Focused and Guilt Free

Can life be any crazier than in December? I’m not sharing anything new. All of us are in the pre-Christmas madness. In the past, craziness like this would have tipped me over the edge to uncontrollable panic, stress and anxiety. But I’m sitting here today as cool as a cucumber. Here’s just a little background into what’s on my plate right now: Christmas is 2 weeks away. I’m not done with my shopping by a longshot. I just spent 4 days in Sweden for business. Our new au pair arrived the day I got back so I’ve been spending every spare second getting her up to speed on our household and childcare needs, driving her around town to get familiar with the area and helping her do all the logistics of social security card, drivers license and bank account and trying to learn to cook special new food so she feels welcome and comfortable here in America (Did I tell you cooking is so not my gift? . Not to mention this little Heritage Makers business I’ve drummed up. Oh yeah, and we are hosting my oldest daughter’s 5th birthday party this Saturday. That’s enough to commit most people to the insane asylum. And I’m sure each of you has an equally comparable list of things going on right now and I commend you for even taking the time to read this article! May the 5 minutes it takes you, provide 15 minutes of productivity for you this week. The best way to capture that time…

1. Replace your ‘freak out’ moments with ‘in focus’ moments. It may sound cliché but life is really about how you look at it. I could seriously freak out and panic and let my heart race and get grouchy with my kids but none of that will help get everything done. All I can do is the one thing I am focusing on at this moment. I can’t change anything that’s already behind me. I can’t make anymore time. And worrying about the stuff to come doesn’t help either. (Preparing for it does but that’s another lesson Just focus completely on enjoying and completing the task at hand…decorating the tree with your little ones, visiting Santa, choosing the perfect gift. Focus on them for the right amount of time without straying from the goal and GTD (Get Things Done!) My example from today…getting my Christmas Cards done. I had a zillion other things on my mind but today was the ordering deadline. So I focused solely on that activity after the kids went to bed and got it done. Something knocked off the list. BAM! It feels great. If all I do is focus on one activity like that an evening, I’ll have 12 more things knocked off the list by Christmas. When you focus and look at it that way, you see how much you can really accomplish and you are able to more completely finish an activity and quickly switch gears and move on to the next (like writing this article!)

2. Don’t overcommit. You’ve heard it a thousand times before but here is another reminder to help you have a guilt-free day. It’s ok to not be the mom who is sending in the snack for the classroom holiday party. It’s ok that your Christmas cards do not get into the mail until Dec. 30th. It’s ok to make the easy-cheesy-pleasey dip with store bought crackers for that holiday party. It’s ok to not put up all your Christmas decorations this year. It’s ok to skip your husband’s boring office Christmas party. It’s ok to not bake a tray of cookies for each of your neighbors. My example for the week, my daughters birthday party. Instead of inviting 25 kids and spending a small fortune putting together goodie bags that every mom hates having around their house, we are doing a smaller, more intimate lunch and afternoon at the ballet with my daughters closest friends. We get to dress up in pretty dresses and go down to the ‘big city’. That is an experience for all of us to remember and saves so much prep time. Now I can look forward to a fun time with my daughter, her friends and their moms without fretting about a clean house, activities and food for 25 people.

Remember, saying “No” is really giving you the opportunity to say “Yes” fully and completely to your other commitments.

How does this apply to my business?
1. Focus Moments: When you are ‘working the business’, really work the business. Don’t be distracted by unimportant email newsletters. It won’t hurt your busines if you skip reading the daily newsletter or even if you miss a week on a Yahoo Groups. Pick your few, specific, business building tasks and focus directly on them alone. Call clients and book events.. Call potential customers to sell gift certificates. Call that person you’ve been trying to connect with to join your team. And focus only on that person and their needs for those 15 – 30 minutes.

2. Don’t Overcommit: Did you tell yourself you were going to send a personalized holiday thank you card to all your clients from 2007? And a tempting postcard to everyone else on your potentials list? Consider this…will it just be lost in the shuffle of the holiday season? You can still do it but make them and send them just after Christmas so it stands out from the crowd and has a bigger impact for you. Remember..work smarter, not harder! And this Christmas season, family first, then business will follow.

This week’s practical resource is a simple quote so as to not add further tasks or guilt to this already busy time:
“I really cannot give you the formula for success. But I can give you the formula for failure. It’s this: Try to please everyone.” Bernard Meltzer

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