It's only fair to share…

With the festive season fast approaching, it is important to reduce your stress levels so that you can truly enjoy the festivities and maximise your success for the rest of the year.

Forget about doing everything

Why is it that people feel the need to get everything done before the festive season begins?  Why put so much unnecessary stress on yourself?  Forget about doing everything before the festive season and take the pressure off.

“Everything” is a lot of things, which are probably too many to complete in the time you have available in the lead up to the festive season. So instead of getting overwhelmed as you think about everything you need to do and setting yourself up for more stress, be realistic and set yourself up for success.

Stop Overwhelm

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are probably thinking about everything that needs to be done in the next few weeks. Overwhelm is exacerbated by,

  •  thinking that there is more to do than there is actually is to do; and/or
  •  making everything equally important/urgent.

By making a list that you can see, you will reduce overwhelm as you can focus on and take small steps to achieve what needs to be done. By prioritising the list you will also reduce overwhelm as you will focus on the most important items first, then the rest one at a time.

Firstly, make a list of things that must be completed professionally before the festive season (e.g. finish projects for clients, arrange seasons’ greetings cards and hampers for clients, attend networking events, etc.).  Then make a list of things that must be completed personally before the festive season begins (e.g. buy presents, write cards for family and friends, finalise holiday plans, etc.).

Prioritise for success

Now is the time to set some priorities for yourself for the next few weeks.  As you look at the two lists, ask yourself, does each activity on your lists really need to be completed before the festive season.  If not, it is OK to say no to things that are a low priority and that can wait until after the new year begins.  If yes, prioritise the actions on each list in order of importance, and then put a completion date next to each action.  Once your list of priorities is complete and is realistic, you will feel more at ease and think more clearly.

Make sure that you put aside time in your diary or planner to do these actions. By seeing the actions in your diary or planner it will keep you focused and will help to minimise any distractions.  If you rely on remembering everything that needs to be done, you will likely add to your stress levels and there is a risk it may be missed (out of sight, out of mind).

Next, think about the things that can wait until after the festive season and make a list of the things you want to complete, both personally and professionally during the following timeframes:

  •  during the festive season break
  •  during January 2018
  •  during February 2018.

Again, you can prioritise each list and put timeframes for completion next to each action, and then diarise these actions.

Notice how by taking focused action, you can be more relaxed in the lead up to and during the festive season and beyond.