The period between Thanksgiving and The New Year is one of the most difficult times for businesses and professionals to get work done. Nearly everyone is shifting their focus from getting work done to thinking about family, holiday parties, gifts, religious services, and just plain relaxing. For the majority of very successful business professionals, it’s also difficult to shift from the work mindset to the personal mindset. This means you have a decision to make. Either:
A. You close up shop, go on vacation and spend quality time with your family.
B. You continue to work most of the week and complete projects.
C. You force yourself to work, but don’t really get anything done.
D. You force yourself to take time off and spend most of your time thinking about everything that needs to get done.
Obviously you don’t want to end up with choices “C” or “D” above. They are both stressful and counter-productive. If you’re going to take the time off, enjoy yourself and forget about work. If you work most of the time, this may take some practice. If so, keep reminding yourself of one rule – the way most people learn a new habit, or get good at anything for that matter, is through practice or “spaced repetition.” It may take some practice before you get good at “de-stressing,” but it’s work the effort.
On the other hand, if you have pending closings or negotiations, or if you’ve got projects that must be completed, make the decision that if you’re going to work, you’re going to be productive. Use the following steps to be sure you’re able to get all important tasks completed, both personal and professional:
1. Make a list of everything that must be done with business during the holidays. This would include:
A. Appointments with buyers and sellers.
B. Preparation for pending 2012 closings.
C. Recap of your performance and most important accomplishments during the past year.
D. Outline of your Business Plan for 2013.
E. Office and file cleaning and organization.
F. Holiday cards, gifts, poinsettias, etc. mailed or delivered to your best clients and contacts.
2. Make a list of the important holiday events. These would include:
A. Holiday gatherings and social events.
B. Preparation for Christmas.
C. Gift exchanges
E. Relaxing and recreation
3. Using a blank calendar, make a list of the personal and professional tasks you want to accomplish each day. Be sure to limit the number of hours you’ll be spending working on business related tasks. Keep in mind that this time of the year, it’s very easy to spend the entire day at the office, and yet, get nearly nothing done. If this is going to happen, just accept that it’s better to just take the time off.
4. At the end of each day, ask yourself how you’re doing. If you’re not satisfied with how things are going, or are pressed for time, revisit your list of “To Do’s” and make necessary adjustments.
Most importantly, remember the reason you’ve worked so hard the entire year – to improve the quality of your life. Don’t get so absorbed making money that you forget to have fun and give thanks for all of your blessings. And, if you struggle to make the transition from business to personal, think about how you’re impacting your families holidays. Be sure you’re doing what you can to make this time of the year as special as it should be not just for you, but for all of the people that are important in your life.