams capacity.

To me, the holiday season always feels like Finals Week in college. I’m really just trying to “get through” until I can go home and veg out on my Parent’s couch. But alas – we’re grown adults now and this isn’t an option. The good news is, we’re getting paid this time though! Woo!

What I want to ask, is how can PM’s can find balance in this busy time?

So, I asked a couple friends in the industry about how they stay sane in this time of year. Know – I’m personally working on MANY of these… and in fact they are too.


1. Balance

“DRINK HEAVILY! I tease. Remember to eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise. I feel like when I’m busy exercise is the first thing that gets neglected, but it’s also the one thing that makes me feel the best.”

“While people at work may feel like family, there is your actual family at home waiting for you. We’re not curing cancer. So get home and be with your family who loves you for who you are outside of work.”

2. Project Manage Yourself

“The holidays can be a hectic time of year, so as clients sometimes slow down I like to shift some of my energy to making sure I get the most out of the time with family and friends. I’ll let personal projects and errands creep into my work time management habits. I maintain a separate Christmas to-do list (and one for my wife’s birthday on December 29th), and every morning I put tasks from those lists on my daily work to-do list. I’ll take lunch hours alone to do holiday planning, or cut out early to pick-up gifts. And as a PM I get the satisfaction of marking things [DONE]. I think the key is to have a list to capture all of your holiday ideas, and then to give yourself time out of the work day to focus on it. If you have to stay late some nights to make up for it, your family will see the result of your effort when you do finally shut it down for the break.”

3. Enjoy Your Company Party

“Drink the wine. Eat the food. You deserve it. Just make sure you go home before you black-out. Speaking from experience… ”

  • Your beloved Dear DPM RR

What are you doing out there to stay sane? Have you every had to choose work over family during the holidays?

Have a Company Party horror story? Tell us all about it.


Robyn Birkedal

Robyn Birkedal

I’m Robyn, a Portland, OR based digital project manager. I’ve been in the industry for the past 10 years and have produced a wide swath of digital efforts including websites, product UX/UI, digital experiences, social, and even a national broadcast spot. I hate bitmojis and pickled herring. I love memes and charcuterie. Outside of that, I’m a mom and probably the world’s most lazy crossfitter.

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