Meeting Scheduling, Productivity

Your holiday schedule, without the stress

Meeting Scheduling, Productivity

Holidays, the ultimate time to relax. What a load of crap.

You know how it really goes, don’t you? Scramble to finish all the work you need to complete to hit your annual goals. Frantically track down misdelivered packages. Struggle through bottlenecks at the airport. Bottlenecks on the highway. Bottlenecks in store checkout lines. And that’s all prior to factoring in dealing with your eccentric relatives (or in-laws). Oh joy, indeed.

If reading that paragraph doesn’t make you exhausted, rest assured some part of your holiday schedule will. In fact, the American Psychological Association found that 69% of people find the holidays stressful because of a “lack of time.” What’s more, 25% feel “extreme stress,” and 45% would prefer to skip Christmas altogether! Gah!

Plus, it’s not as if you can really stop thinking about work. According a 2017 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 84% of businesses reopen their offices the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We’re letting the Grinch win, people!

It doesn’t have to be this hard. Being the authorities in scheduling efficiency, we’re here to help you manage your time during and around the holidays, whether you’re on the clock or off the clock.

Block off days or times that are absolutely off limits

Depending on what and when you and your family celebrate, certain days or nights during the holidays may be non-negotiable in terms of taking phone calls or responding to emails. It’s important to recognize the importance of those moments, and set yourself up to remain present during the times that matter most.

x.ai lets you specify OOO times, which alert our AI scheduling assistants to schedule nothing during a specific stretch of time. Those times will also be blocked from your x.ai Calendar Page, so no surprises will pop up on your holiday schedule.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to achieve a hybrid of work and relaxation during your holidays, you can alter your scheduling hours for each day of the holiday week. For instance, say you’re working remotely Wed. the 26th and Thurs. The 27th this year, but want to keep the afternoons open for family activities. You can adjust your availability for phone conferences or Zoom calls to mornings on those days, and keep time reserved for hitting the slopes (or the beach, if you’re somewhere warm).

Speaking of travel, x.ai also does time zone conversion for you while you’re on the go, so you can have Amy + Andrew set up meetings for you and adjust for meeting guests that may be back in the office. Simply specify the locations of your parties, like so, “Hi Amy, schedule a Zoom call with Dennis for Thursday morning. I’ll be in Denver, he’ll be in NYC.”

It’ll be easier if you use our software, but even if you’re manually blocking off days or relying on traditional OOO emails, it’s important to keep some parts of your holidays reserved for time together. Your loved ones will be grateful, and so will you.

Set reminders ahead of time

Flight times. Special gifts. Cooking prep. There’s a lot to remember during the holiday bustle, and you’ll do yourself a world of favor by planning ahead. With so many moving parts, a to do list that isn’t directly connected to your calendar is a dubious solution at best.

Resist the temptation to abandon your calendar entirely. Instead, use our AI scheduling assistants to set all your reminders ahead of time and optimize your holiday schedule. Need 4 hours to cook an ambitious meal? Send Amy an email to set a reminder to start cooking the day of the meal (and perhaps add a little wiggle room if you’re attempting something for the first time). You can do the same for all the little logistical curveballs the holidays throw your way, like picking up a custom gift, sending out holiday cards so they’ll arrive on time, or leaving for the airport so you’ll make your flight without freaking out.

Especially if you’ve followed our first suggestion, looking at your calendar during the holidays won’t be the same as diving back into work, it’ll be keeping you on track to maximize your seasonal enjoyment.

Easily reconnect with contacts near your travel destinations

A whopping 49% of Americans shell out for flights during the holidays, with a record 107.3 million traveling at least 50 miles last year. Whether you’re returning to a childhood home, or going to a major metropolitan location, there may be some opportunities to reconnect with contacts and friends you don’t typically get to see.

They’ve got their own crazy list of things to do, so why complicate finding a time? Because x.ai’s scheduling software works across so many different contexts, you can easily find a time that works for both parties, and choose the level of formality that suits the relationship. Haven’t seen this person in a decade? Craft a perfectly worded email and gracefully handoff scheduling to Amy or Andrew. See this friend every other year to grab a beer? Text them a link to your x.ai Calendar Page and let them choose a time that’s convenient for them. Make sure to adjust your scheduling hours for drinks or coffee and mark yourself available during mornings or nights that are flexible.

These three steps make it easy to keep unwelcome stress off your holiday schedule, and prime you for a confident, organized start to 2019. Don’t believe us? Sign up for a free 14 day trial and see for yourself. One more stressor we’ll take off your plate? There’s no credit card required.