Feeling out of control is one of the quickest ways to feel stress. Our Productivity Training helps people develop good systems to manage their work, boost their productive and reduce stress. As much as we use our Productivity Ninja skills at work, we sometimes forget to apply them to our personal lives, especially in busy times, such as the lead up to the winter holidays.
Not anymore though. Here are 5 of our favorite ways to make the holiday season less stressful, more productive and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Some of them are simply situations which are out of your control; in these cases, the Ninja reaction is to think about what you can achieve in the two-hour flight delay, what new thing you can experience that brings you joy, or else use that time to eliminate something you’d otherwise need to spend time later on getting done. If you were prepared, you could use this time to rattle through phone calls or emails, clear a pile of reading, do some quality thinking or anything else that will help you reclaim that time for something more fun later on.
But such tasks require the relaxed concentration that comes from having already moved on from feeling out of control.
You know those to do lists and checklists you rely on for projects at work? They work outside of those projects too. The same thinking you apply at work, can also be applied to holiday preparations for your home. Family wish lists, errands that need to be run before you’re on holiday, meal plans for the Christmas days, various shopping lists, remembering to turn your out-of-office on, etc. – those are all things which are better placed in your Second Brain tool rather than storing them in your own brain. To avoid being reminded of work while you’re out present shopping, make sure you set up a separate board/list/project within your chosen tool.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about the holiday season, sit down and write down everything that comes to mind. This “brain dump” will do wonders to your stress levels and give you a good start on setting up your home “second brain”.
When people get busy they become harder to get in contact with. However, most people make time for significant events such as the office party or fundraisers, etc. Utilize this and get talking to the people around you. This is an opportunity to make valuable connections with people you may not normally get a chance to speak to.
Some of those other examples are where you perceive there to be a lack of control, but which are actually just evidence of your unwillingness to engage in taking control. For instance, our founder Graham regularly sat on a train with an annoying youth playing loud music and cursed under his breath whilst getting more and more stressed.
One day, he decided to take back control. He had a civilized conversation with the guy. He says: “Adrenaline ran through me, as my false perception of this person was that he’d probably react by killing me. How wrong I was. He was polite, apologetic and we got along just fine from there, actually having two or three pleasant conversations before he got off the train. And I got some work done, was less stressed and surprised myself along the way.”
Think about how a sense of control is affecting you this Christmas, take a stand and improve the experience.
As the end of the year is coming closer, many of us start thinking of goals and aspirations for the new year. Thinking back, however, how often have we managed to stick to those resolutions? Do you even remember the ones you set yourself at the beginning of this year? Graham Allcott knows the feeling all too well and that’s why we’ve sat down with him to chat all things New Year’s Resolutions and how we can set realistic ones we can actually manage to stick to.
Now, shake off all those worries and start looking forward to the holiday season.
By Hannah Urbanek
Hannah is Think Productive UK’s Head of Marketing and the voice behind much of our global social media and editorial content. You can connect with Think Productive North America directly here or with Barbara Green, our President, on LinkedIn.
This post was originally published in December 2013 and, like the best selling book, has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.