CI Your Holidays!
So, what do we mean by CI your Holidays? Well, pretty much no matter what your family traditions are, or what faith you were raised with, if you live in the USA, the Holiday Season tends to be pretty hectic! Every year most of us vow that this will be the year we actually ENJOY the holidays. Instead of rushing around frantically, spending time in endless lines, and finally being too worn out to lift a cup of (insert favorite winter beverage here) to our dry parched mouths! So we thought, why don’t we apply some of the thought processes and techniques of Continuous Improvement to manage our personal holiday goals! Here is a lighthearted look at how some tools used in CI could be figured into your Holiday Planning:
Defining the Problem:
Being too stressed to enjoy the Holidays
Understanding the Current State
Budget not Adequate for Desired “Perfect Gift” purchases/ Unrealistic Time Allocations / Excessive Self-imposed Expectations
Visualizing the Ideal State:
Gifts bought and wrapped, cards and packages sent on time.
All while maintaining a relaxed and joyful spirit!
Developing Solution Hypotheses
Read Holiday How-to Blogs, Download Recommended Gift List and Shopping Apps on Phone and update progress Nightly, Start Planning and Saving at the Beginning of the Year (ok, we might be late for this one… there’s always next year!), Set Notification Alarms to Remind to Check Bank Balance, Equip Car, Home and Office with Phone Chargers. Shop on-line or during “off times”. Write down what the real meaning of your celebration means to you, or an Inspirational quote. Keep it handy and repeat it to yourself during traffic jams in the parking lot, lost internet connections (after an hour of on-line shopping with nothing saved), or when you are 17th in line at the post office and due back to work in 10 minutes…
Try a few different approaches to your gift giving. Like, “Everybody’s getting Starbucks this year – Done!” Or “I found the Cutest Winter Hats on Etsy… One Size fits all!” Or “I just can’t help myself, I will spend the entire month searching for the just the right gifts for everyone, then buy generic gift cards in a panic at the last minute and write 2 dozen Sorry-This-Is-Late cards!”
Which one of your brilliant ideas did the most people enjoy? Which One was relatively painless and left you feeling pretty good about it? Which one was a total disaster, but something tells you it is simply your destiny to repeat it year after year?
Implementing the Best Ideas
Take the best from what you have learned, leave the rest behind, and Just Breathe!
Institutionalizing the Change
Commit to your new plan,
and if anyone questions your methods… just tell them “It’s my new Tradition!”