This time of year, excess can be all around us. Too often, the holidays quickly become overwhelming and a source of stress instead of something to enjoy. To me, it’s all about getting back to the basics.
It’s about making things easier by removing items off my to-do lists, where appropriate, and staying focused on what really matters.
This simplified approach is important to keep in mind during November and December, and it’s one that can help all year long, especially in our professional roles.
Here are three mantras I use throughout the year, and find myself repeating more often during the holidays:
- I don’t have to do it all.
There’s a reason why so many articles are dedicated to the art of saying “no.” Knowing when to turn down a party invite, pass on an outing or skip a tradition is an important way to stay focused on what matters, and not allow distractions to get in your way.
This is a great mindset to apply to your daily work. You don’t have to say yes to every request or project that comes across your desk. Simplify your workload by creating a checklist or filters that helps weed out those distractions. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does it help move the company forward?
- Will this project/request help achieve professional or business goals?
- What will this project take me away from?
Spend a few minutes on identifying your criteria that helps you focus on important tasks. You may even be able to use your list to help simplify the holidays!
- Focus on people
The holidays, after all, are really about the people you’re celebrating with. The same goes for your day-to-day work. It’s easy to get caught up in statistics, to-do, responsibilities and projections. Put people first to focus on what really matters this time of year, and better appreciate the holidays.
But keeping people at the heart of your business – whether it’s colleagues, customers or other stakeholders – is a great source of inspiration and way to stay motivated every day all year long. Consider employees and clients when you’re making important business decisions. Do what’s best for them, and your company will almost always benefit.
- Indulge a little.
The holidays are a great time to indulge – a little. Do a little something extra for a loved one or treat yourself to that item you’ve been eyeing all year long. There’s no need to go overboard, but the holidays are supposed to be fun. Get into the holiday spirit by giving to others, and giving into a whim.
I firmly believe you should indulge a little at work by taking (calculated) risks or taking that leap of faith. Great companies will never go anywhere if leaders aren’t willing to push the envelope, try new things or be committed to staying agile.
You don’t have to be a leader to guide that change or give into an indulgence, either. Sign up for a course you’ve always wanted to take. Push an innovative idea that you’re excited about. Learn a new skill. Giving into your professional interests is a critical way to stay true to yourself and help improve your business.
These are just a few ways I stay focused at the holidays, and all year long. How you do you keep things simple this busy time of year? And do you find yourself using the same mindset in these busy months that you do throughout the year?
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