Entry By Jason Brick
The holidays are a time crunch even for people who aren't running a business. When you add being responsible for the biggest retail season of the year, it's amazing any of us survive to see the New Year. This holiday season, do yourself and those around you a favor by using some or all of these tricks to maximize your holiday schedule for better productivity and lower stress.
- Get Up One Hour Earlier You'll feel a little rocky the first few days, but this hour of extra productive time can help you clear a major task or a bunch of minor errands off your docket, allowing you to start the day with momentum and enthusiasm. If you keep it up, you'll find yourself able to get to bed on time...and end up getting more sleep than if you set your alarm for the regular time.
- Practice Saying "No" 'Tis the season to over-commit. You'll be asked to parties, begged to run errands, tasked with participating in community events. Give yourself permission to take on only the items that will truly improve your holiday experience. Remember: saying "no" to something you don't want is saying "yes" to something else you find more important.
- Schedule "You Time" Get to the gym. Go on a date with your spouse or family. Take ten minutes to relax and breathe. Get a haircut or a manicure. Time to refresh pays off in productivity later down the line, but it's often the first to go when the schedule gets tight. Write it in your calendar, in pen.
- Combine Errands From last-minute gifts to picking up the turkey for a feast, errands are just part of the holiday routine. You can cut your errand time in half by planning your tasks and combining them strategically. Bonus points for listening to podcasts or a good audio book while you're out and about.
- Cybershop Shopping online takes less than ten percent of the time it takes to shop in a physical store, once you take into account drive time, parking, dealing with crowds and waiting in line. The prices are usually better online, too. Challenge yourself this year to see how much of your shopping you can do from your desk.
- Overestimate Your Schedule When things get tight, it's tempting to try shoehorning tasks into your schedule so you can do everything you think you have to do. If one runs long, you end up with a cascading series of late arrivals and overruns. Instead, schedule 125% to 150% of the time you think a task will take. If nothing goes wrong, you have bonus time to take care of those little things that add up every day.