How To Stay Sane During December Deadlines
Pulling out your hair over all the things you need to do before the end of the year?
As we head into the final month of the year the stress of looming deadlines starts to pile up. We worry about all the goals we set for the year that we haven’t yet accomplished, we put the pressure on to wrap up projects before our much deserved holiday break and we try to prep all the exciting plans we have for 2019. On top of that, we try to balance it all with a jam packed social calendar - holiday parties, family commitments, Christmas shopping, dinner with friends. It’s enough to make you want to crawl into bed and wake up once January hits. But, that’s not an option when you’re running your own business. You’ve got to find a way to fit in all in before you close up shop for the holidays. To help you avoid the dreaded end of year meltdown, we’re sharing our 6 best tips below for managing stress this time of year.
Wake up an hour earlier.
Might seem counter-intuitive since you feel like you need all the rest you can get but studies show that most of us are most productive in the mornings. Get your biggest, most difficult tasks done first thing in the morning. Finishing your large tasks first will set the tone for the rest of your day and you’ll be able to carry the momentum through. Plus, you’ll cut down on your stress later in the day when you know you got the biggest task out of the way already.
Whatever you do, don’t waste the extra hour. Stay off social media and away from answering emails. Focus on your projects.
Create a morning routine.
In addition to the above, having a morning routine sets you up for a more productive day. Especially when you work from home. Get out of your sweatpants, put on your big girl outfit, make yourself a coffee and eat a solid breakfast. Meditate if that’s your thing. I personally find that a morning meditation (even just 5 minutes) makes a huge difference. I visualize my day, picturing myself completing my tasks. When I do this I’m more energized and more likely to follow through.
Go to bed an hour earlier.
If you’re taking away an hour of sleep in the mornings, add it on at night so you still aim for a solid 8 hours. The worst thing you can do is stay up super late trying to get projects done. You’ll only stress yourself out more. Trying to work when you’re brain is exhausted leads to poor quality of work and the next day is usually a write off. You’re sluggish, tired and again your brain cant focus to produce high quality work.
Hit the sheets earlier, light a candle, read, meditate. Take time to decompress and completely wind down. This will reduce the likeliness of stress creeping into your sleep.
Schedule your day.
Planning ahead will reduce a lot of your stress. It helps avoid in the moment stress when you realize you don’t have enough time to do something or you’ve accidentally double booked yourself. You need to be as organized as possible. Use time blocking tools, bring your planner with you or have it available on your phone if you’re on the go and have each day laid out ahead of time. Schedule in breaks, time for exercise and personal commitments as well.
Don’t take on any additional projects.
You have enough going on this time of year, say no to taking on additional projects. Scared to lose a potential client if you say no right now? Offer an incentive to have them work with you in the new year instead. You should think twice before committing to personal events as well. Say no to ones that don’t serve you if they cut into work time or if you’re too tired. Save them for the new year or during your holiday break.
Take a break.
Feeling the stress or anxiety coming on? Go for a walk, do a little dance, sing along to a classic Christmas carol. Go on, belt out Mariah. Whatever you need to do to let off some steam, do it. Your work isn’t going anywhere, take your eyes off the computer and get outside or just get off your office chair. Fresh air and fresh eyes will do wonders for your creativity and productivity.
Schedule a rest and refresh period.
Schedule that break baby! You deserve it. Turn on your OOO and recover from this crazy year. Celebrate everything you’ve accomplish and rest up before you take on the world again in the new year. Book a trip, schedule a stay-cation, line up all 9 seasons of The Office for a good ol Netflix binge. Turn off notifications on your phone (yes, even Instagram and emails) and just enjoy your down time. Even the knowledge of having a break to look forward to will help keep your sanity in the weeks leading up.
I hope these tips helps you stay a little more sane during this crazy time of year! If you have any to add I’d love to hear them. Add them in the comments below.