Advertising
Advertising

5 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips to Beat the Holiday Rush

5 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips to Beat the Holiday Rush

christmas-tree-picjumbo-2

    Think you can’t avoid the shopping frenzy of the holiday season? You might be one of those shoppers who want to wait to capitalize on holiday sales to get that big screen TV you have your heart set on or you might be the king or queen of procrastinating and prefer to wait until the last minute to accomplish things on your list. Either way, with preparation, you can improve your shopping efficiency and effectiveness so that you can better fulfill your wish lists. As with other errands, it’s key to do your homework before heading out so you can save time, money, and your sanity. These 5 last-minute holiday shopping hacks will help you get through the frenzy of this holiday shopping season:

    Compare prices before going to the store

    ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, but don’t leave the house unless you’re prepared because malls and stores will be packed. First, write down the items you want to buy and use your smartphone as a price-comparison tool. Mobile apps like Amazon Price Check, Shelfbucks, and ShopSavvy let you compare prices on thousands of products. And many retailers will lower their price to match a competitor’s, so show them (on your phone).

    Advertising

    Secondly, consider using coupon apps such as Ibotta, SavingStar, and Checkout 51. Printable coupon sites found online include Coupons.com and SmartSource. If shipping costs weigh on your mind, sign up for a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which offers free two-day shipping on eligible items.

    Guarantee your access to limited items

    The retail industry is implementing various practices to improve their customers’ buying experiences, so take advantage. For instance, Best Buy, and other big retailers, are issuing color-coded tickets to ensure that customers get the products they came for. Check out your retailer’s website and print these tickets so you won’t waste time staring at “Sold Out” signs. And call the store in advance to see if a certain product is available. Some outlets will let you reserve an item if you give them your information.

    Preparation is key, or you could leave the parking lot with nothing in tow. According to a 2015 study by Box Technologies, more than one-third (38 percent) of UK shoppers leave the store empty-handed because of long checkout lines, and 24 percent of respondents said five minutes is as long as they are prepared to wait before leaving without purchasing anything.

    Advertising

    Digitize your transactions

    Swiping at the counter makes checkout much faster and more convenient. If you’re a cardholder, consider using mobile payment technology, such as Apple Pay or Capital One Wallet, to digitize your transactions. These payment technologies are designed to make beginning-to-end shopping a seamless and integrated experience. A mobile wallet avoids a paper trail of receipts, gift cards, and warranty cards that can easily get lost in the holiday shuffle, and conversely, a digital trail facilitates product returns, refunds, gift exchanges and other transactions more easily.

    A study by Capital One finds that nearly half (48 percent) of mobile wallet users plan to make at least one gift purchase through this technology — reflecting the growing adoption of mobile wallet. Capital One’s version helps shoppers get instant purchase notifications on their mobile device the moment their credit card is used, lock their card through their phone, as well as, digitize receipts and multiple gift cards at one time.

    Experts predict that mobile wallet will see record use this holiday season. It offers better security and retailers can store loyalty rewards and other enticements on your smartphone. Mobile accounts for over half (56 percent) of online store visits during the 2016 holidays, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

    Advertising

    decorations-picjumbo-2

      Get help from shopping assistants

      Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart are a few retailers who are providing “holiday helpers” to assist customers with shopping tasks, such as looking for related items and comparing similar products. In-store helpers can also go back to the aisles to fetch forgotten goods as the customer waits at the checkout line.

      Store assistants are helpful in multiplying your shopping efficiency. While there are other considerations in choosing which retailer you’ll patronize, you should call a store and see if they offer assistance to shoppers. When a store is crowded, frustrations can run high. A Box Technologies survey finds that 38 percent of shoppers leave the store empty-handed if they wait nine minutes or longer at the checkout line.

      Advertising

      Protect yourself from scams

      ACI Worldwide predicts that online fraud attempts during this holiday season will rise by 43 percent in the US. The FBI recommends creating long passwords to protect your digital accounts from hackers. Experts suggest multi-word passwords such as “mycatisfurry” or “mywifelakersfan” that involve facts about your daily life that only you would know.

      And be weary of gift card scams, which become more common the closer it is to Christmas Eve. Gift cards are an alluring target for fraudsters because they can be easily resold. Ask the retailer if they have security measures involving gift cards, such as PIN numbers, scratch-off labels, magnetic strips, and activation of the card when the gift recipient redeems it (as opposed to immediately activating the card when the customer buys it).

      Holiday shopping is anything but jolly. But with preparation, you can overcome the rush and make fulfilling your wish lists a more enjoyable experience.

      Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

      More by this author

      Marvin Dumont

      Entrepreneur, Disruptor

      Tips for Shoring up your Finances in 2017 5 Ways Technology Can Make Your Travel Stress-Free 5 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips to Beat the Holiday Rush Five Myths that can Harm your Credit Score 5 Ways to Outsmart Hotels and Save Money

      Trending in Lifestyle

      1 How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast 2 Will a Weight Loss Cleanse Really Improve Your Health? 3 6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Life 4 How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide) 5 13 Best Board Games For Adults To Play During Quarantine

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on October 13, 2020

      How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

      How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

      Burnout at work is an issue that most people who suffer from it, suffer unknowingly.

      Have you ever felt that you can’t start an assignment, have an immense urge to Netflix binge, or couldn’t get yourself to wake up on time even though you have a lot on your plate? The cause for these might be burnout.

      According to Deloitte’s report, “many companies may not be doing enough to minimize burnout.” This is to say that the responsibility is not only on the employee. According to that report, nearly 70 percent of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization, and they definitely should.[1]

      Too many companies don’t invest enough in creating a positive environment. One out of five (21%) said that their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout. It is the culture, not the fancy well-being programs that would probably do the best work.

      This is a significant problem for individuals and companies, and it’s also an issue on a macro level. A Stanford University research found that more than 120,000 deaths per year, and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs, are associated with the way U.S. companies manage their workforces.[2]

      It is both the employee and the employer’s responsibility—and the latter can certainly take more responsibility.

      In this article, I’ll guide you on how to know if you suffer from burnout and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

      Who Are Prone to Burning Out?

      For starters, it is a good thing to know that you’re in good company. According to a Gallup poll, 23% (of 7,500 surveyed) expressed burnout more often than not. Additionally, 44% felt it sometimes. Nearly 50% of social entrepreneurs who attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2018 reported having struggled with burnout and depression at some point.[3]

      According to Statista (2017), 13% of adults reported having problems unwinding in the evenings and weekends. According to a Deloitte survey (consisting of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees), 77% of respondents said that they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.[4]

      Advertising

      Burnout is not only an issue of the spoiled first-world. Rather, it is a serious matter that must be taken care of appropriately. It affects so many people, and its impacts are just too significant to be ignored.

      Some occupations are more prone to burnout, such as people who deeply care about their jobs more than others. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses are some of the most susceptible to burnout.”

      The consequences can have life or death ramifications as “suicide rates among caregivers are dramatically higher than that of the general public—40% higher for men and 130% higher for women”. It is also the case for teachers, non-profit workers, and leaders of all kinds.[5]

      Deloitte’s survey also found that 91% say that they have an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration. Heck, 83% even say that it can negatively impact their relationships. Millennials are slightly more impacted by burnout (84% of Gen Y vs. 77% in other generations).

      What Is Burnout Syndrome?

      So, what is it, exactly? Burnout was officially included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and is an occupational phenomenon.

      According to the World Health Organization, burnout includes three dimensions:[6]

      1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
      2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
      3. Reduced professional efficacy.

      The 5 Stages of Burnout

      At this point, you must have a clue if you’re at risk of burnout. There are different methods for understanding where you are on the burnout syndrome scale, and one of the most common ones is the “five stages method.”

      1. Honeymoon Phase

      As you may remember If you’ve gotten married, there’s always the honeymoon phase. You’re so happy and feel almost invincible. You love your spouse and at this stage, you’re very excited about everything. It’s the same when it comes to taking on a new job or role or starting a new business.

      At first, most of the time, you’re hyper-motivated. Although you might be able to notice signs of potential future burnout, in most cases, you might ignore them. You’re highly productive, super motivated, creative, and accept (and take) responsibility.

      Advertising

      The honeymoon phase is critical because if you plant the seeds of good mental health and coping strategies, you can stay at this phase for extended periods.

      2. Onset of Stress

      Let’s continue with the wedding metaphor. Now that you’re happily married for some time, you might start noticing certain issues with your spouse that you don’t like. You might have seen them before, but now they take up more space in your life.

      You might be less optimistic and feel signs of stress or minor symptoms of physical or emotional fatigue at work. Your productivity reduces, and you think that your motivation is lower.

      3. Chronic Stress

      Let’s hope you don’t get there in your marriage, but unfortunately, some people get there. At this stage, your stress level is consistently high, and the other symptoms of stage 2 persist.

      At this point, you start missing deadlines, your sleep quality is low, and you’re resentful and cynical. Your caffeine consumption might be higher, and you’re increasingly unsatisfied.

      4. Burnout

      This is the point where you can’t go on unless there is a significant change in your workspace environment. You have a strong desire to move to another place, and clinical intervention is sometimes required.

      You feel neglected, your physical symptoms are increasing, and you get to a place where your stomach hurts daily. You might obsess over problems in your life or work and, generally speaking, you should treat yourself.

      5. Habitual Burnout

      This is the phase in which burnout is embedded in your life. You might experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, outbursts of anger or apathy, and physical symptoms of chronic fatigue.

      The Causes of Burnout

      So, now that we know how to identify our stage of burnout, we can move on to tackling its leading causes. According to the Gallup survey, the top burnout reasons are:[7]

      Advertising

      1. Getting unfair treatment at work – This is not always something that you can fully control. At the same time, you should remember that even if you’re not calling the shots, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept unfair treatment. The consequences mentioned above are just not worth it in most cases.
      2. Workload – Another leading cause of stress according to dozens of interviews conducted before writing the article. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress. We live in a busy work environment, and we will share some tips on how to manage that.
      3. Not knowing your role – While not something you can fully control, you can, and probably should, take action to better define it with your boss.
      4. Inadequate communication and support from your manager – Like the others above, you can’t fully control that, but as we’ll soon share, you can take action to be in better control.
      5. Time pressure – As mentioned, motivated, passionate workers are more in danger of experiencing burnout. One of the reasons is that they’re pressuring themselves to do more, sometimes at the expense of their mental health. We’ll address how to work on that as well.

      How to Overcome a Burnout

      After going over the stages of burnout and the leading causes of becoming burned out, it might be a good time to let you know that there is a lot you can do to fight it head-on.

      However, let’s start with what you should not do. Burnout cannot be fixed by going on a vacation. It should be a long-term solution, implemented daily.

      According to Clockify (2019), these are the popular ways to avoid burnout:

      1. Focus on your family life – 60% of adults said that stable family life is key to avoiding burnout. Maintaining meaningful relationships in your life is proven to reduce stress (instead of having many unmeaningful relationships).
      2. Exercising comes in second, with 58% reporting that jogging, running, or doing any exercise significantly relieves stress. Even a relatively short walk might improve your body’s resilience to stress.
      3. Seek professional advice – 55% say they would turn to a professional. There are online websites where you can speak with professionals at reduced costs.

      Aside from the three most popular ways of avoiding burnout, you can also try the following:

      1. Improve Time Management

      Try understanding how you can use your time better and leave more time for relaxation. That’s easy to say (or write) but more challenging to implement. It would help if you started by prioritizing yourself. Understanding the connection between your values and your everyday tasks is a tremendous help. You can use proven methods to improve the relationship between your vision and goals to your daily life tasks’ lists. Check out the Horizons of Focus or V2MOM methods to get started.

      2. Use the P.L.E.A.S.E. Method

      The P.L.E.A.S.E. is a combination of things you should do to be at your best physically. It means Physical Illness (P.L.) prevention, Eat healthy (E), Avoid mood-altering drugs (A), Sleep well (S), and Exercise (E).

      3. Prioritize

      You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes across your way at work (or in other aspects of life). You’d be surprised how easy it can become once you start saying no. Some might even describe it as exhilarating.

      4. Let Your Brain rest

      Culturally, most of us are already wired to think that hard work is essential, and while that’s true in most cases, we sometimes forget that our brain needs to rest for it to recharge. Seven hours of sleep are essential (depending on your age). Meditation might be helpful, too.

      5. Pay Attention to Positive Events

      According to Therapistaid.com, we tend to focus on the bad things in our lives. However, by focusing on positive things, we can change our mindset. One way to practice this daily is by writing three good things about your life every morning or evening. It’s been scientifically proven that doing so for a few months can help rewire your brain.

      Advertising

      6. Take Some “You” Time

      A Netflix binge is not always good for you, but it might be in some cases. The better the leisure time is, the better you’ll feel in the long term. It’s usually better to read a book or start a new hobby that requires more cognitive skills than just lying on the couch. But as long as you feel good watching a movie, that might be a good start.

      7. New Technologies Might Be Helpful

      There are tons of self-help apps such as Fabulous, Headspace (meditation), Noom (diet and exercise), and others. They’re good to use, but you should also be careful not to run away from your problems only to watch social media for hours. It’s not real, and no one’s life is perfect (even if their Facebook or Instagram feeds might seem so). You should also be aware not to be in an “always-on” mindset.

      Bottom Line

      Whether you’re at the first or the fifth stage of the burnout phases, the goal of this article is to show you that there are always ways to fight it. The first thing is self-awareness—knowing that there’s a problem. The second step is to decide what to do about it.

      You can also consider using Lifehack’s community. You’re more than welcome to share your burnout story on our Facebook page.

      Bonus: Rebound from Burnout in 8 Hours

      Watch what you can do to rebound from burnout quickly in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

      https://youtu.be/MNnyqQWK_zg

      Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next