The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. With the fun and excitement comes more to do, more places to be and more asked of our time. Since we only have so much time in the day it's important to prioritize to avoid becoming run-down or getting sick. Here are ways to prioritize through the holidays to feel healthy and happy.
Identifying what matters to you the most is a helpful start in identifying your core values. These may be beliefs or values which guide the way you live your life. What's most important to you? Family, work, exercise, religion, health?
Which qualities do you admire? Honesty, reliability, loyalty, integrity, candor, intelligence?
When do you feel like yourself? Make a list of your values. Narrow them down to 3-5 values which are the most important for you. These will be the values you prioritize your life by. As you continue through the holidays, revisit your values to make decisions. Only include activities which align with your values and make you feel like yourself. Knowing the reason behind why you agreed to include it in your schedule keeps you feeling happy and whole.
Here begins the prioritizing practice. Separating urgent or important tasks from other items. Look at what's already on the calendar for the month. Can anything be eliminated? Then get more specific by looking at the upcoming week. Your work schedule as well as any personal appointments are probably going to be what you arrange the rest of your week around. Next identify what's urgent or has a deadline vs. what's important. Write a list of each. This helps prioritize what gets done first.
The planner can become your best friend. Daily tasks or lists are going to keep you organized, stress-free and avoiding items that are not necessary. Here's the next step. Daily list writing! Write a to-do list for each day. These lists may change so writing it the night before or in the morning keeps what's urgent at the top of the list, followed by what's important for that day. Expect to complete the top 4 items on the list and any after that is a bonus.
There will be many things that have to get done each day but it's good to include what you want to get done too. These may be things like calling a friend, baking cookies, or getting your favorite cup of coffee. If it makes you happy, include it. One or two a day isn't going to take away from getting things done and will keep your mind happy.
There are some items that will be in both categories and that's a bonus. For example, some people have to exercise for a health condition and they may want to do it for how it makes them feel. Or eating a certain way could be a have-to and want-to task. It's already becoming clear why it's important to identify must-dos and want-tos. It keeps things productive, stress free and your mental health at a peak.
The holidays usually bring extra responsibilities. Extra cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, gifting, and socializing (at a distance during COVID). It can become overwhelming and leave you feeling run-down and tired if you let it. Both sides of the family want your time on the same day? Multiple invites to holiday parties? Kids activities? It's ok to say no to things.
This is where your list of core values comes in handy. When faced with a decision to make ask yourself does it align with your values? If it does, say yes and add it to the calendar. If it doesn't, it's a no. You can't do everything and be everywhere so chose wisely and keep your sanity this holiday season.
Prioritizing life isn't hard if you're organized. It requires discipline, sticking to values, a willingness to say no and daily schedule writing.
Until next time
Be fit, be strong, and prioritize your schedule this holiday season
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