With Thanksgiving just around the corner and family vacations and office parties following not far behind, you may find yourself feeling short on time for doing those higher level practices that keep you on track.
The first one that goes by the wayside is the Weekly Review. People who generally do their weekly review weekly go down to biweekly, the biweeklies cut down to monthly, and the monthlies say, “Wake me up when it’s January.” But what we need during a busy season are more of the tools that keep us relaxed, not less.
So here’s my recipe for a holiday mini-review starting with the runway, up to 10,000 feet, and finishing up at 20,000 feet. (If you have no idea what I just said, read about the Horizons of Focus.) I dare you to schedule this mini-review on your calendar and see if you can do it in 30 minutes. Also, if you’re not doing much of a weekly review to begin with, consider this as a probable baby step.
1. What’s hot on your To-Do list?
Review your task lists and be aware of what has your attention. What’s hot and what’s not? Make sure to write down the very next action step you need to do to move this area forward. Break it down as small as possible.
If something is hot on your radar, make sure it has a clear next action step, a due date only if appropriate, and that’s it’s bumped up higher on your digital or paper list where you can see it. Write down any new actions that spring to mind, and delete anything that is complete.
2. Every Project Counts
Review your projects list and make sure you’ve got everything listed there. A surprising amount of unnecessary stress is created by not writing down some of the big projects you are working on. You might think you don’t need to write it down because you will never forget it. Ah, grasshopper, writing down your projects is not just about not forgetting. It is about training yourself to forget Project X while you focus on Project Y. And to forget both of those projects while you go on a romantic date with your wife. So, take a tip from me, and try writing down all of your projects. Don’t spend a lot of time getting the words just perfect. Write just enough so that it has meaning to you, no more, no less.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll
3. What’s on the back burner?
Review this Areas of Focus checklist to stay in touch with areas of your life that go “on hold” during busy times. Examples: Your work life is on hold while you take a vacation or celebrate the holiday season with 10 relatives in town. Your gardening hobby will go on hold if there’s an ice storm. Some of your day-to-day responsibilities go on the back burner when a major project deadline is approaching. All of these imbalances in your focus are normal and appropriate, if you respond to them appropriately. In order to come out of the tunnel smiling, make sure you review this checklist.
Think about your whole life:
- Home Maintenance
- Transportation / Travel
- Hobbies & Interests
If anything time-sensitive is coming up in these areas during the busy season, put it on your calendar and block out plenty of time to do it. You think it takes 30 minutes? Schedule an hour. Almost everyone under-estimates how much time things take. Even if you have to defer the item for a significant period, get it out of your head so that you will have the freedom to concentrate on the thing that most has your attention, that big project at work or the flood of relatives coming your way. Or that romantic date with your wife.
#1 Most Important Tip For Holiday Peace of Mind
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” – Morrie Schwartz
Be nice to yourself. Forgive yourself quickly when you make mistakes. Forgive others quickly when they make them, too. I’m pretty sure that is what all of the holidays across all religions were designed for – greater peace, greater closeness with each other and our source.
There are so many ways to be nicer to yourself. An easy one that you should do as part of your Holiday Mini-Review is appreciate yourself for at least one thing you’re doing well for each of the Areas of Focus above. If you can’t think of something for one area, I dare you to ask your business colleague, spouse, or kids to help you come up with a simple statement of appreciation for you. Then you can help that person come up with some self-appreciation statements of their own. That should make for a happy thanks-giving.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
– Paul J. Meyer
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.”
– Henry Kissinger
I hope your upcoming holiday season is full of joy and peace. May your head be empty and your belly be full.