It's that time of the year – when you've got to finish work assignments for year-end, make plans for the year ahead, hustle and bustle through holiday to-do lists, and attend parties and festive family gatherings.
The end of the year can be a wonderful time, but it can also be hectic and stressful. Here are tips to help you manage the "season of rush" with more ease.
Write it down
One of the key principles I recommend is to get your to-do lists out of your head, but keep them top of mind. Trying to remember all your tasks and priorities creates a sense of chaos and can trigger that "yikes" stress response – which further compromises your brain's ability to function effectively. You need to be at your best to carry the heavy load, so get organized, write things down and have a road map to keep you on track this holiday season.
In a recent episode of The Good Wife, the character Alicia Florrick was asked by a reporter how she handles being a parent, a busy lawyer with her own practice and running for public office. She said: "Like all busy, working parents, I've learned to triage." Well said. In these times when we feel "crazy busy," we all need a repertoire of prioritizing skills – and during excessively busy times, we need to ramp this up further. Triaging is prioritizing on steroids.
With the demands amplified at this time of year, it is impossible to do it all. Identify the absolute essentials and commit to those first. Then park or reschedule other tasks or events that can wait.
Learn to say no
Saying no is difficult for many people, but saying yes to more than you can handle will do you and others no good. The holiday season can bring more work and more stress, but also more invitations to the good stuff than you might be able to handle. It's important to recognize that there can be too much of a good thing when our time is so limited. Recognize your limits and learn to say no or at least "not now."
Look after yourself
When you're dealing with a heavier load and busier schedule, it's easy to skimp on sleep, exercise and proper eating. But this is the time you need take care of yourself the most. Who needs to get sick during the holiday break? Be mindful of getting ample sleep, exercise and good nutrition because you'll need your resilience and energy to keep up with the fast pace yet still have fun over the holidays, too.
Set your boundaries
This is a season to enjoy. But do pay attention to how much you indulge because New Year's is just around the corner. To ensure you start the new year off right, pre-empt regrets from overindulging in food, drink and spending by setting appropriate boundaries. Your waist, your wallet and your well-being will thank you.
Eileen Chadnick (@Chadnick) is a work-life and leadership coach and principal of Big Cheese Coaching in Toronto. She is the author of Ease, a book offering strategies to cope in times of "crazy busy."
Have a question about careers, labour law or management? Send it to our panel of experts: firstname.lastname@example.org Your name and address will be kept confidential.