In the movies, the holidays are perfect, happy, loving, spontaneous, and connecting, or they are disastrous explosions of personal misery. Both images are stressful, and neither has to be yours!
We’ve heard from many of you that you’re feeling pretty tired, worn down, and not quite in the holiday spirit this year.
In fact, many of you report a love-hate relationship with the holidays. On one hand, you love much of the connection and celebration but on the other hand, you’re busy, overworked, and stressed.
This year, as you’re navigating through the holidays, we encourage you to think of yourself as a leader in your life as you approach each day. As a leader, your role is to influence your world and be influenced by your world.
The following four steps will help:
- PAUSE – Always take a moment before you react to incoming stressors and ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say (or do) aligned with my goals?”
- Your goals don’t have to be large, they might be to stay connected with yourself, to listen without judgement, or to let go of the notion of a perfect holiday.
- Focus – Identify the 2 – 3 things (no more) that are most important for you to accomplish over the next couple of weeks.
- This could include completing a key report to a client or purchasing the special chocolate your kids love. It doesn’t particularly matter what they are, it only matters that you know what they are and make time in your schedule to get them done.
- Identify times when you can do these priorities and put them on the calendar.
- Own it and share it – Sit down with the people who are most important to you and discuss the opportunities for connection, the demands on all of you, and the schedule for the upcoming few weeks.
- With your partner and children, talk about what needs to get done and who can contribute. If you have young children, consider who can keep an eye on them from time to time to give you and your partner some space to think and get things done.
- With your boss, colleagues, or direct reports, review the goals of the upcoming weeks. Be certain you all know and agree to the priorities and then identify what will get in the way of achieving those priorities. Together, create a plan for moving forward.
- Let your extended family know what you’re thinking about for the upcoming weeks and come to an agreement on what is an absolute must do and what you consider optional.
- Review – Set your alarm clock 5 – 10 minutes early, roll out of bed, and quickly review your day.
- Make sure you know what your priorities are—work efforts, time for self, kids, shopping, etc.
- Identify the people you’ll need to meet with that day.
- Identify 5 things you are grateful for (this is an inspiring way to start your day year-round, and it’s particularly helpful at this time of year.)
Take some time this week to position yourself for a fun, hectic, connecting, tiring holiday—one that leaves you proud of how you showed up and how you managed your priorities.
~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather