Presents. Network meetings. Parties. Holidays. Cards to write. No wonder for many of us, the Christmas and New Year is the Season of Stress. We all have so many things to do but so little time in which to do them. What is the answer?
Reduce Your Christmas Stress!
Santa used to be one of those people who finished work at Christmas feeling FRAZZLED rather than JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT. But with the help of a few simple strategies, Santa now finishes his work not only ready for Christmas but refreshed and ready to start again in the New Year!
Santa’s secret is to take a little time to use a few time management strategies helping him to feel in control, rather than feeling like he is on a mad Christmas merry-go-round.
Here are Santa’s Secret Strategies to Reduce Christmas Stress
#1: Make a List and Check It Twice
If it works for Santa, it will work for you. And if you remember, Santa always checks his list once and he checks it twice making sure he reviews it! Never mind your iPhone and Outlook planners, keep it simple. Just divide a page into two columns. Now make a list of the things you must do in one column (e.g. buying presents, planning next year’s schedule and finishing key projects). In the second column list the things you want to do (e.g. going to parties, thanking your team and enjoying the festive season).
As you accomplish each one take pleasure in crossing it out. The simple joy and pleasure of seeing your list of tasks checked off is as good if not better than a glass of mulled wine – well maybe not!
#2: Choose Your Traditions
Like Santa, many of us do what we do just because we always have – it’s like a tradition. Often, such traditions or routines contribute to putting us under pressure, therefore the trick is to be more selective.
Ask yourself, do I really need to spend hours writing and sending Christmas cards or going to meeting after meeting when an email or a telephone call might suffice. Each task you eliminate or find a quicker way to complete, the more time you will have to work on other tasks on your list – you might even find you can eliminate tasks from your list.
#3: Start Tasks as Early as You Can
Did you know that Santa prepares for Christmas all year – he doesn’t leave it until a few days before Christmas? There is nothing preventing you from decorating your home or planning your pre-Christmas tasks in November. Stretching out your pre-Christmas planning and tasks over a longer period of time can really help reduce Christmas stress, so just like Santa start planning your Christmas early.
#4: Get Help – Find some Elves
There is no rule that say you have to buy and wrap all the Christmas presents – you can always delegate all or some of the tasks you need completing. Think of delegation as giving yourself a gift by delegating tasks and even using contractors or experts to cook your Christmas dinner or to evaluate the effectiveness of your pre-Christmas sale. But beware of being a Christmas grouch by delegating too many tasks too late – delegate early to enable your teammates to prepare their early Christmas plans.
#5: Beat the Christmas Crowds
The Christmas crowds can be avoided by shopping on-line with presents delivered straight to your door. Everyone else is rushing to complete their task list so reduce your stress by shopping early. Instead of starting a new project or having that product planning session in December do it in November. Create time and space before the Christmas rush.
#6: Avoid Rushing Around in a Christmas Panic
To reduce stress, pre-plan and coordinate your journeys. Look for ways to combine trips and tasks so you only need to travel once. At your team meeting, discuss all four topics in one meeting and cancel the other two meetings. And just like children on Christmas Eve, make sure you go to bed early and on time which means starting and finishing meetings on time and – I guarantee you will sleep better!
#7: Convert Chores into Events
Do things together with others like wrapping your Christmas gifts or preparing the Christmas lunch or putting up the Christmas decorations. Have a brainstorming session with your team to plan next year’s sales strategy or buy a tin of celebration chocolates and hold your staff appraisals with a cup of coffee and some chocolates.
#8: Slow Down, Relax and Enjoy the Moment
You’ve been a good boy or girl all year therefore take time to enjoy Christmas. Take time to drive around looking at all the pretty Christmas lights with your team. Enjoy the moment and reflect on the year’s achievements. Which lights do you like best and which successes and tasks have given you the most satisfaction this year? What did you learn this year that might help you to enjoy next year even more?
#9: Make Your Christmas Plan for Next Year
Keep your list of who sent you and you sent Christmas cards to ready to help you write next year’s cards.
Top tip: Give yourself an early Christmas present by keeping this year’s pre-Christmas plan and use it as the basis for next year’s plan. Yes, of course some people may no longer be on your card list and you might need to add some new friends and acquaintances. The same applies to your pre-Christmas plan – some tasks might have disappeared, and new ones added.
#10: Take Time to Celebrate
Just as with Santa when you have delivered all of your gifts, take time for a glass of sherry and a mince pie and celebrate on a good night’s work – or rather a good year’s work!
For more top tips on reducing your Christmas stress and increasing your time management skills and productivity check out:
- Multi-tasking is NOT the Key to Productivity
- The Key to Productivity – Who is to Blame?
- Stress Management Top 10 Tips for Christmas
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