Oh, my. It’s the holiday season.

Oh my, it’s the holiday season…..and I am running around crazy.  Still trying to work, and meet people, and schedule things, and find time for events… there are zillions…and parties and Xmas shopping and dropping off presents, and sending out cards and drinks with friends and clients and potential clients and partners and potential partners, and …I’m exhausted just writing the list.  I’m even more exhausted doing it.

Where is the balance, I scream to myself.  After many years with an out of balance work life, a big reason for this semi career change and the desire to work for myself was balance.  To create my own hours, work with whom I wanted, sleep when I needed it.  You know the drill. But here, at the end of the year, I’m not. And I bet you’re not, too.

So this is what I am going to do about it.  I am going to make a very big list of all the things on my plate.  Even things like going to the gym. That is right.  Everything I want to accomplish is going on the list.  And then I am going to use the old Stephen Covey trick of sorting it all into a 2 x 2 matrix by importance and urgency.  Four boxes, labeled..

And here is what I do next.  First, I take anything in category 4, that Not Urgent & Not Important off the list.  See how easy that is?

Then I prioritize the category 1 items, those that are both Urgent & Important.  And I do those first.  Or first thing in the day.  Or make sure they are somewhere on my calendar so that they actually get done.  Because those are the most critical items.

Then I look at category 3: Not Urgent & Important. That’s right.  Category 3, not category 2.  Set priorities and make the time for those.  In the calendar.  So those get done, too.

Seems counterintuitive to put category 3 before category 2, but otherwise those important things will get lost in the sea of small tasks that actually make up the Urgent & Not Important category. Things like responding to Aunt Mary’s email or calling your long lost friend Sam who just emailed you out of the blue. Because in truth, if they’re not important, then how urgent can they really be???   But they are actually the stuff that we fill our day with to keep us from tackling the more daunting longer term tasks…those that are important but not urgent.

Finally, in the time left over, or maybe an hour or so at the end of each day, I will do those category 2 Urgent & Not Important things.

And there is one more thing to do here.  I do recognize that the next few weeks are going to be jammed packed with work and other activities.  And so I am giving myself a few days between Xmas and New Years just to recover.  What are my plans to recharge my mind and body?  I’m gonna sit myself in front of my big TV and watch all 40 episodes of The Tudors.  That is my brain vacation.  And it will make it all the effort now worth it.

Organize, prioritize, get it done, reward yourself.  And have a very merry Xmas and a wonderful New Year.

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