It's a crazy time of year isn't it? Looming deadlines, social events, awesome food. Here are my top tips for managing the craziness.
- Reassess Workload - There's always a frantic push to get things completed before Christmas. Some of the things you are working on deserve the priority and push, but more often that not, the pressure is caused by an arbitrary deadline - Christmas! Review what's on your plate. Be ruthless about what definitely needs to be done now and what could wait to January or even February. For one of my coaching clients this week, just having permission to consider that it might not all be urgent allowed for clearer decisions. In the long run it will also equal better quality work.
- Clarify Expectations - At this time of year we add in heaps of extra social events, more food and alcohol. We have people around for meals and celebrations. Invest time in clarifying expectations for yourself and the people around you - Boss, partner, kids, colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc. Get a clear picture of what people expect and then work out what's actually achievable. We are having family over for Christmas lunch. We started making a list of all the things we wanted to do around the house before hand. It was a big list, and was never going to happen. That's a recipe for stress and disappointment. We got down to what was really important and why, and made a plan from that. Everyone is clear. We keep talking and updating each other as things are done, or timeframes change.
- Survey Obligations - Lot's of people feel obliged to do all kinds of stuff at this time of year. Catch up with everyone. Drink or eat to much. Stay up late. A bit like work load, some of this can be done next year. It's OK to say no.
- Build Buffers - When you are making your plans, don't forget to factor time for packing, travel, organising yourself and the people around you, and down time. Be realistic about when and where you can be places.
- Help Out - Notice when the people around you are feeling the pressure. Do small (or large) things for them that take the pressure off. It might be as simple as the dishes, or taking the bin out. It might be more more than that too. Be kind to each other.
- Add Gratitude - Take a few moments out, preferably daily, to be thankful. All the frantic deadlines and celebration can have us distracted from the many good things and people that surround us. Say thanks when people do things for you. Notice and appreciate what you have. Research consistently shows that daily practice of gratitude is one of the best things we can do for our mental wellbeing, resilience and outlook. You might like to add it to your nightly conversations with people, express it in art or keep a journal. If you lead a team be sure to express your gratitude for their work.
- Stay Healthy - Drink plenty of water. Keep up with the sleep - add some 20 min power naps here and there. And smash heaps of fresh fruit and veggies as well as all the rich yummy stuff we both know we are going to eat. That will help to keep your body and mind in reasonable shape.
- Get an Elf - Seriously! The little guys are so productive and cheerful they just catch you up their enthusiasm.
Next week we'll look at fatigue and some tips to manage that.