This week, millions of Americans come together to give thanks and eat too much. The food part of the holiday tends to get a lot of attention (with good reason; hello, pumpkin pie), but the gratitude piece is what I’m thinking a lot about this week. I see a clear connection between gratitude and productivity, and I think exploring that connection could help you move forward in a way that’s beneficial for your spirit – and for your holiday time management.
Does your Thanksgiving group go around the table so that each person can say what he or she is grateful for? Not only is that a lovely tradition, but I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us to reassess the ways we use our time and energy. In one of my recent webinars I talked a little bit about peak priorities. Identifying the things that matter the most to you is an important holiday time management strategy. (It’s an important strategy all year long, but especially during the chaos of the holiday season.)
Focusing in on those peak priorities allows you to organize your day, week, month and year so you’re using your time productively. If a task doesn’t support one of those peak priorities, put it aside in favor of a task that does. Meaning drives interest, focus and attention – so thinking about why the things you’re doing are meaningful is such a simple way to improve productivity.
I bet I can predict what some of you are thinking. “Work wouldn’t make my list of peak priorities, but I can’t afford to ignore it just because I care about other things more.” I get it. For some of my clients, work is a source of great joy, pride and satisfaction. For others, it’s just a means to an end.
Case in point: Real Simple recently shared a list of the top 10 things that people have tweeted gratitude about. (Twitter searches aren’t exactly scientific research, of course, but the results are still interesting!) The list included “family,” “love,” “friends,” “God” and “today,” but “work” was nowhere to be found. And yet, your productivity at work feeds all those other priorities. Financial security allows you to care for those loved ones. The more you get done and the more efficiently you do it, the more time and energy you can give to your family, your friends, your pets, your hobbies, yourself – whatever brings the most meaning to your life.
Which brings us back to Thanksgiving, a holiday designed to help us identify our peak priorities! If you’re not immediately sure what yours are, picture the Thanksgiving table and imagine it’s your turn to share the things for which you’re grateful this year. If you were to name the top three or five things, what would you say? I’m betting at least a few of those items are also on your short list of peak priorities. And when you’re thinking about holiday time management, that’s a great place to start.
I’m excited to dig into the topic of peak priorities and productivity in more depth at Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE! coming up at the end of this month! Join me November 29th through December 1st outside of Boston for three days jam-packed with support, coaching and actionable tools you can use to catapult your life forward.
If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time!
Until then, I wish you all a joyful and restful Thanksgiving.