It’s nearly the end of the year (if you can believe it). Let’s look at a few things we can do in the coming weeks to enjoy the year-end holidays and end the year on a productive note.
Proactive and productive steps to take during the countdown to year-end
By the time this episode is published, there are only eight weeks–8 episodes, counting this one–left in this year. I’ve spent some time thinking of a few areas we can focus on during these remaining weeks to help end the year on a productive note.
1. Spend 30 minutes or so this week looking ahead to the fast-approaching holiday season
Here in the U.S., we have Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and other year-end holidays coming up. Think about what you want the holiday season to be like–festive, busy, family time, quiet and peaceful? Will you travel or host guests? What memories do you want to make, and with whom?
Start brainstorming a list of steps to take to prepare to create the holiday season you want to have. Don’t forget to identify who’ll help–you don’t have to do it all yourself!
Identify at least 2-3 things you can do ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy the time without last-minute stress. Gifts to send to far-away family? Cookie baking? Shopping for non-perishable meal ingredients?
- For more ideas, check out Episode 159 (10 Things to Do Now to Prepare for the Holidays).
2. Evaluate your health–physical, mental, emotional
What can you do in the next few weeks to take better care of yourself?
- Physical – Adjust your sleep routine; get some movement in; research healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods. For myself, I will be looking at scheduling day surgery to fix my knee.
- Emotional – scheduling in some me-time–self-care, time to rest and recreate (reading a good book? Working on a craft project just for fun? Attending a concert? Massage/mani/pedi?). What feeds you? Plan time to do that.
- If holidays are tough for you, what can you do to be gentle with yourself? See below for links to a couple of articles that offer suggestions that might help.
3. Inspect your space
Where are the areas that frustrate you or bug you each time you walk past them? What would improve those areas? What needs (or you’d like) to get done to prepare for holiday guests?
- Start a list of projects, small and large, and look at when you’ll work on them.
- Definitely start a list of 5-minute tasks, things that need to be done around your home or office that can be done in just a few minutes, and keep it handy, using bits of time to knock out one or two each day.
- Decluttering always helps. What areas can you spend time purging of unused, unloved, and/or broken things?
- If year-end is a busy time for your work, like it is for mine, take a little time now to declutter and organize your workspace so you can be as efficient and effective as possible. At home, if you’ll be doing holiday cooking, definitely a good time to declutter and organize your kitchen, making sure you have (and can find) the tools you need to fix those meals and treats.
- In episode 159, way back in 2017, we suggested:
- Clean out the refrigerator and pantry well before it’s time to do holiday cooking; non-perishables that you won’t use could be donated to a food pantry.
- Declutter kids’ rooms and find things to discard or donate. This might be a new holiday tradition of choosing gently used toys to donate to a shelter. Get the kids involved.
- Declutter and refresh bathrooms that might be used by guests during holiday parties (same with guest room).
- Declutter the master bedroom and make it a refuge for you during the busy holiday season.
- Clean out the coat closet and make space for guest coats. Can you donate any coats that have been outgrown or replaced to a shelter?
- Clean out a closet or space for gifts, wrapping paper, etc., as you buy them. If you have the space for it, you could even set up a gift-wrapping station where you have everything you need at hand to wrap gifts.
4. Consider the people in your life and the most important relationships at home, at work, and elsewhere
A lot of us are thinking about gift-giving at this time of year, but let’s look beyond the things we can buy to other ways to make relationships stronger. What a great thing it could be to end the year with a clean slate and stronger relationships.
Who do you need to thank?
Who do you need to apologize to?
Who do you need to have a tough conversation with?
How can you nurture the relationships that matter to you, whether with the people you live or work with or those who live far away?
Make a list, and decide when and how you’ll communicate your thanks or apology or have that difficult conversation or take action to nurture those relationships.
- One-on-one time with each child?
- Lunch with a friend or co-worker?
- Cozy night in with your spouse?
- Zoom chat with a far-away loved one?
5. Begin your goal-setting process for the coming year
We’ll talk about that more in an upcoming episode, but for now, maybe start gathering a list of potential projects and goals. Spending a little time each week on one or more of these areas in the upcoming weeks can pay dividends in the form of a healthier, more peaceful holiday season and let us end the year on a productive note.
What do you think?
What’s your best tip for a stress-free, happy holiday season and year-end? Share your suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me!
Resources and Links:
- When the Holidays Aren’t Happy
- Encouragement for When the Holidays Aren’t Always Happy
- TPW159-10 Things to Do Now to Prepare for the Holidays
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