Rebecca Cross: Expert offers advice on simplifying during the holidays

By Rebecca Cross

The Daily Advance

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Simplify: To make less complex, less complicated, plainer or easier.

The word “simplify” is not often associated with the holiday season. However, if you look for ways to simplify during this time of year, you may find your available time increases, while your stress level drops.

Sometimes, someone has just the right way of putting things so that they’re easy to understand. Denise Ryan of Firestar Speaking has just the right advice for those of you caught up in the holiday rush this season. Here are a few tips from her article “My Gift to You — More Time.”

1. Say no. Say yes to fun, to joy, to learning, to anything that makes your life better. Say no to everything else. Definitely say no to guilt. Saying no is one of your most powerful time-savers. And the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.

2. Let go of perfection. There is no perfectly decorated house, no perfectly made meal, no perfectly wrapped gift. Know when something is good enough and move on.

3. Know your real priorities. Is it more important to get the house decorated or spend time with your loved ones? Or practice your faith? Or advance your career? I don’t care what anyone says, you can’t have it all. You have to choose.

4. Delegate. Pay someone to clean your house or do the yard work. Get your baked goods from the store. Or swap chores with a friend — be creative. Kids need holiday money — hire the kid down the street to do something you don’t have time for. There’s no prize at the end because you did everything yourself.

5. “Eat that Frog.” (Excellent book title by Brian Tracy — read it!) Do the big task you’ve been putting off first thing. You’ll be surprised how much momentum you’ll get by checking that large item off your list.

6. Your kids will not die if they don’t participate in every activity known to man. Give it a rest.

7. Stop procrastinating. There isn’t a mythical future ahead of you where you’re going to have loads of free time. Do it now or admit you’ll never do it.

8. Consider stress. When evaluating whether to do something or not, ask not “Is it possible to cram this in?” but “How much stress will it cause me to cram this in?” Sometimes it’s simply not worth it. Remember the whole “enjoy the journey” thing? Smelling the roses and all? Again, there’s no prize because you managed to pick up the dry cleaning on your way home from the emergency room.

9. Am I doing the important things or am I just busy? We all have activities we like to do and activities that generate results. Know the difference and do the latter.

10. Sleep. Seems crazy I know, but if you’re exhausted, you make more mistakes, have less energy and generally are a crabapple. You’ll get more done if you’re well rested. And people will like you more.

11. Remember, no one can waste your time without your permission. Even if you aren’t running a meeting you can keep it on track. You have the power to end a phone call or a conversation.

12. Stay away from the black holes (such as hours on Facebook) and head toward the stars (such as real face time with those you love).

Have a very merry and stress free Christmas!