Do you cringe each year when you first hear holiday music playing in the department stores? It can be like a sparkly red and green flashing alarm going off in your brain saying Oh no! It’s that time again – time for holiday parties, shopping for presents, house guests, traveling, decorating…

The holiday season is supposed to bring cheer and happiness but for many people, it is synonymous with stress and chaos. With the deadline of Chrismahanukwanzakah quickly approaching, the to-dos multiply exponentially and may leave you fearing you will never have enough time to get everything done. It’s no wonder already busy people have come to dread the scent of pine cones and chiming of sleigh bells.

Stress and chaos often come from the feeling of having too much to do combined with the uncertainty of getting it all done in time. Can you relate? I used to have an ideal of what activities our family needs to do, what the house needs to look like, how large our holiday meal needs to be, and how perfect the gifts for our family and friends need to be. What I never planned on was how high my stress would be! I finally determined the root cause of my stress, eliminated it, and no longer dread the holidays. Sound nice?

All I had to do was stop using the word that instantaneously put the weight of the universe on my shoulders so freely. Need. Needing to complete all of those projects meant putting an incredible amount of unnecessary pressure on myself. I didn’t need to do all those tasks, just the ones of utmost priority. I rarely use the word “need” during the holiday season now and instead use the phrase “would like” more often, allowing ample wiggle room. Stress eliminated.

Last year, during the holiday season, I was working on a few demanding projects in my business so I decided to cut back and only do the things I “would like” to do. I made candy every December for as long as I can remember but last year, I decided not to. Shopping for the ingredients, spending days making the sugary goodness, cleaning up the mess, and delivering the candy all over town, again for days, was just too time consuming and not a high priority, so I eliminated Candy from my task list last year and it felt so good!

The holidays bring many, many more tasks to your daily life. The increased workload with unsurpassable deadlines is not unlike many large projects at work and in your business. Here are two tips you can implement today to make the holiday season or any sizable work project less stressful and chaotic.

1. Make a List and Check it Twice

Santa Claus creates a list every year, for naughty and nice children, and so should you. Creating a task list forces you to get all of your to-dos out of your head and enables you to decide which tasks need to be done. The others can wait. Take a complete inventory of your tasks by creating a list, prioritizing them, and realistically planning when you are going to complete them. I recommend making two columns as Santa Claus does, but instead of Naughty and Nice, title them Need To Do and Would Like To Do.

2. Eliminate

Delete or Delegate! As the story goes, Santa has three main priorities – making a list of naughty and nice children, checking it twice, and delivering gifts (or coal) to children. Everything else is delegated to the elves! This is an important lesson we can all learn from. Deleting items from your own task list that can easily be completed by someone else is essential to freeing up time to spend on your most important activities. This reigns true in your personal and professional life. Productivity is not about getting it all done! It’s about investing your best time into your best activities so that you can achieve your goals and vision of success.

Whether you are preparing for the holidays or a project at work, making a task list, prioritizing, delegating, and eliminating are strategies that work! Focusing on only what you need to do will result in less stress, less chaos, and a holiday season you can actually enjoy with your loved ones. If you would like more time maximizing tips, visit TimeMaximizers.com for a free Time Maximizer Resource.