The holidays are a busy time, for families, businesses, and life-duties in general. But then we’re also told to ‘slow down’ and ‘enjoy the season’. How can we do both? How can we enjoy the holiday season while still keeping up with business, holiday events, and our everyday obligations?
Though it isn’t an exact science, and I’m still perfecting my own art of ‘slowing down’ and enjoying the moment, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks throughout my career – and I’d like to share them with you so hopefully, you can have an efficient yet renewing holiday season too.
Plan for What You Know
This is something that helps me both in busy seasons and slow seasons, holidays and vacations – and everywhere in between. Planning for what I know I have to do, where I have to go, and having a visual representation for it is helpful for me and makes me remember what I have and when.
I personally use Google Calendar which links up with my email and phone, but any visual calendar (even an old-school pen and paper one) will do. Make sure you account for travel time and keep your calendar up to date – after all, if you don’t use the calendar, it won’t help you.
Now that you have a visual representation of what your day, week, or month is looking like, it is easier to see when you have free time, and when you don’t. Have you ever double-booked something? I have, and it’s not fun to deal with or have to cancel on someone. So make sure you check your calendar, see when you have availability, and choose if you want to give up some availability to do more, or save that ‘free time’ for personal events and relaxation time.
Plan for What You Don’t Know
Plan for the unknown? That’s impossible, right? Actually, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Maybe naming it something easier will help – I call this planning style my ‘buffer time’, which means I put blocks of time in my day that are reserved for…nothing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit and stare at the wall during these blocks of time, but I do try to set time aside, especially during the holidays, for in case one of my other plans goes long or exceeds its original time block.
Let’s say I have a meeting downtown and I allot twenty minutes of drive time, now let’s say there’s inclement weather, or a holiday parade, or even just extra traffic and my drive ends up being 45 minutes. If I’ve fully planned my entire day with no ‘buffer time’ (or empty space) in it, then this 25 minute delay will throw everything off. However, if I have one hour of buffer time in the morning, and one in the evening, then I will probably have a better chance of getting everything done, and maybe even having a few minutes to relax or do something fun.
Worst case scenario, you use your buffer time for a scheduling issue or tardiness, best-case scenario, it goes unfilled and you’ve gained an hour of free time. Buffer time, or planning for what you don’t know, really is a win-win.
Plan for What Matters Most
Now that you’re making a schedule that includes events, work, and all your other daily life activities, and you’ve hopefully added in empty space or buffer time, you should look over your calendar masterpiece and analyze it.
What do you see the most of? Work? Family activities and needs? Personal hobbies and social events? Make sure you are planning for, and scheduling, the things that matter most. Because even though the holidays are busy, they should ultimately be about family, relationships, and reflecting on the year.
If you see that your holiday schedule is getting bogged down with 95% work items and no time for family, friends, or relaxation, then you might need to seriously consider your priorities and make a change. Just like if you have 95% events, activities, and parties and aren’t able to get any work done or enjoy any time down you might need a reevaluation.
Once again, it’s about balance and priorities – finding that personal mixture of responsibility and freedom, duty and enjoyment, self and others.
This Holiday Season Hasn’t Slowed Down…
Often, the end of the year is slightly slower for my company as businesses are closed more often, many are on vacation, or marketing teams are deciphering their new year budgets. But not this year. Luckily, my team is great at keeping all of their plates spinning, while still making time to enjoy the holidays.
If your business is still growing, or you simply want to get a jump start on the new year, contact me for business consulting, digital services, sales coaching and more. I’d love to set up a time (on my trusted Google Calendar) to meet up, talk about your business’ needs, and see what I can do for them.