Five easy steps to a great Christmas

Are you winding down already for the silly season? Probably. Given that there are only 11 days until Christmas, I’ve got a five step plan you can begin with your next coffee break. It brings sound management planning into ‘the real world’ — work-life blending, as it were. Following the plan will keep you not only sane over this holiday season, but help you enjoy it to the utmost.

  1. Decide what you want to achieve, your Big Goal, your Guiding Vision. It might be, for example, To have a wonderful, relaxing, joyous Christmas season or To bring cheer wherever you go. Keep that in the back of your mind at all times and refer to it when you need to decide what to do next or how do do something, when you need to make a choice between alternatives, or even when you need to remember to bite your tongue. Write your Guiding Vision in the centre of a sheet of paper and draw a circle around it.
  2. Brainstorm the main areas you need to manage in order to achieve your vision, for example: Special Meals, Community or School involvement, ‘Me Time’, Family & Friends Time, Presents. Write each area you want to manage around your Guiding Vision.
  3. Now quickly jot down a To Do list underneath each main area. For Special Meals, it might be Menus and Shopping. You might subdivide Menus into Pre-preparation and Last Minute Preparation and Shopping into Buy Ahead, Pre-order and Buy Last Minute.
  4. Decide when you need to do each of these and diarise it electronically or draw up a weekly plan on a piece of paper.
  5. Follow your plan. Now you’re fully on top of everything and raring to go!

And here’s how to wish everyone a great Christmas in three languages:

  • American English: Merry Christmas
  • British English: Happy Christmas
  • Australian English: ‘Ave a bonza Chrissie, mate!

Impressive, isn’t it?


Healthy leaders lead better

Do you need to make an important decision? Get a good night’s rest. Do some aerobic exercise and eat a ‘good square meal’, as my mother would say.

Your brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for solving problems and making decisions (as well as other executive functions like abstract thinking, managing your emotions, planning, and regulating your behaviour) needs to be exercised, fed, rested and watered to work properly.

Located just behind your forehead, your prefrontal cortex also helps you learn, adjust and react to changing situations, and concentrate on your goals. So don’t make any important plans or decisions or hold any difficult conversations when you’re feeling hungry, thirsty, tired or stressed.

As a leader, you need to make calm and well-reasoned decisions and control your emotions and to do that, you need to take care of yourself with proper rest, aerobic exercise and nutrition.

Discussion questions

When are you at your freshest? That’s probably when you’ll be most creative, able to deal effectively with challenging situations and make sound decisions.