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PWCC December Blog: Dancing, Not Surviving!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

This time of year can be magical: our worlds become imbued with lights and decorations and traditions. In Chicago we welcome snow and revel in its beauty (let’s not think about our attitude change about snow that happens in late February). For some of us this is a time of anticipation, too, looking toward a new year and new promises.

And yet. Count the number of professional publications that feature the word “survive” in December articles.  Count the number of people who ask you if you’re “surviving” the holidays. Count the number of times YOU wonder how you will “survive” this time of year.

So what gives?

Professionally, the end of the year can bring crunch time -- projects are due, budgets are due, You may have to finally confront staffing issues that have lurked for the last quarter -- whether the issues entail hiring or giving staff notice. Add to this mix the need to thank clients for their loyalty to you and your company with the perfect gift, the need to attend holiday lunches and parties, and the need to plan for time away from the office.

Personally, you may be planning for visits from friends and relatives, organizing menus, and shopping for gifts as you watch the days remaining in the year fall away..

So let’s get out the war paint and figure out to how to “survive.”  Better yet, let’s get out our favorite pair of shoes and figure out how to “dance” through the holidays!

  1. Plan, plan, plan. EVERYTHING is more manageable when plotted on a calendar.

     Make a list of everything you have to accomplish professionally by year’s end

     Overlay this list onto a daily calendar, creating lists of steps to take to reach this goal. At each day’s end, mark off finished tasks.

     For every subsequent day, write a new list of tasks, putting those not accomplished the day before at the top of the day’s list.

     To each day, add any social activities to give you a clear picture of what that day entails.

After you have created a professional plan to manage your time and accomplish your goals, make a second list of personal aspirations and obligations for the season. Think of this list as the personal tasks you want to do during this time, including shopping for gifts, baking cookies, decorating the house, cleaning, organizing, and making that final donation of goods for the year.

     Now chart this list on the same calendar you used for your professional obligations, prioritizing these happy tasks.

     As each day ends, as you did with your professional list, mark off the personal tasks accomplished, putting those not finished at the top of the next day’s list.

You can color code tasks -- professional, personal, social -- if that better helps your visualize each day.

            2. Schedule Time for yourself.

Selflessness is important, but not when it comes at the expense of doing things to keep you centered, calm (as much as possible!), and joyful.

Don’t sacrifice your “me” time, however you define it. Keep exercising, keep eating healthy (although don’t deprive yourself of those delicious holiday treats), and sleep, sleep, sleep. Is there anything that you love doing during this time? Do it!

            3. Practice Mindfulness.

Yes, we should be mindful each day of the year, but it is more important than ever to be mindful during the holidays.

Each day, schedule time to reflect on what went especially well during the year and what could have gone better.  What would you change for the upcoming new year? What is something you want to accomplish? What does meeting this aspiration look like?

And, of course, focus on what made you happy this year!

Envisioning the tasks you must accomplish and those you want to accomplish, maintaining your year-long focus on your health, and being mindful can help the holidays be a time of joy and dancing rather than one of chaos and war paint.  Enjoy!  

Submitted by Carol Jambor-Smith, Ph.D., Principal, Jambor-Smith Communications, Carol Jambor-Smith,

Professional Women's Club of Chicago, PWCC is a Chicago based networking organization that provides networking connections that support, enrich and inspire women to advance professionally and personally. Members come from public and private sectors, multi-billion dollar corporations, mid-size and small businesses, as well as, non-profit organizations. Membership is open to women from all industries in all stages of their careers who want to develop a strong lifelong network. Learn more about membership and upcoming activities

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