Wednesday, November 4, 2009

5 steps to holiday bliss

The holiday season is an interesting time of year. First, there is an expectation that you will feel joyful. Just look at all of those happy people in the T.V. commercials and you’ll see what I mean. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with being happy during the holiday season. But this idea that, during the holidays, you should be happier than ever happens at the time of year when you’re busier than ever. Your already mile-long to-do list gets inundated with a host of extra projects and tasks: send out holiday cards, buy gifts, wrap gifts, redecorate your home, make fancy meals, attend more social events this month than the rest of the year combined, and do it all with a smile on your face. Now, if being super busy makes you blissfully happy, then you’re all set. But if you’re already feeling stretched thin (and not feeling too joyful about it), then it’s time to step back and use a few organizing strategies to make a new plan.

Step 1: Know your priorities. Before the season arrives, have a little chat with yourself and your loved ones. What’s most important to you this time of year? What are your priorities?

Step 2: Delete any task you can. If your schedule is already jam-packed with obligations and to-dos, now is the time to renegotiate your schedule with yourself and others. Take a look at your ongoing tasks and activities, and see what can be eliminated or deferred until after the holidays.

Step 3: Let go of perfection. The holidays bring with them the desire to do everything perfectly. Wouldn’t you just love to have a perfectly decorated home, and to give the just-right gift to each person on your list? Of course you would, but it can’t possible happen… unless you are on TV! Letting go of the desire for perfection will not only save you time, but you’ll feel better, too. “Done” is better than “perfect,” and easier, too.

Step 4: Simplify or delegate tasks you don’t enjoy. Not every task on your holiday to-do list is enjoyable. Some things you love to do, and others are an energy drain. If you don’t enjoy doing a task, look for ways to simplify it, if it’s not possible to delete it from your list entirely.

Step 5: Keep your eye on the prize. The prize isn’t January, by the way. The true prize is simply creating enough space so that you can be able to truly enjoy the time between now and January. Change the rules so that this time of year works for you. And continually monitor how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling good, you’re on the right path. If you’re feeling stressed and harried, step back and reevaluate. At the end of the day, the real prize (and my wish for you) is a joyful holiday season.



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