Let’s face it, getting ready to leave work for the holidays can be a very stressful situation. I was just reminded of this a few weeks ago as I was getting ready to take the last of my vacation and take a week off.

As the last few days approached before my vacation, I noticed myself getting anxious wondering how I was going to get all the work done. Then, I realized that maybe there were things that I didn’t need to complete. By no means am I suggesting that you not work before the holidays, but I think it’s important to find ways to work smarter. I was able to completely clean out my inbox and had ZERO emails in my inbox before I left for vacation and completed projects I’d had on my list for what seemed like an eternity.

How do we work smarter before the holidays? (WARNING: This process may sound familiar to some of you that have done our training – it just might have a slightly different spin on it)

  1. STOP – take a minute to literally stop and assess the situation and look at what really needs to get done before you leave.
  2. OXYGENATE – take a moment to breathe and relax so that you can work through this process with more clarity.
  3. STRENGTHEN APPRECIATION – take time to look at what you accomplished in 2012 and what did get done and find a way to celebrate those successes individually or as a team. Acknowledge someone for something that they did for you this year that you appreciate.
  4. SEEK MORE INFORMATION – get curious about what makes the most sense to complete now and don’t focus on the things that aren’t going to get completed until after the New Year. Especially things that would just sit in someone’s inbox or voice mail and get lost anyway. Commit to working on certain projects that you can actually complete prior to your departure and be OK with letting go of what you will focus on upon your return.

Had I not had a certain experience one week prior, this may not have happened for me as I prepared to leave for my vacation. I had been studying for two solid days (and training for months) to take a yoga certification exam and testing time was finally here. Sitting in the room, I literally studied up until the minute before the exam was passed out. Someone had said “you already know what you are going to know” but I of course ignored them and kept going up until the last second.

As I was studying, I had a friend come up and ask if I wanted to sign a card to thank our instructor who had been training us for the past 5 months. I was snappy with her and said “not right now” and was annoyed that she would ask at such a crucial time (ya know, minutes before the exam where literally, you already know what you are going to know…how dare she…ha!).

By not working through this process and trying to get stuff done until the last second, it cost me being present with my friend and possibly had her think that she wasn’t important to me or that I didn’t appreciate all that our instructor had done for us.

It’s kind of true with work right before the holidays – you have already done all that you are going to get done. Focus on the things you rarely have time to do and mark some projects off your list instead that you can complete.

I invite you to work through these four simple steps and commit to being complete with all that you have done in 2012, so you can start fresh when you return in 2013. Commit to not worrying about what all will be there in 2013 when you return. Be complete with where you are now. Commit to being present to the people that you are with during the holidays so that when they talk to you or ask you a question they can tell that you are truly with them and that they are important to you and you appreciate them. And if you really feel like getting crazy, acknowledge someone and tell them how much you appreciate them or how much you love them.

I wish you all peace, joy and love this holiday season.