How to Conquer Your Career Change in the Holiday Frenzy

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Is the busyness of the holiday season tempting you to put your new career change on the back burner?

Developing a new career can seem like a full load to take on, especially during the holiday season. Maybe you are working a full time job while developing your new career in the evenings and on weekends. Pile a lot of holiday expectations and events on top of that, and you may soon find yourself stressed out and a bit lost when it comes to what to do next.

If you are feeling this way, there are FIVE ways you can still maintain momentum in your career change during the holiday season.

1. Plan Your Week

Before starting a new week, make sure you have a plan to follow. I like to take some time each Sunday evening to sit down and map out the things that I want to do for the week. You can use a calendar program on your computer, a physical calendar, or a simple notebook to draft your plan.

Personally, I like to use my notebook to outline the week and list all of the things that I need to complete for the week.

2. Plan Your Days

Think that simply putting together a weekly plan is the end of your planning for the week? Because each day brings new opportunities and changes, it’s smart to plan on a daily basis as well.

At the end of each day, take a look at your plan. Notice what you completed, where you got stuck with something, or anything that you just didn’t get to. This will all affect your plan for the following day.

A great way to prioritize and plan for each day is to create a “Must, Should, Could” list. Make three columns:

Must | Should | Could

Now, take a look at the things on your to do list and prioritize them into the appropriate column. If you have something that you absolutely MUST get done for the day, or else you face disaster, add that under the “Must” column. If there is something that you SHOULD do for the day, but it won’t result in disaster if you don’t do it, list it under the “Should” column. For anything that you COULD do for the day, meaning that it would be great if you have time for it, write it under the “Could” column.

During the day, your focus will be to complete everything in the “Must” column. If you do that and still have time to tackle more, start on the tasks in the “Should” column. Then, if you are really rocking it and have completed everything in both the “Must” and “Should” columns, move over to the “Could” column. This system has really helped me to stay on track and not lose focus.

3. Create a Routine

If you are juggling a lot of different things at once, it’s best if you can create some sort of routine. For example, if you get off work at 5pm, your routine could be to start working on your new career after dinner. Perhaps you work on your career for about an 1 hour each night, until you stop and spend time online holiday shopping or planning for holiday events.

If you can create some sort of routine for yourself, it will help you feel less stressed and allow you to get more accomplished.

4. Limit the Distractions

When you are working, regardless if you are at your job or working at home, do your best to eliminate distractions. Maybe you only check your social media sites once or twice a day, rather than sporadically throughout the day. Turn off the notifications on these apps—it’s amazing how much more peaceful it can be to NOT be notified every time someone tags you in a photo or sends you a tweet.

The same applies to email. When you are working on certain projects, just close your email program completely and turn off all email notifications. Check email every two hours, or when you take breaks between projects.

You can even go as far as setting your phone to “do not disturb” while you are working on projects. This way, you can control your text and phone call notifications, allowing you to be even more focused on the task at hand.

You will be surprised how much more you can accomplish when you aren’t stopping every few minutes to answer the phone, respond to social media posts or messages, and react to emails.

5. Learn to Say “No”

Have you ever accepted a holiday invitation, knowing that you really didn’t have the time to fit it into your schedule? I know I have done this before and while holiday events are usually a lot of fun, sometimes I just can’t attend them all. But guess what? It’s ok to say “no” and most people will understand!

If you’re invited to a holiday party and you just can’t see how you can work it into your plans for the week, don’t be afraid to say “no thank you, maybe next time”. We can’t do everything. If you want to continue moving forward with your goals over the holidays and remain as stress free as possible, you need to learn the art of saying “no”.

How do you stay on track with your goals and eliminate stress over the holidays?