What is your BIGGEST Focus when Prepping for the Holiday Season???
For your BUSINESS & your PERSONAL LIFE
STEP 1: Learn from Last Year
This should be easy enough. If something didn't work last year at all PLEASE do NOT do it again. If something was successful try it again this year to see if it should be part of your annual routine
STEP 2: Create a Schedule NOW if you haven't already
I'm a HUGE advocate of calendars and planning. Otherwise I forget EVERYTHING. So if you don't have a calendar the first thing you need to do is buy one, create one or use an electronic one. Write everything down that comes up as it comes up. (I carry my calendar around or leave a note in the binder and add it later that day). I even write things so simply as clean the dishes. It helps me to go through the day smoothly and to manage my priorities.
The last thing you want but may have to deal with are sudden changes. If you already have a plan it will be easy to determine ‘will this affect the rest of the plans, is there going to be a negative domino effect?’. If your response is no it won’t, then chalk it up as something that just happened and keep it moving. If your response is yes then look at the best way to start making adjustments to avoid a catastrophe and keep it moving. Without a clear vision of the big picture any incidents could feel catastrophic even if they are not.
Personal EXAMPLE of quick decision making: Martha is supposed to be bringing the turkey for your families’ fabulous potluck dinner (Potluck holiday meals are brilliant by the way). Well now she needs to travel out of town with her husband for a sick relative on his side. So NO TURKEY for Thanksgiving….tragic! Your are pretty smart and already had a plan for the holiday potluck so either way there will still be plenty of food. You simply send out an email/group text to see if there is anyone else that can do it on short notice. You check your local grocery store and look at your calendar to see if you can do it yourself. But there is no need to panic. Luckily there are multiple options including not having a turkey at all. You know at the end of the day you will still have a successful family dinner, which is the goal after all.
Business EXAMPLE: You’ve scheduled a Holiday event for your employees &/or customers. You delegated it as any manager/owner would do. Well the person you gave the responsibility to has decided to quit without notice a week before the event you’ve been promoting for over a month. So you can panick OR you can back up a bit. You’ve created a plan and even though you delegated it you made sure you gave the responsibilities to more than one person. So the 1st problem is already solved. There is already someone ready to step in. And of course being the active manager you are you have requested daily or weekly updates. So it will be extremely easy for you to navigate any changes in responsibilities or activities. So either way the event will still go forward without a hitch.
STEP 3: Create and Follow a Budget
A Financial Budget
This part is discussed quite often. Simply determine how much you want to spend overall and then break down each area and assign money to each area. This will help you stay on target and purchase with confidence. You won’t need to start worrying that you feel like you are doing too much and be surprised later by the bills you’ve created.
A Time Budget
This might sound a little strange. But you will need your calendar here as well. If you don’t manage your time and do a little everyday instead of EVERYTHING one or two days befores you will find yourself not only on panick mode but stressed beyond belief. You may end up so stressed you don’t even enjoy the event or things you are planning. It will also be easier to say no to some things that may come up later that you know have nothing to do with the overall goal.
A People Budget
Not sure if you have heard of this BUT you can not or I should say you SHOULD NOT do everything by yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t built by one person. So determine who can help you, how much can they help you, when will they be available and what are they strong at. Now you can divide responsibility and step in more easily with any areas or people that are not holding their weight
STEP 4: Prepare for the people
Schedule time to de-clutter, organize or eliminate things in the needed areas. If your time is getting short HIRE a service for this one time occasion. Google Organization companies in your area or better yet go on social media. I can guarantee you that if you go on Facebook, Instagram or Linked In (depending on your preference) and search for an organizer you will find one likely find one with in your budget. Ask for a minimum of 3 reference and pictures of their work. Trust me you’ll be so happy you did this.(insert before and after for organized areas)
Start preparing Thank You’s for those that attended your event. Ideally have a sign in sheet or keep a log of all parties involved. You have so many options for Thank You’s : notes in the mail, goody bags as guests leave or for people who helped organize, group texts or emails. Your budget and your time will be determining the best method for you. But I can tell you based on experience it really won’t matter. People will be so grateful you acknowledged them and showed gratitude.
STEP 5 (This is a CRITICAL): Make time for yourself
Do I need to tell you that even on the airplane they say put the oxygen mask on YOUR face FIRST. Do you understand why??? Well if you pass out, who else can you possibly help??? When everything is done take a day or an hour to do whatever you want that brings you joy and makes you smile. This will give you the time to appreciate your work and be proud of yourself. It will also rejuvenate you. You will thank me later.