Christmas comes round really rather regularly at the same time every year, but somehow, for many of us it takes us by surprise. Carols start being played in the shops, these days, around the second week in November, which tends to jar a little. “It’s too early”, we moan to the checkout person. “I know”, they groan back at us. But is it? Ok, hearing “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” every time you go into a shop for the six weeks in the run up to the big day can get a little wearing, but is it a good reminder that we should really get a move on?
There are some people that seem to deal effortlessly with Christmas. And they can’t help smugly mentioning that that they finished wrapping all their presents weeks ago when so far you’ve only bought a pair of novelty socks. So what’s going on?
The truth is many of these people are just more organised and more disciplined than the rest of us and if you look closely there’s a good chance they are like that at work too. Are you?
Here are some tips for dealing with this crazy time and your work in general.
Set the deadline early
Is your deadline for Christmas the 25th? How about making it the 17th, for example? Plan to get everything bought and wrapped and ordered by that day, then you’ll be less stressed and have some contingency.
Think about your work deadlines. How often do you honestly set the deadline a week earlier? P.S. It doesn’t count if you then say “but it’s ok, I’ve really still got a week!”
Use an app to note down everything you need to do as you think of it. ‘Any.do’ is a good one. Then make a list of all the presents you have bought as you buy them, adding in present ideas as you think of them. A spreadsheet is a good idea for this so you can filter and sort it. It’ll help you keep track and you won’t forget about all those presents you bought the second week in November in a panic as the carols started playing.
At work, try making a list of your tasks and tick them off. Use a planning application if you know how. Note what you need to do and what you’ve done.
Trust your judgement and get on with it
When you see a present that would be perfect for Uncle Bill – JUST BUY IT! Don’t think “I’ll get it next week because it’s too early now/I’m not sure/ it’s too crowded”. It’s only going to get worse; it will remain like a splinter in your brain until you decide you are going to buy it and then there won’t be any more left!
At work, stop procrastinating about the tasks ahead; believe you have the capability to achieve them now and stop making excuses. Just do it.
Set enough time aside and ask for help
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to sort and wrap presents, for example. Set aside a day or a couple of evenings to do it and get your partner to do it with you. If they are going to enjoy the day too they should be part of the preparation.
At work, overestimate how long everything will take because it will always take longer than you think. And ask for help when you need it.
If you’re the partner who does absolutely nothing at Christmas, consider how you behave at work: would you ignore colleagues or staff if they were working towards something you were invested in? Probably not. So pull your finger out and offer your services to your partner who, in all likelihood, at this moment, feels like they are about to completely lose it!
(Oh and start writing the cards, like now!)
19 Nov 2015