Ahh, December, the final month of the year that calls us to hurry up and finish strong, while at the same time, it beckons us to slow down and savor the season. This time of year brings a lot of competing commitments that can become a source of inspiration or a source of stress. The two big things that show up in December for many of our coaching clients are the desire to deliver on key performance indicators for the year and the longing to enjoy holiday tunes, parties, and personal commitments with families and friends. The good news is: there is a solution that can help both you and the people you lead navigate the final stretch of 2018 with energy and grace.
The solution is self-care. Regular self-care includes getting good sleep, finding time for exercise, eating nutritious foods, and taking time to reflect. When our attention is pulled in many directions, it can take a toll on our self-regulation, which makes it hard for us to show up energized and as our best selves at work, at personal engagements, and when leading others. Good sleep, timely nutrition, and taking time to reflect help your brain stay focused on the right things, which will support you in both finishing the year strong and staying present for things that matter most.
Here are some easy practices for improving your productivity in December that you can share with your team or try out yourself …
Improve Your Focus
- Save up Netflix for cozy days by the fire during the holiday and give yourself an extra hour of sleep.
- Take your phone calls while walking or schedule walking meetings. (Exercise delivers oxygen to the brain.)
- Ask yourself what projects would have the highest impact on your success if you were to finish them by the end of the year. Turn your attention there.
- Set your intentions each day by listing 3 things that would make the day effective.
- Say no to things that don’t support your most essential goals for 2018.
Upgrade Your Energy
- Work out early in the morning and enjoy higher levels of vitality all day.
- Start your day with a good breakfast to increase your physical energy. A favorite of ours: Fried egg with herbs and parmesan over Canadian bacon and a bed of greens.
- Stay hydrated by taking a refillable water bottle with you throughout the day.
Refill Your Self-Regulation
- Keep a stash of apples, cheese sticks, and nuts in your office for days when it’s hard to make lunch to avoid becoming “Hangry.”
- Park at the far end of the parking lot and reflect on what you are grateful for as you walk to your destination.
- Use your strengths at work to drop into the flow state.
Implementing even a few of these self-care practices can help you to stay more productive during your work day. When you are feeling productive and focused at work—and you are supporting your team to feel the same—it allows you to be more present when you are not at work. The practice of being whole-heartedly present for social events and family traditions will allow you to savor them and will energize you to get back to being productive after. The saying, “Be here now,” is a great mantra for December. Practice being fully present, for whatever task is in front of you, versus double dipping, such as shopping online at work or checking emails during your nephew’s holiday performance. The combined result of self-care and being present will be a more energized, focused, and relaxed version of you that’s ready to embrace the duality of running across the finish line AND making the most of this magical time of year.