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Are You Too Busy For Your Own Good?

Everybody’s busy.  Who do you know that is not busy?  It’s the new normal.  Just ask anyone, “how are you?” and I’ll bet they’ll reply with a “good,” and add a boastful “busy.” It has become an aspired status that implies heightened productivity and success.  But we must pay attention to our individual capacities and be mindful when we reach our max. Too busy can be counterproductive and unhealthy.

Especially this time of year, we all have so much on our plates.  As if we had any extra time, the holidays just wring us dry of whatever spare time we might have.  But take note…there is good busy and bad busy.

The good busy is immersing yourself in the holiday festivities in a healthy way.  Work hard, play hard, shop smart.  Finding the balance between the every day and the added holiday to do’s, and finding the joy in the busy. Embracing the spirit of the holiday and not getting caught up in the consumer mania is easier for some more than others. The good busy people are able to resist the romance of over -acquiring. Staying focused helps them buy practical, buy less, and reduce the overwhelming holiday stress. They are enjoying the holiday frenzy.

Now for the bad busy.  We all are busy with our  jobs and/or just normal daily responsibilities.  No need to drown yourself in work commitment, holiday shopping, and operate in full throttle 24/7.  We are fragile.  Indeed, we are stressed, pressed for time, and overwhelmed, but we cannot be our best selves if we are constantly pushing the envelope.

In truth, being a workaholic and a shopaholic can prove to be fruitless, exhausting, and lead to burn-out. With the additional holiday pressure to get everything on your list done, you can easily drown in overwhelm and get caught up in a bad busy cycle.

What if I told you that if you stopped being so busy for a minute and relinquished a bit more more time to organize and manage your lifestyle better, you’d actually have MORE time? 

Here’s some helpful tips to reduce the bad busy;

  • Simply make a list of all the things you have to do, but then review the list again.  Now check off the things that only YOU have to do and delegate the rest. Figure out how to cut out a step. Do those things you love to do, and get help with the things you hate to do.
  • No need to spend the time or money on expensive wrapping paper.  Have the store wrap for you, or use shopping bags and stuff them with tissue paper.  Use stick-on labels instead of attaching gift cards. A huge time saver.
  • Simplify the complicated.  If possible, stay out of the stores and shop on-line. Avoid the long lines. They only add anxiety.
  • Don’t struggle with the “perfect” gift.  Buy gift cards.  They are always appreciated and they eliminate returns.
  • Buy clutter free gifts.  They are the most precious of all. Give the gift of time. Buy concert tickets, dinners, dance lessons, or spa treatments.  Be creative with your “love” gifts. They need not be expensive, just thoughtful.
  • Buy baked goods this year or store bought food, if this is too stressful for you.  Don’t feel guilty about it, your holidays will not be less happy.  Focus on the celebration with family and friends.
  • Forgive yourself if you didn’t have the time to send out holiday cards.  Don’t stress about it, let it go. It’s not the worse thing in the world. Maybe next year.


These are all small changes you can make to free up some more time to have fun!  Remember, “done is better than perfect!”

If you can’t enjoy this festive time, what’s the point? Now that you’ve  got a minute…Come join the conversation.  Are you good busy or bad busy?


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Checked Out on the CheckOut Line?

OK, so you’ve finally finished holiday shopping for the day,  you’re back is breaking, and your arms are shackled with all the presents you just found.  The handles of the already filled shopping bags (from the previous stores) are now digging into your only free hand, and so you’re eager to get on the checkout line and make a quick exit.

Think again.  This is an impossible task during holiday season, so like all the other tired and cranky shoppers,  you get on the line to wait, but only to wait some more.  Your’e exhausted and want to leave, but you know you can’t, certainly not after painstakingly selecting all those great picks for your family and friends.

So you stand there on the checkout line, and start checking out what all the other people bought, and start thinking if you bought everything you need and want, and if you’re even happy with your purchases. 

Either way, you’re  not getting off the line, you must tough it out, so you just continue to wait.  Then it happens.  Your mind begins to wander and you float off into that zone…you know that empty stare, that glazed-over look that really resembles a zombie more than a person with a soul. Once you’ve entered this checked- out state, you are void of any intelligent thought. All you can repeatedly think about is going home, until your mind wanders off once again.

So when exactly did we cross over from the jaunty jolly to the tired and worn out? Holiday shopping is exhausting.  Crowded malls, intolerable long lines, and shopper’s rage can dim the soothing music very quickly.  The sheer volume of people can be unbearable and the checkout linescan sometimes be the most agonizing and stressful.

If only the stores could simplify the checkoutand have roaming salespeople equipped with hand-held card swiping machines, thereby reducing the wait time.  Wait a minute, there already is such a genius system.  But it’s only at the Apple store.  Ugh.

Maybe one day, in a perfect world, holiday shoppingcan be painless.  A girl can dream,  can’t she?

How is your holiday shopping going? Check in with me, I would love to hear from you.


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How Are You Managing the Holiday Havoc?

It’s that festive time of year again, and for most, a very busy and hectic time. We all have so much on our plates.  But guess what? Despite the challenging economy, the holidays are still coming.  Some of us may resist jumping in just yet, but eventually, we all get captured by the holiday spirit.

No doubt about it, holiday mania can be very overwhelming and stressful.  Let’s see…we have Chanukah and Xmas presents to buy for our friends, family, and business acquaintances. Add to the list, the local favorites, i.e. manicurist, hairdresser, postman, etc.), or perhaps a favorite teacher or receptionist.

Additionally, you might have a secret Santa grab bag to buy for a business or social event.  And whether it be business related or just casual gatherings, there are holiday parties everywhere, which may inspire you to shop for some new and  trendy party clothes.

Ugh, humbug…are we done yet?  Nope, not quite. But don’t stress.

Here are some tips that might help you cope with the madness;

Holiday Shopping:  Go home, make a list. Jot down the friends, family, etc. for whom you need to buy gifts for, estimate how much you’re going to spend for each, and carry it with you while shopping.  Have an agenda and destination in mind (on paper, or smart phone) before you go shopping.

Without a list, you can get easily distracted and side-tracked and perhaps be in danger of buying something you don’t need. If you stay on task, you won’t be shocked when the credit card bills arrive because YOU managed it.  Chances are, if you have don’t have a specific person in mind on a list, you will find yourself roaming aimlessly for hours and most probably exit, confused, distraught, and empty-handed.

Holiday Gift Wrap: Let’s address all the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows already in your inventory.  They can create a huge mess if not properly organized. Consider all the new incoming wrapping paper. Those little gift cards (or stickers, even better) are a MUST for labeling the gifts, especially if you want to ensure that Aunt Shirley doesn’t get Uncle Ted’s tie.  Manage the chaos by labeling everything, and create a gift list so you can keep track for next year too. There are convenient wrapping paper storage containers like this one to organize your holiday wrapping all year long.  Perfect for a top shelf or under the bed access. There are many more options available at the Container Store.

Holiday Decor: Start early. Hopefully you have some kind of storage system already in place for retrieving all of your holiday decor, so the prep won’t be that crazy. But if you’re wondering where you put your favorite tablecloths, Chanukah menorah, or tree ornaments, this could be a stressful process.  But it need not be. Change it up this year and purchase storage bins for your inventory and box them with “like” categories, and label the contents.  Designate a consistent spot in a closet, garage, or attic. Next year will be a breeze!

Holiday Entertaining:  If you are hosting, I’m guessing you are frenzied with the endless amounts of money exhausted on holiday decorations, party goods, table settings, home decor, food, etc. Plan your menu ahead, and create a detailed shopping list to follow.

Visualize the actual dinner table and backtrack on how to create it. Break it down into smaller steps so you can maintain control throughout the planning and minimize last-minute anxiety. Write it all down so it is out of your head and onto a piece of paper.  It’s so easy to forget the simplest things when your brain is over-burdened.

Be a smart shopper and buy decorative holiday decor that will endure another season.  Pack it, preserve it, so you can store it away in your new storage bins.

Even if you are not hosting, there will additional spending on bringing a hostess gift, cooking a dish, baking, or purchasing some delectable pastry. Plan for it and schedule it to happen. Avoid the multiple runs to the liquor store (for that person you forgot to buy a gift for) and keep extra bottles of wine or vodka handy. Be prepared.  FYI, alcohol is the gift no one ever returns, lol.

Holiday Travel:  And if you are one of the fortunate ones that are also packing for a Xmas vacation with the family, it will require an even greater sense of organization.  The key to getting through all this merriment without having a meltdown is doing just what Santa does…making a list, jotting it down, and checking it twice.  Yep, lists, lists, and more lists. Better still, devise a standard checklist to refer to for all future travel.

Holiday Parties:  These are the fun things to keep track of, so keep an organized calendar and mark down all the dates you want to schedule in the month. Set up reminders to alert yourself to respectively RSVP and avoid double-booking. Of course, there will be some parties you’ll want to go to, and others you’ll have to attend. Prioritize and check off as you go.  If you’re on a budget, shop for clothing that can cross over for both business and casual attire.

Organize your holiday. Manage your time. Prepare by sticking to a daily plan and prioritizing tasks. Decide this year to make the holidays both joyful and productive.

Be merry, not stressed.  You choose.





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