I admit that I may be painting myself as a bit of an odd duck here, but I’m the type of person who purposely avoids taking transit during peak hours, going grocery shopping when most others do, hitting the gym during busy times and just generally avoiding rush hours, crowds and mobs. So much so that my entire schedule, including holidays, is designed around the idea.
The notion may seem anti-social, but in fact I think it has more to do with an evolutionary principle. If I seek out things that I need or run errands when there are less people about, there will be less competition for available resources, and I won’t be nearly as stressed out as I might otherwise be. Obviously, because of work schedules not everyone has the ability to do this, but it’s one of the major advantages of working from home.
While the Cat’s Away, the Mouse Will Work
The holidays are not a great time for doing much of anything. The malls are packed, transit is unbearable, and even the gym gets prohibitively busy for about three or four weeks following Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. When there’s downtime for most, I spend the least amount of time on personal an leisure activities. Instead, I turn to work.
Work is the one refuge for the beleaguered loner during the holidays, for the very simple reason that almost no one else is doing any. This is especially beneficial if your job in any way involves competing with colleagues for publication space, as it does in my case, but it can also be useful in many other ways to any number different types of remote workers.
During the holidays, and especially the Christmas season, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the amount of Internet chatter going on. Twitter is a much less active place, as is Facebook, at least in my personal experience.
Even the news cycle seems to lull around Christmas, or maybe I just hear about it less because of the dip in social media activity. TV is totally bereft of any new content, and becomes a veritable wasteland of holiday special repeats and marathons of shows that last for 16 hours and can be pretty tedious, even if you’re a fan to begin with.
Your inbox fills up at a fraction of the pace you’re used to during ordinary working days, too. There was a day just recently when I received only five emails, total, for example. I can’t remember the last time that happened, but I guarantee it was long before I started making my money working online.
I know I already mentioned that there is less competition over the holiday period which can be good news for writers like me, but it also applies to other fields in less obvious ways. For example, holiday cover work is a great opportunity to make some extra money during a time when many people are on vacation. You’re especially well-placed to take advantage of this opportunity if you don’t yet have a family, or are semi-retired and don’t mind the time it takes away from your holiday.
In order to get some extra work over the holidays, make your employer and coworkers aware of your desire to help out long before the Christmas season actually hits. If you have to, make sure you put in some time beforehand training up and asking about how to go about doing the jobs you might be asked to cover when the time comes. If your organization is aware you know how to do the job, it’ll make their decision to use you when needed a lot easier.
A Gift for Yourself
While it can be hard to summon the motivation to go to work when everyone else around you is in the process of unwinding completely and enjoying the season, it an also be very rewarding. Just because the world slows down when the year winds down, doesn’t mean it stops completely. There’s still plenty of gears that need turning, and best of all, you’ll be in a much better position to pick and choose from a relative wealth of work.
Don’t get me wrong, I still crave a break. And a break I shall have, but it’ll be a time-shifted one, designed to take place at a time when everyone else has gone back to work.
Did you work over the holidays?