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As the holiday season approaches, we might want to take time to think of how we will handle balancing our family and social time with our work commitments. For most of us, our work expectations and workloads are not placed on hold while we enjoy the holiday festivities.

In fact, depending on your work or business field, it may become more taxing. You may experience bigger case loads or more customer or client needs to attend too. But the holidays may require more time and attention to family and social activities that might place you in not only a stressful, but a compromising position as a productive Native professional.

How do we balance our time and energy and maintain our sanity during the upcoming holiday season? Well, the first thing is to make sure we strategically plan out our time and activities over the next few months. Make sure you have your work objectives and social priorities intact, children’s holiday events, family dinners and community/tribal gatherings will all place a strain on our limited time. We must remind ourselves, that as Natives, the importance of our social commitments can be as important (if not more) than our work. However, the ideal strategy would be to attend to all our interests and maintain a healthy balance.

So, the first step to tackling a productive and enjoyable holiday season is to remain organized. Keep a careful, accurate calendar of events, activities and work objectives and be sure to include timelines, with some leeway for unexpected or unplanned holiday events. Be sure to consult with your family and colleagues about important events scheduled. You’d be surprised how a little planning could go a long way in helping you keep your sanity during busy and stressful times.

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The next thing is to make clear workplace goals and remind yourself what you need to accomplish over the next several weeks, keep track of your time and review your goals on a weekly, if not a daily basis. Although this is a recommended practice at anytime, it can be especially useful when you become overwhelmed or easily distracted with holiday activities.

Thirdly, be sure to pay attention to your physical health. Proper diet, exercise, plenty of rest and practicing proper preventive health measures will help you keep up with the physical demands of holiday activities. Stress can lead to many health problems, including greater susceptibility to seasonal bugs (the last thing you want to go through at this time).

And lastly, be sure to take time for yourself. Mental breaks and meditation are good practices. This will help you re-center your spirit and keep you productive. As Natives, many of us practice traditional meditation techniques; this is a good time to stay committed to these practices and traditions.

It is important that we maintain a good balance during the upcoming months. These tips may help you maintain your productivity, while you attend to your business or work needs. Your biggest goal should be to enjoy the most important things in life – family, friends and a GREAT holiday season!

Lucinda Hughes-Juan has many years of teaching and training in the fields of business and management, with a focus on the cultural dynamics in Native businesses and organizations. She is an enrolled member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. She holds an MBA in global management, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in business and organizational management. E-mail her at