Holidays have you feeling stressed for time and attention? Do you feel pushed, pulled and pressured to participate in every request for your time?
I know. It may be the most magical time of year for some but for many in today’s 24/7 world there’s a whole lot of stress served up along with those holiday trimmings.
The holidays can be a challenge as you attempt to balance obligations, family, friends and experiences all while trying to pay attention to what matters most. Here are 10 ways you can prioritize your efforts, simplify your life and make the most of these holidays.
- 15 Minute Mental List Release: Give your memory a break during the hustle and bustle. Take 15 minutes each morning to just do download your “mental list” of everything on your work/home to-do list and create a plan. Take tip from sales training pro and author Brian Tracy who shared, “It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.” We could all use time savings like that!
- One stop shopping: No time for mall madness or dashing through the snow? Let your fingers do the walking. Shopping online is perfect for knocking out your gift list on a deadline, having everything delivered timely, and many stores offer gift wrapping options. You can even “gift” Amazon Prime memberships now – how about that?
- Give experiences. Instead of a candle, wine or standard gift – you may consider giving an “experience” instead. “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” says Cindy Chan, an expert on consumer relationships. Have fun with it. Gift cards are also now available in wide varieties. One fun idea for couples or families are gift cards for the movies. It’s a luxury for a lot of people now and they’ll think of you fondly when they get to go on date night or have a night out for fun with the kids! Put a bag of popcorn in a padded envelope with the movie gift cards and you’ve got an awesome gift. Restaurants, spas, or gift certificates to an interactive experience like the Escape Rooms or Rock Climbing places that are cropping up everywhere are terrific ideas as well.
- Help with the clean sweep: Book a cleaning service to do some of your heavy lifting this season. Think of it as a gift you give yourself, your business, and your family. According to Meagan Francis, author of thehappiesthome.com, hiring someone to clean your home, especially during stressful times, is a smart management decision – it allows you to focus on bottom line production. It’s also good for the health of your family (be gone dust mites), and wonderful for your mental well-being.
- Put your VIPs on the top of your list: While you’re filling your calendar, be sure that high achieving team members are made to feel special with some one-on-one time and reward high performers with an early afternoon. Time off is a hot commodity this time of year!
- Ring-a-ling: Be sure you are setting aside a solid 15 minutes every day to call clients with warm holiday wishes. I love the advice Fordyce Letter of Recruiting Straight Talk shares, “For certain clients and prospects, a quick telephone call to wish them a happy holiday goes a long way to separating yourself from the competition. If you get their voicemail simply offer your best wishes and let them know you will follow-up in the New Year. Too many rule out the telephone at this time of year when it should be your first choice.”
- Gifting inspired action: Want a great gift idea? Think powerful productivity, communication or success books for your team that will fire them up for the new year. I recommend Folding Time (of course because this is my book!), Steal the Show (Michael Port’s great book makes a great gift for anyone in your life), and Fascinate (Sally Hogshead is a great speaker and friend and this book is awesome) … if you need more recommendations check out our blog.
- Delegate: More than almost any other time, delegate all the little things you can so you can stay focused on achieving your highest priority items. From family members to assistants, to virtual assistants to the neighbor’s college kid that is home on break and needs some cash for the holidays. Take those pesky items on your to do list that you don’t want or need to do and delegate! When it comes to deadlines, many hands make light work.
- Exercise: I said it. I know no one wants to think about it when there’s Christmas cookies to nibble and nog to sip. Without keeping our health and body on the list, we won’t have the energy we need to be our most productive selves. Might it require a little earlier rise in the morning or a shift in schedule? Probably. But you’ll feel better and you can try that slice of pie guilt-free!
- Make family and friends a priority: If you’re like most top producers, the holidays are times of year your family thinks you might be in stealth mode. Be sure this isn’t that time. Schedule in fun. Decorating. Laughing. Holiday movie watching. Down time. All work and no play never made anyone happier. Find the balance. Calm the chaos, stop and enjoy being in the present with everyone you meet today. And give generously of your time, smiles, hugs and encouragement.
Now, go out there and love every minute of the this sensational season. Breathe deep. Smile big. Get the most out of each day paying attention to what, and who, matters most!