How we can make the most of our holiday downtime – you know those pockets of time when office productivity is low, laziness is high, and we’re all pressing the reset button to move into the new year? I came across an article by Kevin Daum (http://www.kevindaum.com), a best-selling author, Inc columnist, Inc 500 entrepreneur, and fellow Entrepreneurs Organization (http://www.eonetwork.org) member that answered this question.
I’ve taken 2 of his suggestions and mixed them with 3 of mine. Whether you’re the reflective, spiritual, meditative type, the hyper-focused Type-A type, or somewhere in between, there should be something for everyone on this list.
1: Reflect. This is the time of year when we all look in the rear-view mirror to take stock of what went well, what curve-balls we encountered and how we handled them, and where we ended. Chances are, in some aspects of your life you met or exceeded your goals, and in others you fell short. Wherever you are, remember to celebrate the wins. Even if things have not gone as you anticipated, remember that we are the totality of our life experiences. We are not defined by any one single experience, or any one moment in time. The purpose of reflection is not to be self-critical. It is to be self-aware. Self-awareness is essential in moving forward.
2: Release. Forgiveness of others is the best gift you can give yourself. Release anger, bitterness, and resentment for others. It is only holding YOU back. Your negative feelings most likely are not impeding anyone but you. To arrive at a place in which you hold no anger over disappointing outcomes, or changed events, people, & experiences, is empowering and freeing. It opens the door for possibility and positive energy, and allows you to fully trust the process of your life. I recommend reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz (http://www.miguelruiz.com).
3: Remove the negativity. One of the things you can do to help you remove the negative feelings is to remove the negative influences. Cut ties or minimize contact with negative people. Choose carefully who is in your inner circle, for they will strongly influence your thinking and your outcomes. Remove commitments that drain you and are not tied to your goals, passion, or purpose. Remove yourself from situations that are not moving you forward. You own your choices; exercise your right to choose what and who is best for you. “No” is a complete sentence.
4. Refocus on your core competencies. Throughout the year, in business we all tend to say “yes” to too many opportunities that are beyond our core capabilities. Now may be a perfect time to reel it in. How are you spending your time? Are you reacting to opportunities that appear in front of you, or are you strategically planning to pursue opportunities that will help you attain a larger goal? One of the hardest aspects of business is turning down opportunities that fulfill a short-term need, but are not good for us long-term. Snap out of the reactive mode and move back to strategic planning.
5. Reconnect with people that fell off your radar. Reach out to clients, partners, and friends that were in some way significant, but shifted to a secondary priority when other people or events came up. Is there a mentor that has made an impact in your thinking? Now is the time to thank them. End-of-year is a perfect time to reconnect and make plans for getting together in early 2013.
Finally, a suggestion for every day of the year: Remember the victories. Every day, even on the bad days (especially on the bad days), practice an attitude of gratitude. Whether you are grateful for an excellent 2012 or grateful that it’s finally over, celebrate the fact that you are moving into 2013. Remember that life ebbs and flows. Everything is temporary… the most painful of our situations, and the most rewarding of our situations. It’s all impermanent.
Wishing all of you a peaceful holiday season.