- Don’t unintentionally overcommit. All you high achievers & people pleasers, if you overcommit to complete the project on January 2 – you’ve increased the chances of working over the holiday break. Or if you commit now to completion before your break you may be working on your first “day off”. Renegotiate and manage due dates now. Beware of unintentionally overcommitting your way into working your holiday break.
- Stop being Clark Griswold. I’m guilty here. Everything will be magical and the most wonderful holiday ever! Stop. Spend your energy on what matters – like time to hang out with friends or family you don’t see that often, family game night or making hot chocolate with the kids. Let the search for the perfect gift or decorations go. Ask for help – let others contribute to the festivities. Time together will make the season memorable.
- Remember those who will experience a difficult holiday. The holidays are hard for those experiencing loss and the season only highlights what is missing. Pause and think about those who will have a difficult holiday and may prefer to skip the big events. Arrange time for coffee, call to check in or send a personal note to let them know you care.
- Schedule holiday lunches for January. If you are like me, if it isn’t already scheduled – it will be hard to pull off before the new year. Schedules are packed for the next few weeks. Instead of trying to fit one more thing in – give an invitation now for a new year’s lunch or toast. A favorite client confessed that December was too packed, so we agreed to toast the new year in early January.
- Make a list of what YOU enjoy most at the holiday. Many of you are managing work and are also the family planners who organize the parties, gifts and dinners. Stop and ask yourself – ‘what will make the holiday special to me?’ Not what will make others happy – but what will make you happy. For me it’s making time to talk and catch up with friends and family, quiet time by the tree with Christmas carols in the background, and a trip to IMAX to see the Polar Express. What are yours?
- Say a guilt free “no” when you need to say no. You can’t go to every party or send a gift to everyone. It’s ok to skip the Christmas cards. Decline the meeting that you don’t have time for rather than try to squeeze one more thing in. No guilt for saying “no”. Protect your time.
- Plan for recharge time even when you are busy. The holidays are typically a busier time for most of us. Clients want to wrap up the project before year-end. Leaders are planning 2019 now. Families have expectations. Decide now how you will recharge. A friend always heads out for her morning walk even with a house full of people – because that is time to regroup. Make sure you have a free night to relax.
- Have gratitude for 2018. Gratitude is powerful. Think about what you dreamed of at this time last year that actually happened. Focus on the small things that give meaning to your life. Nothing gives perspective like being thankful and gratitude even if 2018 wasn’t perfect or had disappointments.
- Begin your 2019 dreaming now. If you’re like me – the new year kicks off like a rocket. Our clients are ready to get started on 2019 priorities. This momentum can mean I miss the time I need to really stop and think about my goals and plans for the year. Use your down time over the holiday to think about next year and your future before you are standing in the middle of it.
- Simplify. Does this matter? Am I spending my time on the most important things? Is busyness of thought & actions getting in your way? Keeping these questions top of mind can help you make daily decisions. I’m still working on this, but I have learned that simplifying requires time to think a minute rather than constant motion or doing what you’ve always done.
Enjoy the holiday season! Remember what makes you happy and calm. Spend your energy on what matters most and don’t overcommit. May the next few weeks be filled with joy and special times with loved ones.
Patti Johnson is the CEO of PeopleResults. She can be followed on Twitter @pattibjohnson or @People_Results.