The holidays are upon us, and suddenly the squares on your calendar that have had ample space all year don’t seem big enough to squeeze in all the activities.
It tends to be a nonstop, fast-moving time of year, and the stress from the extreme amount of holiday parties, shopping lists, and cookie baking championships can easily overwhelm you. The most wonderful time of the year can quickly spiral into a person’s most hated time of the year. When holidays become overwhelming and stress-ridden, we are completely missing the point. They should be a time to come together, share stories, enjoy each other’s company; a time to meet new people at events and parties, support other small businesses, enjoy some amazing food and drinks and just be happy and in the moment.
But, how can you live in the moment or enjoy company if you have a daunting list of errands to be run, recipes to be made, and gifts to be purchased? Well, you can’t. Just as you can’t expand the square sizes of your calendar, you have to admit that you can only get so much done in a day—even a holiday. Before the craziness of the season begins, take a few minutes to think about and prioritize so you don’t find yourself completely overcommitted. It is better to say no to something than to say yes and wish you hadn’t. When you are saying yes to things that are truly important to you, you are giving your best self to the project, company or whatever the situation may be.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before saying “yes’:
As it relates to business:
Prioritize Events: This is a time of year that many companies throw holiday parties for their guests and prospects. You don’t need to attend them all, nor should you. Keep a running list and before immediately sending your RSVP in, review the list and decide which ones are most important for you to attend. You can break them into categories; Must Attend, Should Attend, Would be Nice to Attend. If your top client invites you to their holiday party, that falls under MUST attend for sure. But, if you get invited to a holiday party from a local networking group that you only attend on and off, that would fall under “would be nice,” but it is not a priority. You can only be in so many places, so prioritize which events will most benefit you and your company.
Outsource: Holiday cards, gifts, updating your database…all of these items can be outsourced to a company or a virtual assistant. SendOutCards is a great option for holiday cards. You can upload your database, create a custom card, insert your personal pictures and signatures and hit send! Do any of your clients have amazing products that can be used as gifts? Contact them and ask them to put together something special for your clients. Let them take the lead on it. A virtual assistant can be a crucial resource for this time of year. If you need help finding one, check out Virtual A Team. They work on a per hour project basis and can cover a wide range of services for you.
As it relates to personal:
Shop Online: As much fun as it is to plan a day to go Christmas shopping with your mom or girlfriends, it can get overwhelming if you feel like you just don’t have the time. Online retailers (including independent small businesses) make it so easy to shop online. Most of the time, the shipping is free or such a small amount, it isn’t worth the gas to drive to the store. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to shop and support local. Some of my local shops have the greatest gifts and boutique items you simply can’t find online. So, schedule one day into your calendar that is specially reserved to truly enjoy some local shopping.
Parties: The same holds true for your personal parties as it does your business parties. You can’t be everywhere. If you get invited to a family party and a client party on the same day, you don’t have to try and go to both. If you can make it, great, but don’t put stress on yourself if you can’t.
Saying NO is kinder than you think. Showing up or saying yes to something you can’t fully commit to is a disservice both to yourself and to the corresponding person or party you are saying yes to. Lay out your calendar, know what hours you have available, and fill them in strategically without overcommitting.
When you manage your time and commit to only the things you want and are able to commit to, you will find the holidays to be much more enjoyable. There is a lot to be done this time of year; those things simply are too important to be “too busy.”
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Before You Commit Worksheet
Before you jump to saying “Yes” to the next opportunity or ask of yourself, use this worksheet to help you decide if you REALLY should be committing to it!