The holiday season isn’t typically synonymous with productivity; but they can be if you know what to do. Last year I proposed five ideas. They were ideas I’ve applied with great success. This year I want to revisit those five, and add two more things (even though the title only promises five, I’m giving seven. Happy Holidays!)
Here they are . . .
Move While Others Rest
Many people move into coast mode this month. Since their attention is diverted to other things, and so is everyone else’s, they rationalize that they might as well settle in and wait for January. The fact is, those who are focused and hustle in December don’t have to “gear up” in January; they have built in momentum, and by comparison have made tremendous real progress during this month.
You can make real progress towards your goals in December, but when taken in context of others, any forward progress puts you further and further ahead of the game (and closer and closer to your goals). Speed up while others slow down. Make that your mantra and you will love the results. (Tweet That)
Learn From the People You are With
In December you may have the chance to spend time with old friends and family that you rarely see. You may also be in situations where you meet new people (at the neighbor’s holiday gathering, your spouse’s company holiday party or where ever). Most people see this as either a good chance for a party or an obligation that must be met. While either of those may be true, the opportunity to learn from those you interact with is great. Go to these gatherings to enjoy yourself, but also to learn from the experiences and expertise of those you talk to. Move beyond small talk to discuss their lessons, their ideas and more. You may create or deepen a relationship while you glean ideas and learning from these people. Here’s how to do this: start with one less drink, and five more questions.
Capture the Energy of the Season
Regardless of your religious beliefs, it is hard to ignore the energy this season brings. The music is different, the smiles are more frequent and there is generally a more positive feeling all around. If you notice that energy, feed off of it. Bring more hope, joy and gratitude to your work and life. Raise your sights and be more positive by soaking up the positivity and goodwill around you. (And while you are at it, be a carrier of these emotions too, not just a sponge.)
Reflect on the Past 11 Months
One of the most powerful ways to learn is by reflecting on our experiences, good and bad, repeatable or not. And while we can do that any time, there is no better time than December to do that. Forward progress is nearly always aided by deep thought about both the past and the future. So, make December a time of reflection and learning, setting the stage for faster and more confident progress forward in the New Year.
Use the Golden Week
If you will be working in the week between Christmas and New Year’s I have long called this the Golden Week. It is a week when you can get so much done because fewer people around you are working! Dedicate yourself to being focused (there will be far fewer distractions) and getting much done during these days. Yes, you can look forward to your New Year’s activities, but you will enjoy them much more with the satisfaction of accomplishment in your immediate past.
If you aren’t working during this week, it is still a Golden Week! Schedule some time for yourself, to reflect, plan and work on your goals. Put that time on your calendar, let others know and hold firm to it – you will be glad that you did.
And, as promised here are your bonus ideas:
Make Some Memories
It is likely you will spend time with family and close friends in the coming weeks. Don’t take my advice above in a vacuum. It is the holidays! Make one of your productivity decisions be to spend time with those close to you and make some memories that will last a lifetime. You know the family stories you talk about every holiday? Why not resolve to create some new ones this year?
The advice here has been personal in nature. This one is more about others. This is a time of year when people tend to share positive messages with others, things like: “Happy New Year!” “Have a Great Holiday!” “See you Next Year!” will be said over and over. But rather than just sharing those warm thoughts, why not genuinely encourage and appreciate the people around you this holiday? Share specific thanks and genuine encouragement. It may be the best gift you give this season. And when you do so, you will see the tangible truth in the adage “it is more blessed to give than receive.”
And lastly . . .
Watch the Sweets!
December is also the month of weight gain! While many of us will eat too much of everything, be a bit careful with the sweets – they tend to drag us down, making us less focused and more lethargic. Enjoy some, but watch it and remember all that you plan to accomplish in December!
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