November 2007 e-Newsletter
7 Tips to Save Time & Reduce Holiday Stress
In her article, " 7 Tips to Save Time & Reduce Holiday Stress", Kathy Wells Paauw, Productivity Consultant, www.orgcoach.net, reminds us that we choose who we spend time with. We choose what activities we say yes and no to. We choose where we go. Your holiday season can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose to make it, and it can be a lot of fun if you plan accordingly.
Her tips to save time and reduce stress include:
1. Create a list of holiday rituals that are important to you.
Seek your family's input on holiday decisions. Ask family members what they liked and disliked about last year's holidays. Write down the most important elements and activities you wish to include this year, and plan to make it happen. Keeping time-consuming and irrelevant traditions or rituals "just because we've always done it that way" can increase stress. Keep only those traditions that have meaning to you, or create some new ones. Give yourself permission to be in the moment and enjoy the smells, sounds, feel, and tastes that are unique to this season of the year.
2. Make a list of those you want to spend time with during the holidays.
Who nourishes you? Who are the family members, friends, and colleagues you enjoy being with? Who brings you down? Maybe this is not the year to get together with them! Do you want to do any entertaining? If so, when and with whom? Plan ahead and ask for help if you want it. True friends and loved ones will not care how many hours you slaved over the stove. Spending time with you is what they'll cherish most. You don't have to be Martha Stewart to throw a great party!
Are you invited to holiday parties that you really don't want to go to, but you've gone in the past because you should? Be at choice -- don't play the victim! This is not about whom you should see, but rather whom you choose to spend time with.
3. Send holiday greeting cards with ease.
I’ve found a great service that enables you to send a real card in the mail for less than a dollar, including postage, without leaving the comfort of your desk. Click here to try Send Out Cards for free. To send electronic cards, we (the Thomas Team) use www.plaxo.com with great results.
4. Mail packages with ease.
Mail packages early in December to avoid longer lines at the post office and ensure they will arrive in time.
5. Thoughtfully plan your gift-giving.
Give from the heart, not out of obligation. Decide whom you choose to give to and make a list. This will help you avoid overspending through impulse buying. If you think back to the most cherished gifts you have received, they are often homemade or from the heart. I like to make albums online with www.creativememories.com to give to loved ones.
6. Spread holiday cheer with those in need.
Volunteer to serve a holiday meal to the homeless, work in a soup kitchen, or work at a food bank. Adopt a family for the holidays and provide them with gifts or holiday foods. Many churches and non-profit organizations can match you with a needy family. All of us on the Thomas team spent a day wrapping presents at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank (www.midohiofoodbank.org) last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of helping those in need.
7. Use your calendar to help organize your time to reflect your priorities.
Once you are clear about your intentions, calendar them in. Writing them down for follow-up on a specific date will help you to remember to do it and will keep things from falling to the last minute. In other words, make appointments with yourself to follow through with specific tasks by a specific time. As you prepare for the holidays, remember that the greatest gifts of all won't be found under the gift wrap. They'll be found in those special moments when you make a heart connection with those you care about.