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It’s OK To Stress This Holiday Season

It’s OK To Stress This Holiday Season

Between cooking, cleaning, and entertaining guests, Christmas can hardly feel like the most wonderful time of year. It’s a mad dash from Black Friday to New Year’s Day to see who comes out clean on the other side. Stress is a natural part of the process, but how you manage it can mean the difference between missing the mark or coming out on top. Signs that you might be having a stress overload include headaches, high blood pressure, becoming easily agitated, and insomnia.

Here are 5 common scenarios people find themselves in over the holidays and how to successfully manage your stress this holiday season:

Putting up decorations

Christmas enthusiasts plan their decorations months in advance to ensure they are perfect. However, that does not mean everything will go up without a hitch. Always make sure you have multiple hands on deck to assist when needed. Having a helper will avoid injuries and get the job done faster. It is also smart to keep duplicates of Christmas decorations on hand. In the event something breaks, or a bulb goes out, you will have the exact match to continue your project.

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How to Stress Less: Avoid stress for years to come by properly storing your decorations. Something as simple as storing your lights on a winder can make unraveling them much easier year after year. Start decorating earlier so that you do not feel overwhelmed closer to Christmas time, just don’t cross that line and decorate before Thanksgiving!

Managing the crowds

Whether you are navigating an airport or a retail store, crowds are an unavoidable nuisance during the holiday season. When flying this time of year, try to identify when non-peak times will be so that you will not be bombarded while you are trying to get to your gate. This will help you stress less and save money for other holiday needs. If you plan on driving, map out all the major cities along your route and try to get through them at low traffic times.

How to Stress Less: When it comes to shopping, getting a majority of your items online gives you the ability to browse without having to fight through crowds and stand in long lines. Most retail stores offer the same discounts both in-store and online. There are also some coupon codes that are only available to online shoppers and can help you save a few bucks during checkout. If you do have to visit the retailer, go as soon as they open, or right before close, to bypass large crowds. Prep for your holiday dinner in the weeks leading up to the holiday to avoid gridlocks at the grocery store.

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Getting supper on the table

Feeding all of your friends and family may seem like a daunting task, but the right appliances can simplify cooking your holiday meal. You can make sure your meat is cooked to perfection with the Range cooking thermometer for your iPhone or iPad. Simply plug the Range into your headphone port and insert it into your meat or baked good. It sends instant updates on your food’s cooking progress so you never have worry about over- or under-cooking again.

How to Stress Less: Crock-Pot has recently come out with a “Smart” Slow Cooker powered by WeMo. It allows you to connect all the functions on your crockpot remotely through the WeMo app. This means that you can start, stop, and change the temperature on your slow cooker from virtually anywhere. For this function to work properly, it is important to have an internet provider that offers internet speeds over 15Mbps or you may risk your slow cooker disconnecting from the internet and not responding to your app when you need it. By switching to smart appliances, you will be able to be out and about running important holiday errands, wow your guests with amazing dishes, and have dinner on the table with no problems.

Finding the perfect presents

Not sure what present to get everyone this year or worried you might go over budget? Shopping for family and friends during the holidays, though paved with good intentions, can be a stress in and of itself. You might be clueless of what to give a new love interest in your life or frantic about how to give your parents something different from the gifts you gave them last year and the year before. Well stress no more because companies like Target and Amazon make holiday shopping a breeze.

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How to Stress Less: Both sites offer daily discounts for a wide variety of gift items. Download Target’s Cartwheel app to your smart device and save up to 50% on presents for friends and family. Amazon also has great deals starting on Black Friday and continuing throughout the rest of the year. You are able to filter by age, gender, department, and price to narrow your search, and with Amazon Prime you can continue to order all the way up till Christmas Eve to get your presents on time.

Entertaining 101

If you are hosting the holiday festivities at your house, it can be an extremely stressful couple of days leading up to everyone arriving. In order to prepare, it is important for you to take time to relax before all of the madness so that you feel refreshed. Make a to-do list and stick to it so you can spend less time trying to remember everything. It is important to begin preparing as early as possible so that you leave time for any errors.

How to Stress Less: Early preparation may consist of shopping, booking hotels and flights, decorating, and taking Christmas card photos. For the day of, you can create a Christmas playlist and light holiday-scented candles to make your house feel warm and inviting.

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Remember; it’s OK to stress out during the holidays. Just make sure you don’t let the holiday madness get to you!

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Julie Knight

Content Writer

It’s OK To Stress This Holiday Season

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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