This time of year creates mounds of extra work while many other priorities clamor for attention. So many people are trying to balance end of year accounting, client needs, strategic planning, and of course holiday parties, all while trying to be available for family obligations. Add some travel and unexpected weather to the mix and frustration ensues. No wonder so many people get depressed at this time of year.

Somehow you have to bring order to the chaos. Instead of trying to do everything, pick your priorities. Make a list today of every additional activity required before January 6th. Rank them in order of importance and put a check by the ones you really can eliminate until the list is reasonable.  Better to perform well on a few items then to have a massive fail on many tasks.  Just make sure you manage the expectations of the people involved so they know they'll have to wait or make do.

Here are additional insights from my Inc. colleagues.

1. Have No Regrets

What will you remember or regret?

Just after my daughter (who is now 16) was born, my grandmother came down with what we thought was just a simple cold.  It turned out to be lung cancer and she died just a few weeks later. She had the opportunity to hold my daughter only once.  At the same time I was actively involved in forming and staffing a new company, but I can't remember any of the details of my responsibilities at work as vividly as I remember seeing my grandmother hold my newborn daughter. This experience in particular helps me prioritize events and obligations into two categories: will I remember or regret?  If the answer is yes, then I give it a higher priority and do what I can to fulfill it.  If I answer no, then it may be something that isn't worth my time if I find I am conflicted. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

Want to read more from Eric? Click here.


2. Maintain Your Strength

A. Take care of you first. Get the sleep, nutrition, exercise and rest you need. It's like the emergency instructions on a plane: Put the mask on first, then help the next person.
B. Jettison what you can. I'm one of these people who likes to home-make around the holidays, and every year I plan to make my own cards but never quite have the time. And that's OK.
C. Use your peace-time wisely. We all have days that are busier than others. Use the less-than-crazy times to get your business squared away for the next couple of weeks. Then you can take the holidays to focus on friends and family. Minda Zetlin--Start Me Up

Want to read more from Minda? Click here.


3. Stop the Stress

The holiday season, entertaining, shopping, year-end crunch, planning for the New Year--they place heavy demands on our minds and bodies. I have always remembered a simple acronym to help prevent the negative effects of stressful times: H.A.L.T. Avoid getting too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely or too Tired (excuse me while I grab a bite and vent to a friend, then take a nap!). Bottom line: take care of yourself--physically, socially, spiritually and emotionally. So, even though this is the time of year to go-go-go, make sure you HALT to ensure you are at your best.  Lee Colan--Leadership Matters

Want to read more from Lee? Click here.


4.
Indulge Yourself

Don't let the holidays become all about pleasing everyone else. Remember, we teach people how to treat us and those who love you will understand your needs and priorities. Now is a good time to set new expectations all around! Take a moment to tune into your heart and revisit the expectations that you place upon yourself. Yes, you can gracefully decline that one-too-many holiday party and send a gift instead. And yes, it's all right to have dinner at the in-laws and dessert at the neighbor's house if that's what you'd like to do. This season is meant for love and joy; indulge a little! Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist

Want to read more from Marla? Click here.


5. Revel in the Spirit

The holiday season is the time of year when you should take a step back from all the pressures of your business, count your blessings, and show the most-important people in your life--your family, your employees, your customers and vendors--that you care about them. It's also a time to give back to your community--with your time, your expertise, or your money. As the old saying goes, "No one on his deathbed ever said, 'I wish I had spent more time in the office.'" Do something special for your employees--some sort of get together or party, however modest, is a must. Do something special for your customers, vendors and community -- reach out to them with messages of holiday thanks for their business and support, and volunteer to help out at a local food bank or homeless shelter. And spend time with family. Without them, all the business success and money in the world is worth nothing. Peter Economy--The Management Guy

Want to read more from Peter? Click here.

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