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Four things to keep in mind—and to keep you from overcommitting—this holiday season.

Forget Tiny Tim. Are you closer to “Tiny Time” when it comes to the holidays?

Well, you are not alone. We often coach clients on how to manage their already hectic schedules over the holidays, but it requires taking an honest look at your current relationship with time. First, let’s break down what potential issues may be going on for you:

  1. You have no idea how many things you actually are responsible for or intending to do each day.
  2. You have no idea what you actually do with your time.

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Often in coaching we require our clients to analyze their relationship to time very closely, literally writing down everything they do with their time every day (just as we would do with food)! Whenever we have a client do this, it is tremendously revealing.

Here are some interesting discoveries we have made about time from doing these exercises.

1. Time has an exponential quality to it.

We waste a lot of time by not addressing something the first time we see it or think to deal with it. The time you spend in your mind avoiding it or justifying not getting to it is what makes you feel busy and overwhelmed, and it wastes time. Each time you pass something like mail to open, a call to return or dishes to put away, the “weight” of it gets exponentially heavier.

2. Efficiency with time is a function of following rules.

Your best bet is either to have a rule that you address a thing immediately (e.g., I will always open my mail first thing when I get home) or have a rule for how you address it (all mail gets opened on Thursdays 6-7 p.m.).

3. Your mindset matters.

If you justify flying by the seat of your pants as “your own unique and creative flair,” or if you think that long deliberation is a sign of intelligence, know that having those theories will affect your choices and actions. Take stock of what you currently “believe” with regard to time.

Chances are you’ve got some interesting logic or theory about time that isn’t necessarily true. You could choose to design how you will think about time, rather than keeping an outdated and faulty belief in action that has been making you feel stuck. For example, if you believe that you only perform well under a deadline, how do you know if this is true? Try it the other way one time to test your theory.

4. We don’t take stock of it all.

Before you can begin to design time beautifully you have to take stock of everything you are really committed to doing each day and face the reality of the time it takes to do it all.

Consider the list below; did you realize there is so much on your plate?

Eating. Sleeping. Checking email. Transition time. Showering/getting dressed. Talking to people. Travel time. Phone calls. All the aspects of your job. Social calls. Working out. Spiritual practice. Cleaning. Sex. Social outings. Relaxing. Hobbies. Planning day. Reading/learning. Connecting with your children. Cooking. Chores. Meetings. Prep for meetings or calls. Calling your family and friends. Snacking. Bills. Managing your calendar.

That’s a big list to manage daily, weekly and monthly. And when you add the holidays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your schedule. We’re hoping that by being conscious to the phenomena we’ve listed and all that’s really on your plate, you can make better choices during this crunch time. When you deliberately face all there is to do, you will feel the pressure to say “no” to some things. Our clients find this incredibly liberating, especially during the holiday season.

Remember, it’s your time—you can design it anyway you want. Dare yourself to stuff only the bird this Thanksgiving and not your schedule!

Just in time for the holidays! Inner.U, Handel Group’s digital coaching course, is available at its current price through the end of the year. Subscribe to our 12-session course and receive more than 14 hours of audio coaching. Visit handelgroup.com today.

This post originally appeared on handelgroup.com.

Photo credit: neirfy/Thinkstock

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