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Take your Christmas back

Take your Christmas back
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It is well into November and the world is ramping up its Christmas hype. We are bombarded with Christmas food, Christmas gifts, Christmas expectations and Christmas pressure. This can be one of the best times of year, but many people end up overcome by stress, guilt, molten credit cards and broken relationships. It doesn’t have to be like this. With a little forethought and planning, you can push aside the trouble and look forward to Christmas again.

Here are 7 quick tips to get you going:

  1. Take the time now, to decide what is important to you and why? Don’t let anyone else swamp you with their ideas. Decide for yourself what is most important about Christmas. Is it the social side of Christmas, or the spiritual side? Is it the family part or the material things. Is it all about business or is it about doing good things. Decide for yourself what is most important and you will be on the right track to taking over your own Christmas.
  2. Let your decision determine how you spend your Christmas. This year, be active in deciding how you will spend your time. I will be going to Church at Christmas, because I have chosen to, but I know full well that the church will be loaded with people who are there because someone else is pushing them. Rather than just going along with whoever pressures you the most, take over your own Christmas by doing what you think is important.
  3. If you want to give a gift, make it meaningful. If not, don’t. Useless gifts that nobody wants are such a waste. How many times have you received a Bounce Gift – one of those gifts that you receive, that only bounce in your life and then are out the door into the trash. Don’t give Bounce gifts. All you are doing is perpetuating the problem. If you give a gift, make it meaningful (this doesn’t necessarily mean expensive). If you can’t think of anything meaningful to give, don’t give anything at all. Take control of giving gifts this Christmas.
  4. Don’t fall for other people’s manipulative games. Christmas is not a time to play politics and favorites. It is not about behaving like spoilt children. If you choose not to spend your Christmas with someone manipulative, then there may be awkward consequences. Live with the consequences and move on, because you will still be way ahead if you steer your own course without manipulation. Of course this works both ways. Don’t waste time trying to play games with other people’s lives either. Take over your own Christmas but don’t try and take over others.
  5. Do what you decide to do and forget about false guilt. You may feel guilty about not doing something or not going somewhere, but if you have already decided, then stick to your decision. You owe it to yourself to do what you think is important. If you choose not to spend your Christmas with your toxic friend, then don’t do it. Take over your Christmas by forgetting about false guilt.
  6. As well as avoiding what you don’t want your Christmas to be like, take steps to design a really great Christmas doing what is important to you. My Christmas this year is going to be great. It will involve immediate family, skiing, friends, and no guilt. What about yours. Decide who you want to be with, where you will be, and what you will be doing. Take control of your Christmas by making a plan.
  7. Try leaving your credit card at home leading up to Christmas. That way, you will be less likely to spend money that you don’t have. Try pre-planning what you will spend money on and sticking to your plan. Go to the shops with a list rather than a credit card. After Christmas is over, you will appreciate the debt that you don’t have much more than the pleasure of giving gifts that were too expensive for your budget.

If something is wrong with your Christmas you still have time to set it right. Nobody is going to do it for you, it is up to you. Don’t let this year be as stressful and frustrating as the last. Take back your Christmas this year and every year from now on.

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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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