Plenty of people get stressed around the holidays. Schedules are disrupted, more demands are presented. Parties to go to, gifts to purchase, family to get ready for or to travel to, food to prepare, the list seems to go on and on. And the time to get it all done dwindles faster than it normally seems to. But all the busyness and stress takes away from the spirit of the holidays. There are ways to reclaim that spirit and get back to living a joyous life.
Simple holiday tips
Here are some tips for going from overwhelmed to overjoyed and having a sane and joyous holiday season.
Start planning early
Leaving decisions to the last minute raises blood pressure and might mean shortcuts or compromises will have to be made. Take some time with a notebook, make a mind map, write a list, do some doodling – whatever it takes for you to create your ideal and define it. A vision clearly seen is much easier to bring to life than a foggy, blurry semi-formed idea.
Keep things simple
The spirit of the holidays is what’s important. Connect with family and friends, deepen relationships, find things to be grateful for, laugh about, and enjoy. Take time to do things together. Holidays don’t have to be about getting fancy, they can be about authenticity and being present with each other.
Ask people what they want. Maybe you think you have to be clairvoyant to be a good gift giver, but sometimes asking someone is very simple and at least you’ll get them something they want. More than half of all Americans receive at least one unwanted gift during the holidays. Don’t just get the nearest gadget just to cross someone off your gift list. Be thoughtful and consider giving an experience, consumable or give to a charity in the name of someone.
You don’t have to accept ALL the party invites. And you can say no to rich food and excessive alcohol if you know that you won’t feel well the next day. Enjoy yourself at the party, but not at the expense of ruining the next day.
Share the workload
Let all the family members (or friends) help with preparations (or cajole them into it.) Create the festivities with everyone involved. They will feel more of a part of it and it will help to build your relationships through shared effort.
In the end, holidays are to be enjoyed. If you need help getting your home ready for guests, give us a call.
The first step to any project is clearly identifying the scope of the project. Specifying what your aims are as a closed project will help you to know when it is complete. However, you don’t need to drill down into the details as you’re outlining your project.
“Getting organized” is not specific enough. Equally, a list a mile long with specific instructions such as “Create 43 hanging folders, each labelled with 3.5 inch tabs with 20 point Arial font with the following labels… and filing all the loose paperwork into those folders, being sure to purge any utility bills older than…etc” is probably too much detail at the beginning of a project.
Here’s how to identify the scope of a project.
Choose an area to organize. It can be as small as a drawer in a bed side table, or a shelf in a closet. It could be as big as a whole room. (Again, “organize the whole house and the garage” is a bit too broad).
Imagine how you want the space to be at the end of your project, and make that your goal. You might want to specify that all horizontal surfaces are clear or with a certain number of decorative items remaining, or perhaps that all like objects are together, or that you only want one of each of the types of objects in the space. However you choose to state it, someone else should be able to come into the space and say, “Yes, you’ve done it!”
Know what you will do with the items that don’t belong in that space before you start. Dealing with these items should be part of your project – as long as they don’t expand the scope of your project. For example, you might need to move some items to the garage from the room you are organizing. If the new space is organized, then go ahead and put those things away. But if it’s not, it’s okay to put them in a holding place until you can organize them there. (See last week’s blog post about the domino effect
.) The point is to come back to the project you started, not to get distracted by another space.
One of the biggest concerns people have when they start an organizing project is where to start. We call it the domino effect.
There are some clothes in the home office that need to go to the bedroom closet, but the closet is stuffed, so we’d need to make some space in there to put the clothes away. There’s some sporting equipment in the closet that really should go in the garage, but there’s no room in the garage unless we put the bulk supplies in the pantry. But the pantry had a few boxes of paperwork that used to be for current paperwork, but that are now so stuffed that you can’t fit any more paperwork in there and the stuff in the boxes is kind of out of date and could either be recycled or archived in the home office, except there’s no room in the home office unless we take out the extra clothes that should be in the bedroom closet ….
It’s like a slide puzzle. And we want to do it with the fewest moves possible.
Start with making sure you have some space in the room you are working in. So purge (recycle, donate, return, sell) items you know can go. If you need instant gratification to give you some momentum, focus on large items you know you don’t want so you clear the biggest amount of space in a short amount of time.
Stay in one space. Resist the urge to start moving things in other areas. That way your effort will produce the biggest visible return.
Once you’ve cleared some space, you can use the space for one category that makes sense in that space. Sometimes that is nothing, and that’s okay.
To extrapolate, to start any overwhelming project, start with a small do-able piece. The start is the most important part. It’s easier to keep up momentum.
So you’ve got a big goal this year. Congratulations!
So, you’re in one of two places.
- You’re excited, you’ve already taken some action, things are rolling.
- You’re stopped. Suddenly you’re afraid of failing, overwhelmed, don’t know where to start. You’re about to decide that you didn’t really want that big goal anyway.
How do you go from being in category 2 into category 1?
Last week when you set your goals, you made them measurable. (How else can you know if you’ve achieved them or not?) Most goals have several actions that will lead to the successful outcome. We could put it like this:
Action1 + Action2 + Action3 = Result
For instance, perhaps you have a goal for a certain amount of income per month. Let’s take a simple example; a coach wants to make $40,000 per month. In order to do that, let’s say they need 32 clients a month. Their client load has 20 ongoing clients per month, so they need 12 new clients a month, or 3 a week. If their enrollment process (call/seminar/ lead generation) has a conversion rate of 25%, they need to speak to 48 new people a month to get those 12 new clients in a month.
So at this point, there are several possible strategies to meet the goal. Increase the client rate, increase the number of ongoing clients, increase their conversion rate, or increase the number of new people they are speaking to each month. Implementing any of these strategies will help to achieve the goal.
Change Action 1 + Change Action 2 + Change Action 3 = Change in Result
However, attempting to change everything at once will usually end in a worse result. It’s too much to focus on. So choose one strategy to work on at any given time. Determining the strategy that will have the biggest impact will give the coach the key metric to focus on.
In our example, since the coach is currently only speaking to 20 new people a month, they decide to focus on increasing the number of new people they speak to a month. So they track the number of new people they speak to and focus on increasing that number.
Which ever metrics you decide to track, make it easy to record the data and to retrieve reports as you progress towards your goal. If you need suggestions on what metrics are important, or how best to track them, give us a call.
Okay, so you set some new goals last week. Can you do them? Are they realistic? An important question to think about is do you have enough time and money to do what you want to do?
Here are some guidelines that will help with financial budgeting:
- Live within your means.
- Save first, spend afterward.
- Invest wisely – know how your dollars are being put to work – they might as well be doing something good in the world.
- Know how much you spend on necessities vs. discretionary items.
- Plan for everyday expenses and one-off expenses as well as allowing for unexpected expenses.
- Treat the numbers objectively. It’s better to pay off a high interest credit card first than a low interest one.
- If your expenses are higher than your income you have two options – reduce the amount you are spending and increase the amount you are earning.
- If you choose to carry debt, understand the consequences upfront.
- Use banking software (if available) to track your spending so you have an accurate picture of what you spend, not just a guesss
Right now you are looking at the whole year, but of course things can change. Reassess mid-year if needed, or if big changes happen in your life, such as a new job, raise, or large unexpected expense.
Feel free to adjust your goals as needed!