December 1st, most of us are still recovering from stuffing ourselves with turkey and the trimmings just over a week ago. And now we are faced with heading into the end of year. For me, the desire for work-life balance feels even stronger around the end of the year, as personal family, travel, and other holiday commitments seem to make already busy schedules even busier.
Work stuff - year end deadlines, closing out accounting books, figuring out staff bonuses and holiday leave, benefit package transitions, sending out holiday cards or thank yous to customers, employee holiday party planning, and on and on. Then the other side of your brain spurns out a longer to do list: your kids' holiday parties at school, winter concerts, decorating the house, family photos, picking out an outfit for your office party, holiday cards, shopping, thank you gifts for the bus driver, the teachers, the coaches, figuring out which family to see when, what to do with your kids that will be home for a two week break, what food to prepare, cookies to bake.... Who wants to hit the mall to shop for presents on a busy Saturday? It would probably be less crowded on lets say a Tuesday, but it is too busy to take off work right now. Your clients, your family have the same expectations of you as every other month of the year. It is all TOO MUCH.
And I’ll bet you’re feeling the same way. Here are Team Friday's tips on how to make this season a little less stressful all around.
Keep expectations realistic - Its totally ok to send holiday cards after the new year, or without a perfect photo of your family, or without a recap of your family's year, or...not at all. It is ok to give gift cards instead of picking out perfect gifts. It's just not ok to forget to give your kid's teacher a gift...they work hard!
Embrace chaos - long days, overloaded calendar, too much going on. Remember it will be over soon and the week before the New Year should be quiet and give you plenty of downtime to recoup from the next few weeks of chaos.
Check your calendar, twice - I keep a laptop and phone calendar, but I check it every morning, not just for the day, but for the days ahead. I showed up for a kid's ortho appointment a week early, better early than late, but if I had checked my calendar that morning, it wouldn't have happened.
Keep lists - I love Evernote - I keep my work, volunteer and personal to do lists on Evernote. I also think Asana has a great platform for team collaboration. Both are free! Evernote is simple to use and syncs with your phone. I keep lists for each client, each project. My personal to do list, my volunteer to do list, my grocery list, my gift giving list. The platform is super simple to use and makes it easy to add or check off items. Yes, there is an item on my personal to do list to print out our vacation photos from 2 summers ago, but I'll get to it at some point.
Prioritize - check your lists every morning and prioritize which are important to complete each day. Pick 2-3 items that are most important for the day and make it your goal to check them off. Choose so that, if you got only these tasks done, you’d be proud of what you did today.
Delegate - Learn to trust people with critical tasks in all areas of your life. When you learn to effectively delegate tasks you actually find that it is easier to keep the stuff you cannot delegate better organized. Team Friday can handle your to do list. Plan your office party, meet year end marketing goals, purchase and send corporate gifts, just let us know what you need. We won't walk your dog, but I bet there is a college student home for break who might be eager to do that for you.
Let us know what you can delegate out to us, not just to get you to Friday, but to get you to the New Year!