Managing the holiday season, both professionally and personally, can be challenging and stressful. Here’s something I read recently that hit home…
You CAN do it all, but first, you must decide what “all” includes.
Over the past decade, much attention has been directed toward helping people create a work/life balance. Perhaps no time during the year is this more relevant than the holiday season. It can be daunting between family, holiday events, business time management, and getting 2024 business plans approved. There is always a lot of “all” to get done!
The best way to remain sane and productive is to manage your energy accordingly and avoid over-committing. Prioritizing your workstreams is important. To do it “all,” this prioritization will be a good exercise in defining what “all” really is. You may be surprised that you have less to do between now and the end of the year when some goals are tabled for later.
Prioritize Your “To-Do” List
Here is the way I organize my workload. It has helped ensure I get the most important, time-critical tasks done while allowing me to re-categorize others for later completion. Incredibly helpful is to include personal tasks/objectives in this process.
You have a lot to do. But is everything mission critical? Probably not…at least, not today. Each day, factor in the time you have, meetings you must attend, and then prioritize your To-Do List so that what you have to get done today is at the top. For your business tasks, follow the money. Determine what is most accretive to you and your work. These are tasks you will be disappointed you did not address by dinner time. You will likely have To-Do’s that don’t merit being on the essential list. That’s OK. We’ll deal with in a bit.
Saying you have to get things done is one thing. Actually doing them is another. Create an action list for each essential task today. What are the physical efforts you have to put forth to accomplish each one. This sounds basic but it’s given me a critical lens into how my day is ordered.
So important! You must set deadlines for each task. And what you might find is that, once you allocate time for each task, you don’t have enough time to get everything done! You can either lessen the time on certain tasks…but be realistic. If you can’t get something done in 30 minutes versus an hour, don’t change it. Instead, repeat the first two steps I’ve listed, re-ordering the priority list and then creating action steps. The expression “There are only so many hours in a day” applies here so, something might have to be moved to a different day.
Manage Desired Tasks
Remember those tasks that you are not going to get done today? Put them on a Desired list. First, it will ensure you don’t forget about them. Second, if you’ve managed your time exceedingly well, you may have time to get to a few of these (make sure you prioritize this list, too!). Third, you will be set up for the next day when you start this process again, using the Desired List as a starting point for creating your Essential To-Do List.
Be Honest…and Watch Out for Murphy
You must make a distinction between essential and desired endeavors. You also have to be straight with yourself relative to accomplishing your list. Realize that Murphy’s Law comes into play here. Meaning if something can go wrong/derail, it probably will. Therefore, factor in a time buffer so you’re not squeezed into completing an endeavor when more time is required.
And, Oh, yes…Ask For Help when You Need To! Being vulnerable is okay in business. It shows that you’re human, that you know your limitations, and that you’re open to having others make a difference by partnering with you.
My best to you as you close out 2023 and begin your action endeavors for 2024!