After all the bad weather we’ve been having lately, I’m really looking forward to the summer. So to help me lift my spirits and prepare for warmer days I’m bringing you the Summer Series. This blog post was inspired by my friend and regular reader, Sandra Keros. She’s a total expert on how to unplug and recharge.
It’s sort of a point of pride for me that I don’t like to just buy people gifts for the sake of buying gifts. I like to find presents that will really mean something to a person. It’s why I keep a list of gift ideas for people throughout the year, to make sure I’m giving them the best gift possible.
But sometimes, I still get stuck!
Some people can be very difficult to buy for or they don’t give you much inspiration for gift ideas. Christmas is nearly upon us so if you haven’t got someone a gift yet, you’re probably about to go into panic mode, but there’s no need. Read more
We’re part way through December and the holiday season is truly upon us, all the store fronts are decorated, the malls are pumping Christmas music and Hanukkah begins tomorrow! The thing about December is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, to commit to too many social engagements or get too many presents for people you don’t really know that well!
As you know I’m a big fan of essentialism and I’ll be treating this holiday season exactly the same. My recommendation would be to think of the one thing you want to do before January (I know, really just one thing!) and put all your focus into that.
You don’t have to forget about everything else, but keep your number one priority in mind. Here are some example priorities and how to make the most out of them:
To spend more time with family – Holidays are meant to be about family, but we can sometimes end up spending more time making awkward small talk with your cousin’s neighbor than with your actual family. Politely decline invitations from the people you don’t really need to see and instead make a plan to hang out with your kids or your parents – even if it’s just staying on the sofa and watching Christmas movies. Read more
When it comes to preparing for the holidays I’m a firm believer that it’s never too early to start. Usually I start in August. This year though, I’ve been feeling more disorganized than usual. I’ve realized that when I was working at Fox News I had settled into a pretty good routine. Now that I’m out on my own I’ve been struggling to find that balance again. When you work a job with a set finish time it’s much easier to check out mentally and compartmentalize your tasks. As I get my footing as an entrepreneur it’s not as easy because I find myself doing everything all the time!
Luckily for me there’s still time to get organized – all I need is a list. If you’re in the same boat as me it’s fine, but we need to get started. Here’s a list of all the things to consider before the end of the year:
Presents Lists – This is the most obvious list to start with and maybe the one that requires the most thought. This year I’m taking a more essentialist approach to gifts. Instead of going overboard I’m thinking about what the people I care about could really use this year. In the new Bad Mom’s Christmas movie Mila Kunis’s character jokes how she’s bought so many unnecessary presents this year, going so far as to buy her barista a scented candle. We laugh – but who hasn’t gone overboard on gift shopping at least once? Look over your list and have a good think about who really belongs there! I like to keep ideas in my Evernote notebook throughout the year for times just like this when I can’t think of what to get. In that folder I keep ideas that I’ve found and notes on what people have told me through the year that they would like or need. Read more
The new year brings with it hope for the future but also a little guilt as well. Guilt because we look back at the previous year and think “oh I didn’t get to do as much as I set out to do.”
It happens and it’s disappointing. And nothing reminds us more of this than looking at that unfulfilled bucket list. Or starting yet another day with the best of intentions only to get sucked into your old roommate’s vacation photos on Facebook and then getting nothing done. We all promise ourselves that next year will be different.
However that’s quite statistically unlikely, given that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions!
So how do you break out of the vicious cycle? It’s all starts with how you make these goals. Here’ are the steps you need to finally cross off some of the most difficult tasks on your list!
Imagine next year’s Christmas letter – Every year people will send out Christmas letters detailingall the exciting trips they’ve been on t and all their new jobs/houses/kids/etc. Whether or not you regularly write one of these, productivity guru and author Laura Vanderkam explains in her TED talk about time management how you can use them to focus your goals. Laura suggests you imagine what you would write on next year’s letter today. That vision includes the 3-5 key things that would have to happen for it to be a successful year. Once you have picked those things you have goals for the next year – now you just need an action plan.
Prioritize – Once you’ve picked your goals you don’t need to roar ahead, all guns blazing trying to achieve everything at once. Write out the steps you will need to take to achieve each goal and create a priority list of what is more urgent. Things that need to be started on right away, like training for a marathon, take top priority. You will need to start carving out time in your calendar for training and book your place in the race. Less important things like cleaning out the garage can wait until a later date (but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether!) For an easy way to figure out how to prioritize your new goals, sign up for the FREE PDF I created for you called “Prioritize Like a Pro.”
Find the why – I wrote recently about a talk Julie Morgenstern gave, where she explained how she always used to hoard cookbooks. And she couldn’t throw them away until she understood why she kept them. The reason — she kept them because they represented the mother she wanted to be. (Isn’t that heartbreaking?) Similarly you can’t successfully do-over your goals from last year until you understand why you failed. Perhaps they were too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time to do any of them or any research that would have helped. Sometimes you have to realize that maybe you won’t ever do it and toss the goal all together. We’re not all perfect, sometimes you have to let go of those goals you’ve never quite gotten around to and be OK with it. I, for instance will never learn to speak French. That’s one goal checked off by default!
What are some of your goals for 2017?