For many of us, the Holiday season is also the end of our fiscal year and one of our busiest quarters, if not THE busiest quarter. While we have a head full of personal to-do lists, at our jobs we still have a few items left to complete before year end. And let’s not forget that the best way to get off to a great start for the coming New Year is to get organized and create a plan now!
So what’s the best way to squeeze all the additional “joy” into the season and still finish the year strong at the office? Many would say, “Just say no.” Do less, plan less, don’t over buy, over commit, over_____ (you fill in the blank!) For me, I want to go for it. I love every minute of the additional social activities this time of year, time with my family, friends and work associates outside of the office. I love the decorations, the parties, the food (OK, maybe not the calories) and the gift-giving. I want it all!
Here are some ideas for how to enjoy the Holidays and still deliver your business objectives without collapsing in a heap on January 2nd!
For your job:
- Start planning for December challenges early. People are busy in December and if you need to schedule end of year meetings, get on the calendar early.
- Have a goal in mind for what you need to accomplish this month. Even if it is getting organized, go into the month with a plan.
- Focus on results – not hours. Maybe you will need a long lunch here or there and putting in 50 hours a week this month just won’t happen. As long as the end result is positive, it won’t matter!
- Keep track of vacation time for yourself, co-workers and customers. If you need to collaborate to accomplish your goals, you will need to allow for vacation time for those that are on your team and plan accordingly.
- Resist the temptation to use work time for shopping on-line or completing your Christmas cards.
- Take time to show appreciation for your customers and those members of your team that you just couldn’t do without.
- Allow yourself to enjoy the Holiday spirit even at the job. We work hard all year and this is a great time to acknowledge that many of the people around you are pretty cool and enjoy their company over a plate of Christmas cookies in the lunch room!
For your personal life:
- Make a list of what you need to get done and update often.
- Identify things you can buy on-line so you can maximize your time out shopping.
- Decide on must-haves, must-dos, must sees. Since we probably can’t say yes to every event or invitation, it would be nice to plan for the ones that would really be disappointing to miss.
- Encourage gift exchanges when possible. It is nice to buy a gift for all of your friends, family, neighbors, and work associates but with time and money in short supply a gift exchange provides the joy of giving and a bonus of time spent with people you care about.
- When entertaining, focus on the celebration not the trimmings. Decorate the room where your guests will be and close the doors to the rooms they don’t need to see. It is ok to use pretty paper plates and skip digging Grandma’s Christmas china out of the basement. And by all means, keep the menu simple or invite your guests to bring a dish. Most people enjoy sharing their favorite appetizer or desserts with their host.
- Make it a family affair. Gather the kids and wrap gifts together. Set aside a Sunday afternoon to bake cookies and package trays for friends and family. You will enjoy the time together and many hands really do make light work! Play a favorite Holiday movie or Christmas CD while you all work together.
- If you are going to send cards, pick up stamps early and organize your address database in advance. Printing address labels will save a lot of time addressing and doesn’t take away from your handwritten note inside the card. And if you are a techie – give yourself permission to deliver Christmas greetings in an email or social media post. Your techie friends will appreciate it just as much and if you need to, you can always pick up a few cards for those that are not technology friendly. By the way, don’t assume that Aunt Millie isn’t on Facebook – she just might be!
- While there is a lot going on in the evenings and on weekends, this is not the time to stop taking care of yourself.
- Try to get normal sleep, especially during the week when you have to get up for work the next day. If you have a late night, follow it up with a night at home to catch up on those Holiday movies we all love so much!
- Everything in moderation. That goes for all those Holiday cocktails as well as the cookies, candies, desserts and rich foods. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated just in case you failed on the moderation tip!
- Try to keep your exercise regimen during this month. Skipping a work out does free up some time before or after work but it won’t help with keeping your energy level up and we all know how easy it is to get out of that habit that we worked so hard to get.
- Find time to relax and reflect. Think about all of your blessings and all the people that have made an impact on your life. Gratitude has a wonderful way of improving our sense of well-being.
- Enjoy yourself! If you don’t put too many expectations on yourself, you can just enjoy this very festive and fun-filled time of the year without stressing out. Let’s do it!