How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Reduce Holiday Stress

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We are all looking for ways to reduce our holiday stress.  Let’s look at how to apply business principles to reduce your holiday stress.  Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule?  This is known as the Pareto Principle. It states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This rule is most often used in business to understand various aspects of a business, helping business owners make decisions about their business. As an example 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.

Let’s take this principle and apply it to the holiday season.  Let’s look at this in regards to holiday STRESS.  So, in applying the Pareto Principle let’s look at where 80% of your holiday stress comes from. Yes, I will wait while you grab a paper and pen or pull up notes on your computer.  Now that you have done that let’s move forward.

Make 2 columns, the first should be the things that bring you stress during the holiday season.  The second column should be things that bring you joy, and may I just remind you when we begin to get stressed out and overwhelmed, usually the first thing that we take out of our schedule is something that brings us joy.  I invite you to be counterintuitive and do the EXACT opposite.  Do what brings you joy FIRST when possible.

Let’s get back to the Pareto Principles, in applying the principle to the holidays it suggests that 80% of your holiday stress comes from 20% of the activities you’re doing during the holidays. Let’s look at your list. On your list identify where 80% of that stress comes from. For you it might be shopping. So if we take shopping as an example how can you eliminate or decrease shopping?

Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Have someone else do it for you.
  • Give someone an incentive to do it for you like money or a gift.  You can find someone who loves shopping and saving.  You can tell them you will give them 25 – 50% of everything they save you by using coupons, buying deals on sale, etc.  Let them wait in the Black Friday line at 4:45am (while you sleep), outside Best Buy freezing their bum off waiting for YOUR deal, because GUESS WHAT… that brings THEM Joy!!!!  While you are joyfully sleeping, working off that third piece of Thanksgiving pie you ate before you went to bed.
  • Write out a list and have someone shop online for you.
  • Change or transform the way you do gift giving and your family.  Like celebrating the holidays after the holidays, having a no gift or 1 gift for 1 person rule, or leaving town and making the getaway the gift.

Possibly you love your house decorated but hate decorating it. You can hire someone to do it, invite your friend over who loves to decorate and give him or her a gift for doing so. Perhaps your friend’s children love to decorate. If you’re comfortable allowing them to decorate how they see fit you and your friend can sit back and relax, eat cookies, and sip on some adult beverages while they make your house festive.  Again, it is a win/win!

So let’s take a look on the flip side where do you find the most JOY in the holiday season?  What 20% of holiday season activities bring you 80% of your holiday joy? Go ahead and refer to your list again.  Maybe you absolutely love cooking for the holidays, but you don’t care for the shopping and you have a friend who loves to shop. Perhaps you can trade tasks. Maybe you love listening to holiday music and attending concerts.  Take a look at possible places around town and elsewhere, buy tickets and go enjoy!

Furthermore, as you look at the things that cause you the most stress and handle those differently this year you might find yourself having just a little more time to enjoy the things that you really love. If that’s getting out and seeing lights, volunteering your time to an agency or organization, or spending evenings at home with your significant other and children watching holiday shows the most important thing is to find the joy this holiday season.

If the holidays get too much to handle because at times they can be, we are also here as a way to reduce your holiday stress.  Our previous clients can pop in for a “Booster Session”, and we always welcome new clients.

Enjoy your holidays!!!

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