I grew up with a mother who was largely indifferent to the holidays. As a kid, I could not understand this. Time off school? Gifts? Holiday food? Gatherings of family and friends? What’s not to love?
Of course, my siblings and I were largely indifferent to the huge amount of work that went into the holidays. Most of it performed by my mom.
I certainly get it now. Like it or not, and as much as I anticipate the holidays, most of the work falls squarely in my lap. Dragging the non-allergenic tree out of storage. Shopping with hundreds of other harried holiday planners. Trying to decide between a too-small turkey and a too-large turkey because I’m so late to the game. And yet somehow, it just seems easier to do it all yourself than to seek help from others.
Anyone who’s ever worked for me knows that I am a five-star delegater but every business owner I know struggles with that feeling that if you want to produce quality output it’s just so much darn easier to do it yourself than to try to explain your expectations to someone else. It’s a nasty trap at home and at work but if you struggle with delegation there are ways to lighten the load a little:
- Double check expectations. Sure we want to deliver the best product and service we can but as with anything, there is a point of diminishing returns – and at some point the curve gets pretty steep. If you don’t know where, ask your customers (or family members) what’s important to them and what they can do without. They’ll tell you.
- Take a second look at your task list. I guarantee some of your tasks are duplicative and some of them will take twice as long as they should because you don’t have a plan. Take a “time out” to prioritize, group, and reassign tasks. It’s likely some will come right off the list – I know the closer I get to the holidays the less of a perfectionist I become.
- Rid yourself of clutter. It’s distracting and much of it is probably unnecessary. One quick fix – look around your home or office and pick up 50 things before you move on to your next activity. This is easy to do in a house full of kids and goes a long way toward freeing up your brain for other tasks. More on organization in my next post.
Of course the ever-earlier holiday hype doesn’t help the strain. This Halloween, when I ran out late in the day to pick up treats to hand out I was met with a display of Christmas candy.
Do you opt for the too-small turkey or the too-large turkey – and why? Send your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org – if I use them, I’ll feature your business.