Get Holiday Tasks Done & Stay Calm:
Your Personal Development Strategy
by Suzanne Glover
Having a personal development strategy during the holidays may sound unrealistic, but by planning for personal development during the hectic holiday season, you’re actually giving yourself a boost to have a holiday season that keeps you smiling and on track.
First, consider how easy it is to get drawn off track when you don’t have any plan, versus how much easier it is to stay focused simply because you know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it.
So, the first thing to do is plan out your time in a realistic, reasonable fashion. This does a couple of things:
1) You are able to physically categorize your time and allocate it where you want it, which gives you a “time template” to follow. Yes, there will be things that come up, but overall, this will keep you focused on what’s important as well as help you organize your holiday season tasks. It also helps you prioritize what’s really important and to make realistic expectations of yourself.
2) You are also able to intentionally allocate time for yourself (because you’re putting that in first,) which keeps you from becoming fragmented and overwhelmed from everything on your to-do list.
Now, let’s talk about how to do this planning:
1) Take one sheet of paper and print out a one-month calendar (this can be repeated for the separate months.)
2) Enter time each week to do at least one thing for yourself; i.e., a massage, a visit to your acupuncturist, a trip to the cinema, or even an entire day off to “do as you please” without any agenda. This is critical to your success because by doing this, you are filling your well of energy to get everything else done. I prefer bodywork because it creates energy as well as quiets your mind, but anything will do. Once a week is suggested, but twice a week is more effective. (See this issue’s article, “Holiday Depression: Natural Remedies For a Happy Holiday” for more bodywork ideas.)
3) Next, ask yourself, “What’s really important to me this holiday season?” If it’s spending time with the kids or golfing, enter that next.
4) Now, that you have your “me time” and you’ve prioritized exactly what’s important to you, start filling in the parties that you “have to” attend and then if there’s room left, enter the parties that you “should” attend.
5) Lastly, organize your shopping to maximize your time; i.e., slip in an errand on the way home from work or devote one or two evenings to shopping (versus fighting the crowds on a weekend.) Replace your television or newspaper time with an errand or two a day and you’ll soon see a big difference in how much time you have to get your holiday tasks done.
By now, you may be saying, “There’s not enough room on this one sheet of paper?” That’s the point. If there isn’t enough room in those tiny 1-inch squares, there isn’t enough time and energy in your life to do all of it. Have courage and get ruthless. Cut out the low priority and “I should do that” things and negotiate with family members to get together on “alternative holiday” days because remember, Christmas doesn’t fall on the same day everywhere in the world due to time/day zones, so why does it have to be the same day in your town?
This is a simple personal development strategy that I’ve used to keep me on track and focused during the hectic times of my life and I always incorporate this into any planning for personal development or personal development plan I create because I find that I end up with “way more free time” than ever before, as well as find feelings of peace and serenity at the same time!