Speaking as a professional, I can tell you that this is the time of year that it's really important to become organized at work as well as at home. Before we know it the holidays are going to be here and the craziness will begin.
Everything from private and corporate parties to kids school programs are about to be front and center. On top of that, many of us have special holiday traditions and activities we plan with our own families. Now mix that with work, shopping, and decorating and it's easy to head directly down the road of chaos.
So, how do we manage this wonderful, yet crazy, time of year? First and foremost, I recommend organizing and prioritizing our activities. I approach this by developing a game plan. Typically, I take time to sit down after Halloween and go completely through my work schedule. The next thing I review are the activities of the agenda for my children and my family. Then I plug in the social events where the timeslots allow and I am off and running.
Now this may sound like a lot of work, but trust me, a little bit of effort will go a long way when it comes to having a happy and productive holiday season. For example if I am committed to attending an evening event on a day that I am working, I make slight adjustments in my schedule so that by the end of the day I am off at a reasonable time. This means that it's actually early enough to prepare for my activity without having to rush anyone out of my chair or hastily get myself ready.
Another thing that a lot of us experience during the holiday season is the desire to go overboard to please our clients. I have been guilty of this myself. Many times we end up saying "yes" to everyone who wants to get an appointment even if it's at the spur of the moment. As a result we are launched into our client's last minute mad rush and actually start participating in it right along with them. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of us have long term relationships with clients and I always advocate going the distance for our clients. However, I also believe you can actually damage client relationships if you take on too much.
Just remind yourself, when we answer every social and work request with a "yes", before we know it, we are putting in more hours than normal and our personal and professional lives suffer. Unfortunately it doesn't stop there, if we fail to take care of ourselves and our families, we easily can wear down trying to fulfill an overloaded schedule and our immune system can become stressed out which opens us up to becoming sick.
Yet another way to organize is to clean your work space before you go home each evening. I remember being so tired after my work day that the last thing I wanted to do was clean up. However, I forced myself to create a habit of cleaning right when I finished. We all know that no one enjoys doing business with or going into a dirty workplace, so. this is important. Also, you never know what is going to happen the next morning that might set you back. Life happens and you can't predict traffic delays or emergencies.
Planning for product needs and projecting sales is something you definitely want to take a look at prior to the holiday rush as well. This is something you can control to some degree in advance based on your client load. Remember clients are in the buying spirit already so it's a great way to boost your own sales and to put more money in your pocket. Believe me, retail adds up quickly and provides the opportunity for you to buy more holiday presents or to treat yourself to a nice dinner.
Utilize your down time to watch a TV shows and stuff goodie bags or prepare gifts for your clients that will show your appreciation. There are a lot of small gestures you can do that are inexpensive. This is a task you can easily get out of the way in early October as long as the gift is not perishable. I say, get this one out of the way early.
Don't forget give yourself an hour or two throughout your schedule to make room for last minute cancellations that might come up with your clients or yourself. This prevent you from having to scrambling and it will allow you some extra time to shuffle things around.
Lastly, when it's all over, realize you have made it through another fantastic year and make sure to book a massage. You're amazing and you've earned it!