The holiday brings the best, and the worst, out in people. It is a time of year in which expectations soar and our time seems rare. While we may all be more cash-strapped than usual, our time is still our own.
Here are the top ten ways to beat the holiday rush without it beating you.
1. Create gadget-free spaces. Don't talk to the hand. Talk face-to-face with other people. Make eye contact with people when you do.
2. Try snail mail. Write a thank-you letter, not an email. It is tempting to dash out 1,000 emails in the name of time, but sometimes the personal touch with fewer people has the highest impact.
3. Busy is a mindset. Try saying the words "I have time." It may feel foreign to you. In fact, you may not believe what you yourself are saying. My guess is the more you say it, the more you'll believe it. So fake it 'til you make it.
4. Disengage from clock combat. Instead of watching it like a hawk, embrace it like a dove. Go without a watch for a day. See how it feels.
5. Manage expectations. If Little Johnny's not getting that $1,000 mountain bike, don't choose Christmas morning to tell him. Let family members know well in advance about the length of your visit and what your limits are (kindly, of course. We don't want Aunt Mirdle's girdle in a twist at the holiday table!).
6. Eat mindfully. You are what, and how, you eat. So snap off the tube and turn your attention towards the people, and the food, around you.
7. Banish multitasking. It will wear you thin in the long-run. Studies show it does not save you time (nor is it neurologically possible to focus on more than one thing at a time anyway so stop trying!). In many cases, it actually hinders learning, and we all know we're never too old to learn!
8. Say ‘no' with kindness. Acknowledge, show interest, then politely decline. If you can't bring yourself to say the word, find other ways to clearly state you will not be able to fulfill the request (I regret I will not be partaking in this year's pagent. Thank you for the offer!)
9. Slay your inner pig-dog, that procrastinating self that says ‘now is never a good idea'. Notice when its voice starts to fill your brain. "You really don't need to jog today. It's cold outside!" or "Come on. Just another fifteen minutes on the computer...the family won't notice." Keep a journal of your pig-dog's excuses, then develop counterarguments to do the opposite of what he says.
10. Embrace time abundance, the notion that you have more than enough time to do what is required to fulfill your ultimate purpose. We all have twenty-four hours a day. The question is what will you do with yours today?