I had a moment a few weekends ago where I felt the world was just whizzing past me and I was struggling to keep up. And I had that feeling, 'how on earth am I going to sustain this through until Christmas?' Fortunately I was having an honest moment with myself so conceded that I couldn't. More importantly, however, it catapulted me into action.
Here are the 7 questions I asked myself and the actions I took that may be useful for you as you finish up the year:
Question 1: How many weeks left until Christmas? I am a high level (vs detail) oriented person, so knowing the time until Christmas at a macro level is the fundamental basis to allow my mind to make sense of the high volume of activity.
Action: I printed out a blank calendar and wrote on the left hand column the number of weeks until Christmas. This provides me with that high level view of time.
Question 2: How many weekends left? Let's face it, 2 days a week to get through all remaining family and friends' birthday celebrations, silly season parties, weddings, funerals and then the mundane household admin is not enough! Time to get into the detail...
Action: Write in every activity (and the time requirement) you already have planned on the weekends.
Question 3: How many week nights do I want to have plans? As I've mentioned above, 2 days isn't enough, so plans are going to spill into the week. Before you start saying yes to everyone start to think about what is reasonable and realistic.
Action: Find that number and commit to it. Then...write in your printed calendar any week night activities you already have planned. If you have more than your number, make a note of it.
Question 4: What is a sustainable balance of activities during this time? This will vary for every person, but have a think about the different activities you participate in and how they contribute to your energy. For me, they fall into exercise, rest, dinner or drinks with friends and spending time with family. Action: Get clear in your mind about the balance you'd like to see across the week. Having completed questions #2 and #3, review your calendar to see how it correlates to your answer to question #4. Identify and make a note of any weeks where the balance is out of whack.
Question 5: Who do I want to be spending that time with? This year has thrown me many lemons, and it has reminded me that who I spend my time with is my choice and one of the most important choices that I can make.
Action: Identify who you want to be spending time with. Have you spent enough time with them this year? Are they the people you currently have plans with between now and Christmas? Make a note of any anomalies.
Question 6: How do I want to feel by Christmas (for me it's by the time I get on the plane for our family holiday a few days earlier)? It's a shame that we often feel exhausted, bloated and unhealthy during this beautiful time of year. Allow your mind to project forward to Christmas and jot some words down on the back of your calendar that describe how you'd like to feel: fresh, energised, healthy, prepared...you get the drift.
Action: At a glance, when you look at your calendar and the plans you have scheduled (don't forget that at this point it doesn't include work), how does it make you feel? Exhausted? Excited? Refreshed? Make a note of any specific events that start to take the wind out of you.
Question 7: How do I want to feel coming into 2019? An extension of question 6, but that week after Christmas sort of meanders by us and boom: it's the New Year! In January, or by the time we return to work after the holiday, how do you want to be feeling about 2019?
Action: What goals have you currently set yourself for 2019? How does that mean you need you to start the new year? What do you need to do now and over the remaining weeks of the year to set yourself up to achieve those?
Include those activities in your calendar. The list above looks exhausting, but the relief, direction and focus it has provided me both at work and at home since I had my moment has definitely made that investment in time worth my while. And...it only took about 30 minutes to do one Saturday afternoon while the family was toiling away in the background. I'd really encourage you to have a go - and feel free to contact me directly if you think it would be helpful for me to take you through it. Would be my Christmas gift to you. :-)