Holidays and Business: Striking a Balance
I have a theory about why there is so much stress around the holiday season...and it holds no judgment or specific-holiday-tradition-centric connotations. Do you know what it is?
It's because during the holiday season...whatever holiday you observe... we do not remove a single thing from our regularly scheduled and overbooked schedule and then we try to add in the equivalent of another full-time job worth of preparatory tasks, travel, and social events. It's like trying to put 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bag. It doesn't work regardless of your creativity or multitasking skills. And, whether you work for someone else or own your own business, there are a host of other year-end tasks and new year planning things to do in addition to the usual operations. It's no wonder December can make people want to run screaming out of their own skins. Perhaps that is why there are so many sweets and alcohol at this time of year.
Here are my tips for striking a balance between business productivity and holiday merriment.
Expand the Container
Acknowledge and then stop trying to put 10 pounds in the 5 poundbag. It doesn't work and the effort involved will make you insane. You end up enjoying nothing and getting little done. Pick and choose and know that not everything will get done. Focus on the really important (not the unimportant crises) and release the rest.
Whatever you are doing at any given moment be fully present. Skip the urge to multitask and be halfway attentive. There are lots of things competing for your attention...so choose one (at a time) and truly be there. This holds true whether it is a work task or a pleasurable task or simply preparing for the upcoming holidays.
Take Advantage of Quiet
This time of year many people take time off especially between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe you will be taking time off too! If you are taking time off...do it! Be off and disconnect. Give yourself the gift of not straddling the fence. If you are going to be working take advantage of the lag (or lack of) connection/responses from co-workers, clients, and partners to do some important tasks that always get put off. Creative examples of this include:
- Learning (reading a business book, taking an online class, etc.)
- Strategic and creative planning for your year ahead (for your business or just for you personally if you're part of a team/employee)
- Deleting files, emails, and other unnecessary digital clutter
The list goes on...but you get the drift. All the stuff that gets filed in the "later", "never get to it", "when I have time" file (mentally or physically) you can now give some attention.
Seriously...no lives will be lost if you don't get that last gift or attend all the functions. Give yourself the opportunity to breathe. Give yourself permission for down time. Take things in stride. Laugh. While there is nothing funny about the tales of holiday madness (think people physically assaulting each other for the big toy of the year)...there is something very funny about staring at an old cabbage patch doll and thinking - What? People tried to kill each other for this bald doll? (And yes, I DO own a cabbage patch thingy from way back when...though it remains at my Dad's house.) The intensity factor of the season is optional.
Reflect, Be Grateful, and Dream
This is the perfect time of year to reflect on all you accomplished in 2011. My guess is it was a LOT. Even if you didn't reach all your intended goals (who did?), there is a lot you created, experienced, and managed this year. Be grateful for all you've accomplished, all you have, and all you are. Take some time to dream about the future as well. While you may no longer be a child wide-eyed with excitement over the season, you can be if you choose to navigate with curiosity. Savor all that is right in front of you and dream about what's next for you in the coming year.
What do you do special during the holiday season to strike a balance? What works for you? What doesn't work? Strike it up in the comments....
Credit Image: Eight alight candles close-up via Shutterstock
Paula Gregorowicz, The Intuitive Intelligence™ Coach
Download the Free Report: Your Own Uniqueness: The Path to Purpose, Prosperity, and Playfulness and learn how to turn your intuitive knowing into practical action for better results in your life and business. http://www.thepaulagcompany.com