Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday tips, time management ideas


I thought you'd enjoy my new article on time management for the holidays! Diana Ennen

Tis The Season To Be Jolly –
Fa La La La La – I Don’t Have Time

But you do. We’ll help you! Let this season be one of joy and peace. A time to laugh with friends and share precious moments with family. A time to visit with clients and show your appreciation. You can sing those carols, shop with ease, and most importantly relax. Sound too good to be true. Well, try a few of these holiday time management tips and see if they work for you.

1. Plan ahead: Who says you have to buy the holiday meal the week before. Each time you go to the grocery store, pick up those extra cans of cranberry sauce or Jell-O and jot it down on a list. With your business, buy those 2008 calendars, Daytime Planner refills, client gifts, etc. Keep a list and as you get things, mark it off.

2. Gift Certificates: This is magic to the ears of relatives who don’t know what to buy family members and for us with clients who we aren’t sure what to buy. Not only are they well received, but instead of paying $5.00 or more S&H, you pay 41 cents. Best yet, you don’t have to worry about the cut-off date for getting it there on time for those out-of-state packages.

3. Organize: It’s crucial. You don’t have the time to be looking for things. If possible before the holidays, spend a day or two and totally organize your home and office. What a tremendous feeling to go into the holidays feeling on top of things. If that’s not possible, grab every spare minute you can, whether talking on the phone or waking up early.

For your holiday wrap, scissors, tape, find a place for it and be sure to put it back each time. Your holiday catalogs arrive daily; you are going to need a place for them as well. Find the best place now and then always put them there.

For business, start the New Year out right. Clean out those files and file the important papers away. Get the trash can out and with lots of courage, toss out those things that aren’t important. Be brave! If you haven’t used it in a couple of months, chances are you won’t miss it. Do it!! Go ahead and while you are at it, set up your files for 2008.
4. Schedule Your Time Well: It’s a glorious time of year. Church and kids plays, office parties, holiday shopping, friends, family, etc., etc., etc. Yes, it’s overwhelming, but with the right scheduling, it can be tremendous fun. Write everything down. A calendar on the wall with family events is a must. You don’t want to miss a thing. Get the haircuts, the holiday dresses/suits, and the family portrait now. Also, now is not the time to add on any extras. If it can wait until after the first of the year, let it. (Oh, and don’t forget to arrange for those babysitters.)

For business, this can be an extremely busy time of year for many. Clients need to finish up yearly tasks and might be sending you a lot of work. For the seasonal clients, it’s even busier. Stay focused. Don’t let your mind constantly drift to the night’s activities. Use your Daytimer and schedule your day precisely. Use e-mail instead of the phone whenever possible. Concentrate! You can do it!

5. Delegate Tasks: Your time is valuable. Is there someone else who can do the job for you? Let them. You might find they actually enjoy helping and often can use the money.

6. Break Tasks Down: For those of us in business, many tasks are doubled. You have your gift giving, sending out cards, etc. Do a certain amount each night. You’ll enjoy it more and won’t rush to complete the task.

Group your errands both business and pleasure. Make every trip count. You’d be amazed at how much time you can save by planning ahead. When you think, gosh that would be perfect for so and so buy it. Why wait and have to come back and worse yet, have to think about where you saw it.

7. Learn to Say No: This is a good business and personal practice all the time, but around the holidays it’s essential. This year, think of you and your family first. What would bring them the greatest joy? Do you really need to do it?

8. Avoid the Rushes: We work from home. We don’t have to be at the post office or bank at noon or after hours. Go at 10:30 a.m.

9. Avoid Guilt: It’s outta there! No, your house isn’t the cleanest. So what! So you didn’t finish all the marketing you wanted. Big Deal! What you have is more precious. If you can enjoy this holiday, even for yourself, isn’t it worth it! Aren’t you worth it! Plus, how much better will you be as a mom and businesswoman.

10. And Finally ENJOY!! Not just that one night or several days, but the whole holiday season. Too many plan for the main event, the holiday itself, but instead, this year enjoy the journey getting there too.

Tis The Season To Be Jolly –
Fa La La La La –

Diana Ennen is the author of numerous books including Virtual Assistant - The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and accompanying Workbook and Corel Word Perfect Virtual Assistant Solution Pack. This year she celebrated her 23rd year in business as President of Virtual Word Publishing. ( She has been featured in numerous books and magazines including Readers Digest, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, USA Today, Home Business Journal, Woman's World, etc.

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