I’m starting to see the “last minute” and “it’s not too late” marketing messages. It’s only December 15! I tell myself. Then, It’s already December 15! The holiday rush is upon us. Are you feeling it? Today I’m going to share a few tips for those of us feeling, ahem, less-than-festive given the seemingly impossible list of things we must accomplish over the next ten days. And in the (holiday) spirit of getting right to the point, I’m going to go bullet-form for this post.
Holiday Food & Gifts
- Don’t have the holiday meal or party snacks finalized? Download the (free) ChatGPT app — iOS or Android — and ask it for menu recommendations. You don’t have to take every suggestion it gives, but it can get you started. Don’t like what it’s suggesting? Refine your ask, i.e. I want a Mexican-themed holiday dinner.
- “What about all the meals leading up to the big day?” you ask. “My people got to eat,” you say. Schedule a grocery pick-up this week instead of going inside the store. Grab take-out for a meal. Fast food one night won’t kill you, and it’ll delight the teens in your life. Or consider picking up a pre-made meal or two from the grocery. You don’t have to be supermom/superman.
- Still struggling with gift ideas? Chat GPT can help here, too! The more info you give it, the more inspired the suggestions you’ll get, i.e. I need a gift for a tween girl who’s a tomboy or Top Gifts for Men.
- Someone impossible to shop for? Get on the phone and discuss creative solutions together. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you’d like to gift them but would love some guidance. Another alternative? Consider things you can do together instead of buying something material, perhaps a lunch out after the holiday rush, or planning to see a movie together.
- Didn’t get around to ordering traditional mail-out holiday cards this year? Make one in Canva (free) to share on social media. The platform has templates for Instagram and Facebook posts so you don’t have to struggle with sizing. You can be as creative (or non-creative) as you want; there are lots of templates and options.
- Have your heart set on a traditional, mailed-out greeting card? Send out a New Year’s version instead. This not only buys you some time but also takes your greeting outside of the holiday herd, so to speak. In my book, a New Year’s greeting card makes the mark if it arrives anytime during the month of January.
Your Sanity & The Big Picture
- Feeling really overwhelmed? Possibly irritable in the holiday rush? Download the (free) Insight Timer app. Then, climb into your car or head to a quiet room, perhaps even your bedroom. Crawl under the covers if you like, but you must promise you’ll come back out. Now pick a short (or long) meditation to do to calm your mood and boost your energy. Trust me, the payoff is science-backed. Another great thing about this app is you can refine the meditation to specific moods, i.e. stressed, struggling with self-esteem, can’t sleep, etc.
- Try making a list of your pressing to-dos, segregating them by “Need to” and “Want to.” You probably know the next step here: Which “want tos”really don’t need to stay on your to-do list? Weigh the return on your (time, emotional, finanical) investment.
- Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Are you hosting dinner? Ask guests to help. Even if you want to do all the food (which you shouldn’t feel obligated to do), someone can bring the ice or the beverages or the napkins, etc. Keep in mind: the vast majority of people like to be asked to help, especially if they are coming as a guest.
- Lastly, consider ordering or grabbing an inexpensive toy for a child of a service provider in your life (hair, yard, kid’s instructor, mail person, etc.) I know, this one might feel as if I’m adding to your list of to-dos, but I’m not; not exactly. That spirit of giving that gets talked about this time of year, it’s got a noteworthy side benefit. Gifting, especially children, lands right up there with gratitude when we’re talking about fostering a mindset for productivity.
Remember: the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, not endured. And the value in getting together with loved ones is the “getting together with loved ones.” It’s not what you give or recieve, how you decorate your holiday table is, or how tasty a dish you present. Keep your eye on the prize — it’s a good one.
Sara Genrich, CPO® is a Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant, and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop. She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.