Now don't get me wrong, this is not a blog celebrating the arrival of Christmas mania that seems to set in earlier and earlier each year. However subtle and ridiculous, be it cinnamon scented candles hitting the shelves or the BOGOF offers on 'Quality Street' chocolates in supermarkets up and down the country, Christmas is already in the air.
This post is, instead, highlighting the fact that all too often, Christmas is used as an imaginary deadline in peoples' lives for all sorts of things; finishing off the house renovations, getting fit, achieving that life goal that's been on your To-Do list since 2005. This self-imposed, festive cut-off date can cause no end of stress when it comes to the pressure of getting things done and not just in our personal lives......
Given the construction industry shuts down over Christmas, clients across the construction cycle also have silly season earmarked in the calendar as a time by which ALL THINGS must be achieved; cost plans in, detailed designs finalised, projects completed. The timing of Christmas perched right at the very end of the year goes hand in hand with extreme planning and scheduling in line with the New Year that quickly falls thereafter. Whilst this is natural, it is not always realistic.
The trick is to be honest and don't get carried away with putting yourself and everyone around you under unnecessary pressure, life is stressful enough without having to dread Christmas because it represents not achieving everything you thought you might by then! If something you have been tasked to complete at work is genuinely not achievable by the time the stockings are hung out for Santa, tell your boss or your client as such. Prepare instead for March.
On the flipside, don't leave until January something that can be done now. The invisible Christmas deadline punctuating our dreary UK winters with 'cheer and good will' can get the better of us when it comes to putting things off that could otherwise be ticked off here and now.
This includes looking for or starting a new job. Miserable where you are? Take action before 2017 runs away with us. I have spoken to many candidates over the summer that have decided to hold fire on the job search until 'later in the year'. October is now upon us my friends! Fancy starting a new job in January (in line with everything else on the New Year's resolution list)? Being realistic, you only have a matter of weeks to get sorted taking into account the time it takes to arrange and attend job interviews, receive offers and then the actual resignation process.
Personally, I am super excited about Christmas this year and I shall embrace all things festive from the 1st December, no sooner, with absolute gusto. But I will also ensure to try and get the balance right between procrastinating and planning. Don't put things off that might seem easier to leave until 2018 but should really get done now but at the same time, be honest with yourself and your professional network about the reality of 'getting things done by Christmas'. It may mean you cringe that little bit less the first time you hear Slade or Mariah in the shopping mall!