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Hocus Pocus … or Focus?

I have a knack. Quite simply I have always been the gal that could take massive amounts of information and distill it down to something that made sense. This has held me in good stead as an attorney, CEO of a couple of businesses, founder of a nonprofit and now consulting and coaching changemakers creating amazing companies with a social impact.

This is the time of year that you wish you could say “Abracadabra”, twitch your nose and watch the gifts be magically purchased and wrapped, the house clean and waiting for guests, the decorations up and the holiday meals planned. Yup! Task lists, extended family, dwindling bank accounts, budgets and quarterly plans, crowded airports and OVERWHELM written all over it.

So, given my penchant for organization, a dear friend suggested that I break this down into a “X-second Rule” and give you some help. But, it seems Seconds 2-9 are taken:

2 second rule – Traffic laws.

3 second rule – Basketball lane change rules and food consumption rules.

4 second rule – The marketing time to get people’s attention.

5 second rule – Your brain will kill your instinct to act on a goal after 5 seconds of inactivity.

6 second rule - A soccer goalkeeper maximum time to keep control of the ball in his hands.

7 second rule – Your time to make a good first impression.

8 second rule – The human attention span.

9 second rule – The attention span of a goldfish!

My goal is not to give you one more thing to remember. Consider this list, Linda’s “X second rule”, as an avenue to get you there cool, calm and collected so you can stand under the mistletoe and enjoy that cup of eggnog.

1. Get the crazymaking out of your head and onto paper – the best way to stop thinking about all the things you have to do, is to do a mind dump. Throw it all on a piece of paper and that includes the minutia. Niggling little items take up as much brain space as the big ones. Do this on your laptop, you don’t need a million scraps of paper! Add, delete, sort and refresh.

2. Identify your support team - Decide who will do each task with a happy heart or a fuller bank account. So … it may not be a reluctant spouse or plugged in teen you who may just make you feel guilty or annoyed when they don’t come through! Instead, who does it for a living? Who owes you a favor? Who enjoys being a helper bee?

3. Sort and filter – Each morning, choose the 5 most important things on the list that need to be done today. As you add/delete items on the list, priorities change. That’s life! Keep status notes next to each item so you don’t have to remember who said what. Start each morning with a fresh pair of eyes, not stuck on what did not get done the day before.

4. Take a mental and physical break and replenish the well – Give yourself a break and the permission not to think about all you have to do for at least an hour or two each day. Go for a walk, to a yoga class, to the gym. The holidays become “the big no fun” for you, and all those around you, when you run until you are burnt out.

5. Cut your list by 1/3 each day - Delete miscellaneous activities. Ask yourself, “Does this really need to get done? What would happen if I didn't do it? What would happen if I said NO? Would they still love me and respect me? Would they think I’m a complete slug?”

6. Reality check – reduce expectations – Quit believing that you “should” be able to do it all and that you “should” be able to cope and that others expect you to be a superhero(ine). I bet the only person who believes this - is you. Though it’s nice to feel like everyone thinks you have it all together, the worse-case scenario is, that you pick up your cape from the dry cleaners another day!

Okay, I’m at #6 … like the goalkeeper … it’s time to give up control!

From my house to yours – happy holidays!

Copyright © 2018

Linda Lattimore – all rights reserved

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