I get it. This time of year is a scheduling nightmare. Most of us have our hands full keeping up with day to day life, and now you add holiday parties, celebrations, gift buying, and the obligatory visits that go with the most wonderful time of the year. Today, I’d like to give you tips on how to reign it all in, so you can get through the holiday season with your sanity (mostly) intact.
Use technology to stay organized. Really, we should be doing this every day, but if you don’t then now is a good time to start. The calendar, reminder, and note apps on your phone are valuable assets this time of year that I use daily. I also have an Excel spreadsheet titled “Christmas” with a color coded worksheet for gift shopping, and a worksheet with names and addresses for Christmas cards.
Work smarter, not harder. As popular as it is, multi-tasking is ineffective for most of us, because we get things done right the first time when we focus on one thing at a time, which is more effective than having to correct mistakes or do things you forgot later. Sit down to evaluate your schedule, and block out time to focus on a particular task each day and/or week. For example, this week, I’m focused on rounding out the Christmas shopping and gift wrapping. The weekend is for decorating. Next week is about writing and mailing Christmas cards. After that, we’ll focus on prepping for holiday visits and celebrations. Be patient and don’t try to do everything at once. There’s still time, so plan effectively. But do be flexible, too, in case the unexpected throws you off. The key is to get out ahead of things. As I always say: “it’s better to keep up than to catch up.”
Take time out for yourself. A therapist told me that everybody should have at least 20 minutes each day where they aren’t “at task” for mental stability. In other words, sit down, stop working, and let the world turn without you for a few minutes. Trust me, it’s been hurling through space for millions of years and won’t stop turning just because you take a break. In fact, that break is just what you need to keep going.
Eat right and exercise. If this is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, consider starting early. I know the last thing you need is one more thing to keep up with, but keeping yourself in good physical shape has more benefits than the number on the scale. You feel better when you eat better, and exercise increases your energy, stamina, immunity, strength, and overall mental state. You’ll feel better, think better, sleep better, and in turn accomplish more with less effort. Even if you can’t work daily, anything helps. Take a walk on your lunch break, or around your neighborhood after work. Anything helps.
Reward yourself. I started a personal tradition of buying myself one small gift every year that most people probably wouldn’t think to get me, but you can do this any way you wish. Take yourself out to lunch, go to an event that you’d like to try, or designate a “day in” where you do nothing but sit around the house in your pajamas and do what you want. If you can’t find time in the next few weeks, then do it after Christmas. Just do something by yourself and for yourself to acknowledge how awesome you are for handling the holidays.
Say “no.” You can politely decline an invitation without a reason. If you have too much going on and need a break when an invite arises, say this: “I’m flattered that you invited me, but I have to decline. Maybe we can get together another time when schedules are less hectic.” Simple, good, and perfect.
Be a decent human being. I know you’re stresses and don’t need crap off of people, but basic psychology proves that you attract more with honey than vinegar. Remember that how people behave is a 100% reflection of them, not you. Unfortunately, this is true for you as well. You don’t have the right to be a jerk just because others are being a jerk, so please take a deep breath, take a time out if your temper is starting to burn, and put it in perspective. Bullying, yelling, or “putting people in their place” leads to more self sabotage than results, and you never know who you’ll need to cross paths with later. Losing it will only make things worse, so don’t go there. If you take these tips, then it should be easier to keep your cool and stay calm, which science also shows wins more arguments than who can be the biggest jerk.
The holidays are a fun time of year, but they can also be hectic. I hope these seven tips give you some balance to make it through this season graciously, gracefully, and with a lot of good memories for the future.
That's all today. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.