Welcome, this week we are continuing our journey to a Stress Free Holiday Season.  By starting early, having a plan, and following a plan, you set yourself up for success.

If you’ve missed previous posts –

Last week you broke down each activity (sending Christmas cards, baking cookies, decorating the tree, hosting out-of-town guests,  . . .) into the absolute smallest steps.  It’s possible that “Send Christmas Greetings” is actually a 10 step process!

Once you broke each activity down into the smallest possible action steps, you then assigned start and end dates for each task.

Lots of moving parts!  No wonder it’s easy to start to feel stressed in November and December.  We have more responsibilities in a compressed time frame – and we are also managing expectations. 

Note:  The last few posts I’ve encouraged you to delete some activities.  This is another excellent time to look at your list – do you REALLY want to do everything on your list?  Are you doing some activities because “it’s tradition”?  If so, do the stakeholders in this “tradition” still feel the same way?  Maybe they are no longer excited about cutting down a live Christmas tree.  But they would be thrilled to make Hot Chocolate, look through old photos or videos (we all have Christmas videos!!) and reminisce.

This week it’s time to take a look at your LENGTHY list of tasks you created last week and assign a person responsible for each task.

It’s time to start whittling down the tasks you are personally responsible for.

Delegate.

At my recent Ho Ho NO!  Create a Stress Free Holiday Workshop, attendees generated the following delegating ideas.

  • A woman in charge of providing Christmas Eve dinner for 40 family members decided to delegate out the cooking.  Instead of cooking the entire meal, she provided the main course and is asking the other attendees to provide dessert and side dishes.

 

  • John historically provided and wrapped gifts for all his siblings, nieces, nephews.   They youngest “kid” is 35.  This year they are having a gift exchange.

 

  • Suzy hates to bake.  She hired an aspiring chef home on break from Culinary Arts School to do all her baking.  It’s a win-win, the chef-in-training will get additional experience and exposure, and Suzy will bring scrumptious desserts to all her gatherings.

 

  • Laura dreads putting up (and taking down) decorations inside and outside the house.  This year, she is inviting her grandkids to decorate the house completely and is providing cookies and hot chocolate.  She realizes she is going to need to “let go” a bit of how the end result looks – but believes the tradeoff of having her family together . . . and not having to lug boxes around . . . will be worth it.

 

  • Joan hates how her extended family treats each over around the holidays.  She just wants to spend time with her husband and kids . . . without all the drama.   She delegated much of the information gathering to her older kids.  Where to go? What to do?  Her 15 and 17 year old daughters presented 3 locations, and they voted.  They are going to sunny Florida for the holidays this year – just the 6 of them.  She also delegated informing the extended family of their decision to her husband!

 

  • I received an email this morning from Lori, “Thanks Lisa for encouraging me to sit down with my family while planning the activities for this year.  It turns out – everyone LOVES getting the live tree, attending midnight Mass, and ice-skating together.  The other activities they didn’t really consider a priority.  I thought they enjoyed creating handmade Christmas gifts.  It turns out they don’t and neither do I!  This activity gets deleted!  This December will look much different, less hectic, and more “together time”.  Thanks again for the push!”

 

Some of my favorite tips when delegating . . .

  • Adjust your expectations.  It is quite possible that no one can do the job exactly like you.  That doesn’t mean it’s a “bad job”.  The goal is to get some tasks off your plate – let go a bit on how the end result looks.
  • Ask!  Many times people want to help (even if they don’t realize it yet!)  Give them the opportunity.  Spouse, kids, neighbors, teens, grandkids are just a few ideas.  Get creative – you can find help . . . you may just need to look at the challenge through new eyes.
  • Hire a professional (or aspiring professional).   Sometimes nothing beats hiring a professional cleaning service to get your ready before out-of-town guests.
  • Clearly communicate your expectations and timeframe.  It can certainly be frustrating to delegate a task, and then have the person on the other end drop the ball!  Check back periodically (NOTE:  I’m not advocating micromanaging!) to make sure the project is moving forward.

What activities can you delete or delegate on your list?

What resources can you use?

Who is waiting anxiously to be asked?

Or, do you still feel like you need to do everything?

Are you carrying around your “I’m so busy” as a badge of honor?  “No one can do it as well as you, and it doesn’t matter if you feel stressed and overwhelmed as long as everyone else enjoys the holiday?”

Please, share!  What are you going to do differently now that you read this post?  What tasks do you really want to delegate – but you are stuck on who or how?  Post below.