The season of preparing

Wait...Halloween is already come and gone?? But everyone's still in costume: Moms (Betsy and Jodie) on the left; Daughters (Zoe and Edie) on the right.
Wait...Halloween is already come and gone?? But everyone's still in costume: Moms (Betsy and Jodie) on the left; Daughters (Zoe and Edie) on the right.

November is here(!) and that means that the holidays are almost upon us. I don't know about you, but I swear that time keeps moving faster and faster. Before we know it, it'll be 2014 and we'll look back upon these next two months in a haze of confusion, wondering if they ever really happened or if we simply dreamt them up one cold wintry evening. The point being that, while the holidays are usually the most fun, celebratory, and romantic of months, they can also be hectic, tension-filled, and overwhelming. And that sort of breakneck pace can affect not only your personal life, but your professional one as well. It's all too easy to lose site of the track and run your career right off the rails during the holidays. But it doesn't have to be that way. So, what can you do to keep everything copacetic? Let's take a look at five easy tips to keep you on the up and up...

1) Plan ahead. This sounds somewhat obvious, but it's particularly important this time of year when your schedule tends to get bombarded with personal and professional obligations before the year ends. Something as simple as getting your gifts early can have a huge impact down the road when you're stretched for time and looking to eke every second out of your day. A little planning now can pay huge dividends in the coming weeks.

2) Don't overcommit yourself. This is a tough one, I know, especially when everyone and their grandmother invites you to their holiday soirée. But, trying to do everything will only lead to eventual exhaustion, not to mention that it will also leave you with no time to fit in those spontaneous but important events that may pop up along the way. Leave some "buffers" in your schedule and you'll be happy you have the extra time when you need it.

3. Accountability. I've said it once and I'll say it again, and again, and again: accountability is key. Particularly when it comes to your career during the holiday season, it's easy to let things slide — the moment you put something off, it gets buried in the flurry of activity that comes with this time of year, forgotten for the rest of eternity. The easiest way to avoid this? Find someone to be your accountability partner — tell them what your goals are and how you plan to go about reaching them, and check back in with them on a regular basis to make sure that you're staying on track. It's a simple way to make sure that your career doesn't get lost in all of the holiday hullabaloo.

4) Work smarter, not faster. This is a good way to ensure that you don't burn out by trying to do too many things without clarity of purpose. In other words, slow down. Take your time. Think about how you'd like to feel about your career on January 1st and take some great advice I got recently: "Stand in the place you want to be and work backwards from there." In other words, envision the end result and think about what it would take to get there in the most efficient manner. If you then do all of the things listed above — plan ahead, don't over commit, and get an accountability partner — you'll be in great shape.

5) Path Class. I don't normally use this blog for promotional purposes, but this is one of the rare instances that I'll make an exception. If you need that extra bit of help with all of this, particularly the accountability part, then you might want to consider taking my Path Class if you live in New York City. Not only will it help you get clarity around your goals and give you built in accountilbilty, you'll also create a career plan for 2014, which means you'll be ready to go out of the gate when January comes around. The class begins on November 12th, but spots are limited, so give us a call at 212.777.2270 if you'd like to sign up or get more information.

The window between now and Thanksgiving is actually quite precious — it's the calm before the storm. What you choose to do over the next three weeks will determine the way your year ends; you essentially have the power to control the pace (for the most part — we all know that there are things outside of your control that will always pop up). So the question is, What can you do NOW to make the most of the holiday season? I promise that if you take the time to address this, you'll see the difference in not only your productivity, but also in your attitude and level of enjoyment.

Oh, and one last note. For those of you who've been following the blog for some time, you'll be pleased to know that we're going to be doing our annual Giving Challenge once again this year. It's one of the things that I most look forward to throughout the year, and I'm sure that 2013's challenge will be one to remember. So, keep your eyes peeled to this blog for full details in my next post. Until then, remember what the holiday season is all about and be sure to enjoy your time with your family, friends, and loved ones!