Christmas is coming. The goose is getting fat. The clock is ticking and the kids drive me mad- should be the Christmas rhyme for many of my clients at this time of year. As the Christmas holidays draw near, no matter who you are, or what you are doing there is an area of nervous tension which can, when not kept in check boil over and cause a mental meltdown. Christmas for adults today, like any other major holiday we spend with family, is unfortunately synonymous with pressure. We push ourselves before holidays more than at any other time of the year. Probably because we have the accountability of fixed dates. I mean santa is going round the world on the 24th December whether you are ready or not. And when we are under this amount of pressure we go onto turbo boost mode. Unfortunately that means although we get everything done we do it in a way that is bad for us. We prioritise gift paper over mental health, decorations over our wellness and the much needed self care is way down at the bottom of the todo list. No wonder people tend to crash or get ill over the holidays.
However it doesn’t have to be this way. If you, like many of my clients, are feeling overloaded, worn down by juggling too many balls in the air at once, you need to find a way to get everything done without going insane or burning out then I have a system for you. It’s easy, you can use it at once and it will not only focus you and make you more efficient, it will also be a daily reminder to take care of yourself. I call it the 4 steps to realistic prioritising. To be honest I would highly recommend using this all year round however if you feel like right now all you balls are in the air and you don’t know how you will ever catch them this could be the holiday solution for you.
Step 1 – Check in with yourself
You are the most important factor in getting things done. If you are not ok you can’t function at your best, which means your tasks will not be done well. Or at least they will be more difficult for you to do. You need to Re:Root with yourself and know how you are feeling before you can start to think about what you need to do.
Every day after the first 30 mins awake you need to touch base with yourself. To check in mentally or physically with you body and say okay where am I today. A 5 minute body scan is a great way to do this. Bring your awareness into your body. Ask yourself how am I feeling today?
(Here is my favourite 5 minute body scan on youtube)
Step 2 – Define your energy level
Now it’s all well and good saying check in with yourself and see where you energy is at however anyone who knows me well will tell you for me that is too fluffy. I like quantifiable and practical solutions. So in this system we define our energy level on a numerical system between 1 – 10.
1 is so little energy you cannot move out of bed or open your eyes. 10 is basically you being Tigger. Ask yourself what number will I give my energy today? If you are on a 10 then you know you can probably get loads done on a 3 or a 4 maybe you can do 3 things. If you start to check in with yourself using this 1-10 you will quickly begin to get a sense of what you can achieve at which number energy level you are on. I have for an example a client who can do 1 easy household task on days where she is 1-3 1 major task and a household task on 4- 5 and so it goes up. I have another who has 3 goals on 1 days and 8 goals on 7 days. This is really defined by you. The more you do this the more realistic you will become about how you can use the energy you have.
Step 3: Write your to do list
It’s simple write down everything you feel you need to do that day. If we put things on paper it’s less for our brain to remember. So write the list out. Don’t worry if it’s very long we’ll deal with that in step 4.
Step 4 : ABCDF
I first read about the ABCDE method in Brian Tracy’s best seller Eat that Frog. ABCDF is my own personal interpretation of this system and it works well for my clients. Go through your to do list and classify each task with a letter as follows.
A= Got to do today
B= Can be done tomorrow
C= Can be done next week
D= Delegate (you don’t have to do everything share the load)
F= F**K it off! (You really don’t need to do this right now or this month so put it on the back burner)
Now the important thing here is to make sure that A tasks are both things you have to do AND things that involve self care. On a 1- 4 energy day you really need to do more self care activities because this will help you recharge your batteries for tomorrow.
Theodore Roosevelt said “ Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”, you cannot do more than that in life. This system will simply help you check in with yourself and be realistic about what you can and can’t do whilst not overstretching your mental energy. Part of this does mean that you will have to drop some of the things you want to do before the Christmas holidays. However the benefit of doing this is that you will have a better more relaxing run up to the holidays giving you more energy to enjoy them and get the rest you so richly deserve.
Have a great weekend and take care of yourself <3