Are you ready to have a stress free and productive end of the year?  Can you imagine a holiday season in which you are prepared, relaxed, and joyful – instead of rushing around, stressed, and cranky?

Over the next few weeks, you’ll continue to learn some strategies to help you have a productive and stress free end of the year. (You are reading the 3rd post in this series.  The previous posts are listed below.)

Step #1 – Dream!  What would you like the end of the year to look like?

Step #2 – Reality!  Create a list of everything you typically do during the holiday season.

Step #3 – Decide!  Make some decisions about where you will spend your time.

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Time is a precious commodity.  It’s important to take a proactive approach to planning how you will spend your time over the next few months.  What goals do you still want to accomplish?  What activities to you want to do?  Who are the people you want to spend time with?

Today is the day to start to create that blueprint.

  1. Pull out your list of how you want your end of the year to look.
  2. Pull out your list of activities you typically participate in.
  3. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections.
  4. In the top section write “LOVE”, the middle section write “OK”, and the bottom section write “YUCK”.  
  5. Place any of the activities from your first list (the one where you created the vision of how you want your holiday to look) in the “LOVE” list.
  6. Look at the list of everything you actually do during the holiday season.  Place each of these activities into the LOVE, OK, or YUCK category.
    • “Is this an activity I LOVE to do?”  An activity that was on the very first list you created – one that is right in line with how you envision your perfect holiday.  If so, write it at the top in the “LOVE” section.
    • “Is this an activity that I do, but don’t really have an attachment to it one way or the other?”  Maybe your family loves the activity (cutting down a live tree, for example), or you’ve gone to the neighbor’s cookie exchange every year and really you could take it or leave it.  Write these activities in the middle “OK” section.
    • “Is this an activity that I dread doing?”  Maybe you hate to bake – yet you give everyone homemade bread as gifts.  Maybe the idea of hosting everyone at your house one more time is just causing you to wake up at night in a cold sweat.  Write these activities on the bottom, in the “YUCK” section.

7. Make some decisions.  Which activities can you delete?  (Delete them NOW!) Which activities can you negotiate? (Have a conversation with shareholders, and start the negotiating process.)  Which activities are “must do’s”?  (Schedule these into your calendar TODAY!)

One of the ways to create a stress free and productive holiday season is to spend time on the activities that we LOVE to do. Conversely, do you really want to allocate time to activities you don’t enjoy?

Take a look at the activities in the middle and bottom sections.  Why do you participate in these activities?  Do you want to continue doing them?  Is the value of doing these activities greater than the fall-out of not doing them?

Shouting Young Lady Stock Photo Imagery MajesticFor example, recently one of the participants at a workshop I was leading realized that she doesn’t like the hassle that surrounds having a live tree.  Upon further reflection, she realized that she continued to bring a live tree into her home each year because of the childhood memories it evoked.  Now, with this new awareness she can decide if she wants to continue to cut down, haul, and set up a live tree – or if there is another way to honor those memories.

Your Turn!  Please post below!  What does your list look like?  Are you spending time in the areas you want to spend time in?  Have you already created the holidays you love?  Are you struggling to fit it all in?   Are you surprised at how your two lists don’t really match up well?  Or are you thrilled that your lists have an almost perfect correlation?

Congrats on building awareness.  You are now ready to learn how to be more efficient over the next few months.

Would you like some support accomplishing your goals?  

With a little coaching, you can easily achieve the perfect balance between your business and personal lives.  You can develop a framework and a system that allows you to put first things first -and live a life of purpose, accomplishment, and fun.  You can turn ideas into action!

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[Image Credit: Imagery Majestic via]