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  • Writer's pictureJenn Donahue

Achieving Great Things (Even During The Holidays)

Do you consider yourself an overachiever?

If you do, you may find it difficult to slow down during the holiday season. As ambitious entrepreneurs, it can be instinctive to keep pushing ourselves to reach our next goal. We sometimes fear that if we don’t, we might lose the momentum we’ve created in building ourselves or our businesses.

For many of you, the idea of relaxing feels unfamiliar.

But the truth is, when we are consistently taking on new projects, we wind up sacrificing the time to strategize, plan ahead, or take much-needed time for ourselves. While you may want the work-life balance you hear your peers talking about, it can be hard to say “no” to the opportunities that put you on the path to achieving great things.

It is possible to still achieve great things professionally and personally while enjoying time away from your work.

It’s time to change our mindset. What if you believe that part of achieving great things means making time for things that aren’t directly related to work?

There are plenty of activities that can add value to your personal and professional life that you may not consider an efficient “to-do” on your list.

You can keep the momentum you crave but with a shifted focus. Instead of working, you can pour your ambitions into making time to get re-inspired to do the little things you want to do but tell yourself you don’t have time for.

Here are 3 ways to embrace slowing down this season.

  1. Make a Holiday Plan

As a recovering workaholic, feeling accomplished is where I find my peace. I can’t rest knowing I am leaving a daunting list of tasks for myself after the holidays. So I prepare with a plan to manage my time effectively so that I can relax and be present during the holidays.

The holidays are the same time every year, so there’s no excuse for failing to plan for them. Create a schedule that works for you and then you can repeat it year after year! This LinkedIn article suggests that you organize your to-do list by mapping out your workload and categorizing items by what is urgent, high priority, non-urgent important, and the tasks that are the least important.

Plan your schedule so that you have plenty of time to reach your goals and to spend time with your friends and family during the holidays. This may look like saving your less important tasks for after the holidays or moving up your deadlines so that everything is finished with weeks to spare.

This holiday season I have set a firm deadline for myself. All work will be done by December 15th so that I have plenty of time to enjoy the holidays with my husband, my animals, and with friends and extended family.

  1. Be Mindful of What You Say “Yes” To

As a recovering workaholic myself (read more about the lessons I learned here), I understand what it’s like to say yes to every project that comes in the door.

When you are a workaholic, work tends to give meaning to your life and although you may love what you do, you might be prioritizing it too much.

The problem with this is, that lots of long hours focused on your business means you're sacrificing just about everything else in your life. Your marriage, relationships, and family may start to feel neglected or you may start to neglect yourself and your personal needs.

When you slow down, you can be more mindful of the projects you take on and how they will affect the other areas of your life. Slowing down doesn’t mean you can’t still work towards your professional goals, too. It just means that you are able to prioritize what really matters instead of always prioritizing only work.

I suggest taking time out of the office to reflect on what you have already achieved, and where you want to grow. Set intentions that focus on who you want to become as a leader. Create goals that help you become a more well-rounded leader who values both life inside and outside of work.

  1. Create Relaxing Goals

Not all goals have to be challenging and hard! And actually, for some of you, the most challenging goals might be around relaxing. Goals are meant to help you grow. And for some of us highly-ambitious people, one area we need to focus on is relaxing and taking time away from work.

Everyday Design shares the idea that setting goals that align with your values and passions can give your life a greater sense of purpose and meaning—helping you feel more fulfilled and satisfied.

Maybe you want to exercise more, bake that new recipe you have been saving, or make memories by sharing moments with your friends and family. Setting goals around being present and building connections with your people is as equally important as achieving great things.

When we put ourselves and our personal needs first, we show up better for ourselves and the people around us—personally and professionally.

I want to enjoy the holidays, so I make time for it. I want to do what gives me and other people joy, so I commit to that. And in doing so, I am still achieving great things.

Set small tasks that still bring you ease, like reading that book on a new leadership tool you have been meaning to learn or catching up on the podcast you want to listen to.

These intentions don’t need to come with the pressure of deadlines or quantitative outcomes. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to do what you want to do simply because you want to do it.

The Benefits of Slowing Down

Our sense of accomplishment does not have to always come from professional achievements, getting promotions, or signing new clients. We can shift our internal priorities so that things like making time to pick up your kids on time or having an extra hour to take a walk with your significant other are huge accomplishments, too. When we embrace slowing down and take the time to rest and reset, we truly achieve great things.

Ness Labs notes that slowing down helps us make better decisions, connect deeper with people, and have more meaningful experiences. You may go a little slower, but you will go further.

Redefine the meaning of achieving great things by balancing what you want for yourself in all areas of your life.


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