Friday, December 16, 2016

Decking the Halls and Dealing with Deadlines

How to Keep Your Productivity High and STILL Enjoy the Season

holiday deadlines

Holidays have you decking the halls while simultaneously trying to slide in under deadlines? Feeling less ho-ho-ho and more ho-hum because time seems to be ticking faster than a New Year’s Eve ball-dropping countdown? I know. It may be the most magical time of year for some but for many in today’s 24/7 world there’s a whole lot of stress served up along with those holiday trimmings.

If that sounds like you and you’re raising your hand like little Cindy Lou Who, let’s take a look at a list of 10 deadline strategies that are less about naughty and nice and all about crushing your productivity while still having time for those reindeer games.

  1. 15 Minute Mental List Release: Give your memory a break during the hustle and bustle. Take 15 minutes each morning to just do download your “mental list” of everything on your work/home to-do list and create a plan. Take tip from sales training pro and author Brian Tracy who shared, “It takes only about 10 to 12 minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you up to two hours (100 to 120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort through the day.” We could all use time savings like that! I also loved Megan Kristel’s tips for how to be happy in 15 minutes each day – click here for more.
  2. One stop shopping: No time for mall madness or dashing through the snow?  Let your fingers do the walking.  Shopping online is perfect for knocking out your gift list on a deadline, having everything delivered timely, and many stores offer gift wrapping options. You can even “gift” Amazon Prime memberships now – how about that?
  3. Give experiences. Instead of a candle, wine or standard gift – you may consider giving an “experience” instead.  “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” says Cindy Chan, an expert on consumer relationships. Have fun with it. Gift cards are also now available in wide varieties. One fun idea for couples or families are gift cards for the movies. It’s a luxury for a lot of people now and they’ll think of you fondly when they get to go on date night or have a nigh t out for fun with the kids! Put a bag of popcorn in a padded envelope with the movie gift cards and you’ve got an awesome gift. Restaurants, spas, or gift certificates to an interactive experience like the Escape Rooms or Rock Climbing places that are cropping up everywhere are terrific ideas as well.
  4. Help with the clean sweep: Book a cleaning service to do some of your heavy lifting this season. Think of it as a gift you give yourself, your business, and your family. According to Meagan Francis, author of, hiring someone to clean your home, especially during stressful times, is a smart management decision – it allows you to focus on bottom line production. It’s also good for the health of your family (be gone dust mites), and wonderful for your mental well-being.
  5. Put your VIPs on the top of your list: While you’re filling your calendar, be sure that high achieving team members are made to feel special with some one-on-one time and reward high performers with an early afternoon.  Time off is a hot commodity this time of year!
  6. Ring-a-ling: Be sure you are setting aside a solid 15 minutes every day to call clients with a warm holiday wish.  I love the advice Fordyce Letter of Recruiting Straight Talk shares, “For certain clients and prospects, a quick telephone call to wish them a happy holiday goes a long way to separating yourself from the competition. If you get their voicemail simply offer your best wishes and let them know you will follow-up in the New Year. Too many rule out the telephone at this time of year when it should be your first choice.”
  7. Gifting inspired action: Want a great gift idea? Think powerful productivity, communication or success books for your team that will fire them up for the new year. I recommend Folding Time  (of course because this is my book!), Steal the Show (Michael Port’s great book makes a great gift for anyone in your life), and Fascinate (Sally Hogshead is a great speaker and friend and this book is awesome) … if you need more recommendations check out our blog.
  8. Delegate: More than almost any other time, delegate all the little things you can so you can stay focused on achieving your highest priority items. From family members to assistants, to virtual assistants to the neighbor’s college kid that is home on break and needs some holiday cash.  Take those pesky items on your to do list that you don’t want or need to do and delegate! When it comes to deadlines, many hands make light work.
  9. Exercise: I said it. I know no one wants to think about it when there’s Christmas cookies to nibble and nog to sip.  Without keeping our health and body on the list, we won’t have the energy we need to be our most productive selves.  Might it require a little earlier rise in the morning or a shift in schedule? Probably. But you’ll feel better and you can try that slice of pie guilt-free!
  10. Make family and friends a priority: If you’re like most top producers, there are times of year your family thinks you might be in stealth mode. Be sure this isn’t that time.  Schedule in fun. Decorating. Laughing. Holiday movie watching. Down time.  All work and no play never made anyone happier.  Find the balance. Calm the chaos, stop and enjoy being in the present with everyone you meet today. And give generously of your time, smiles, hugs and encouragement.
  11. Hire a coach or mentor: No idea how to achieve that balance thing we just mentioned? Feel like you’re just not quite where you want to be? Then this is the perfect time of year, while you’re goal-setting and reviewing your accomplishments from the past twelve months to consider taking your career and life to the next level by bringing on a coach that can help you streamline your strategies, manager your time, and establish a healthy life and business balance. I love this quote by Miles Jennings,, “Business coaches have one goal: to make your ideas into a reality. Although you may have many brilliant ideas for your company, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and what to tackle first. Business coaches will evaluate your plans, assess if they are realistic or will be successful and set out a way that you can implement them correctly.”  Read this great article in with the top ten reasons to hire a coach and if I can help you as a business mentor, I am only an email away, let’s connect! .

Now, go out there and love every minute of the rest of this sensational season.  Breathe deep. Smile big. Get the most out of each day.  And know I’m here to help every step of the way!

The happiest of holidays to you!

The post Decking the Halls and Dealing with Deadlines appeared first on Neen James.

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