~ Annie Dillard
A tale of Christmas present…
The last few weeks I’ve been coaching a lot of tired and exhausted managers. These people have spent the year working at 150 MPH. They’ve delivered, over-delivered, and in that run up to Christmas, they continue to deliver some more.
Most people see Christmas as a brief ‘time out’ from work. For a few days they get to escape from the busy-ness, usually a chance to over indulge mince pies and sherry!
Working as an international consultant I know how this feels. Once you get to December, the last few weeks up until Christmas can seem a very uphill climb. You’ve been working so hard all year, even though your appraisal says you’re an ‘A’ player and a ‘star’, it’s still hard to take the foot off the gas and not be as hard on yourself in those last few working days before Christmas.
Some of my clients have caught colds; others are just limping their way towards the Christmas holidays.
Sometimes we even forget how to slow down and be gentle on ourselves because we’re not used to it!
Here are a few tips to help you ‘wind down’ for Christmas if you have to work:
1. Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down – Full on all year is MORE than enough. Slow the pace down and set yourself 1-2 key things that you want to achieve over the Christmas working period. It’s okay to slow down a little. Re-set some boundaries for the next couple of weeks if you’re working. Lighten up on the pressure.
2. Create Some Thinking Time – This time of year many organizations are goal-setting, so this is a good time to spend ‘on your business’ rather than ‘in your business.’ Instead of doing the do-do of working and reacting. Set some time aside to get clear on your goals for the coming year. Define what’s important, set some boundaries around them. Get clear on how you want to work in the New Year. What do you want to do differently? Create a good foundation for next year…NOW!
3. Permission to Leave On Time – I always think of Bob Cratchit, who is the abused, underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic Charles Dickens story ‘A Christmas Carol’. How Bob has to work on Christmas Day. Often Scrooge is not our boss but ourselves making us work harder and squeezing out every last drop of working time. It’s totally okay to leave on time over Christmas. Give yourself permission to go home!
4. De-Clutter Your Work Space – Why not clear your working space in readiness to hit the ground running in the New Year? Clearing the clutter, whether it’s physical paper work or your email folders, can really help you to start the New Year from a better place. You’ll feel more focused and organized.
5. Be Present At Home – Forget about work when you get home. Be 100% present for your family and friends this Christmas and have some fun! Take some time out for YOU. Even if it’s playing with your kids’ Christmas presents!
Re-read the quotation at the top of this eZine article – How are YOU spending your life?