8 Secrets to Getting Organized This Holiday Season

stay organized this holiday season
These tricks will help you have more time for what matter this holiday season.

Almost every holiday season, I often find myself feeling less than merry.  And, I know I’m not alone. With all the extra responsibilities on our plates, both personal and professional, it’s easy to feel more like curling up on the couch than caroling with your cousins.

But after talking with my dear friend and professional organizer Lori Krolik from More Time For You, I’ve learned the secrets to solving 8 common holiday-induced problems–and they all have a common theme, organization.

As my gift to you this holiday season, I’m sharing her wisdom so you can have more time for what truly matters, especially this time of year.

Your Christmas list is freaking you out.

The list of gifts you need to get is beyond daunting. You can’t remember who you bought what and who got you something last year.

Enter, The Christmas List app.  This handy tool allows you to manage all your gift recipients. You can import contact information directly from your iOS device, plan gift ideas, create shopping lists, set budgets, share your lists, create gift lists by categories, and more.

What a great solution to ensure you don’t double buy items, overspend, or (yikes!) forget someone.

You’re out of money–and time.

Everyone has limits. Figure out what yours are NOW and stick to them. Set a predetermined amount for what you will spend on gifts and the number of people you will be buying for.

Apply limits to your time and efforts, as well.

This means, when you are looking for gifts for your kids’ teachers, ask yourself, is it really worth driving to five different stores looking for the perfect sweater?

You are ready to wrap gifts and realize you have three bags of bows but no paper.

Before you start buying, wrapping, decorating, baking, et cetera, take inventory of what you do have on hand. This includes decorations, wrapping paper, and holiday cooking supplies.

This way, before you head out to the store, you’ll know what you have on hand, and won’t make the mistake of buying more than you need.

You’d rather get a root canal than to untangle Christmas lights.

Getting in the holiday spirit often comes with a lot of stuff. It looks so festive when it’s up, but what about the rest of the year? Do yourself a favor and head to the store and buy tons of containers–and use them. They will prove invaluable when it comes to packing up all that holiday décor.

Create categories for storage–entertaining, kids’ books, or organize by room. Then store them all together in an out-of-the-way yet accessible place. This way you won’t waste time hunting for something rather than spending time with family.

And, remember when you are taking down lights or wrapping up ornaments to take a little bit of extra time now to do it right so that it’ll be easier next year.

Your holiday cards are taking over your house.

We all love receiving holiday cards from family and friends, but what do you do with them after you oogle over how big Cousin Billy has grown or how cute Susie’s family looks?

There’s lots of clever ways on Pinterest as how to display these cards or turn them into photobooks but if you don’t have the time to do that, make cuts.

Get a container for each year and apply the 80/20 rule to who makes it into your holiday card photo archive. Lori suggests keeping those from close family members and friends (especially those with personal messages or photos) and recycle the ones from your real estate agent or dentist, for example.

Unneeded gifts are cluttering up your house.

Lori has some shocking yet sage advice–Just because you receive a gift does not mean you need to keep it.

To quote Marie Kondo, “The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not things, but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.” Embrace the joy you feel when you receive a gift, but don’t keep it out of obligation.

On another level, don’t be a “spreader of gift clutter.” Many of our friends and family members are fortunate to have enough stuff. Experiential gifts like trips or concert tickets can go a long way in terms of creating lasting memories.

You’re stressing over what to do for co-workers.

Speaking of being a “spreader of gift clutter,” talk in advance with your workplace team about how to handle the holidays.

Set standards for a gift exchange, a Secret Santa, or holiday cards. Or, in lieu of gifts, host a little celebration with the team, inside or outside the office.

Of course, for managers cash bonuses for individual team members are always much appreciated if a viable option.

The new year is giving your team anxiety.

There’s always high hopes for a new year. To get started off on the right foot and with a clean slate, initiate a team “clean up.”

Whether emotional, physical or both, encourage your team to purge bad feelings, hash out and resolve grudges and clean up work spaces. Give them some space and time to organize common areas, supply closets or break rooms, clean off surfaces, trash old papers, and clean up their desks.

Making it a team effort will inspire collaboration, buy-in to commit to sustaining it, and set you up for success in 2018.

*This article was originally posted on Inc.

3 Things Global Business Travelers Can’t Live Without (As Featured in Inc.)

Global Travel

There are three things I consider essential for global travel.

For example, I never leave on an international trip without vitamins:

The last souvenir you want to bring back from an otherwise productive trip is a head cold or unshakable fatigue. Taking vitamins can go a long way in fortifying yourself against germs. You are going to be in closely packed spaces, sharing more than the agenda. I rely on vitamins and two supplements: COLD-FX and Traumeel.

To learn about the other two indispensable items, please click here to read the entire article!

 

European Business

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Doing Business in Europe (As Featured in Inc.)

European BusinessThere are 5 principles executives need to understand before doing business in Europe.

For example, one of my recommendations is it’s what you know, not who you know:

A European will measure your worth by how much you know about current events, the world, and historical happenings. A good businessperson is well educated, intellectual and able to discuss topics of the day.

Inform yourself before you go abroad so you can speak to the context you’re in. More importantly, bring something new to the table–don’t just repeat the latest headlines. Europeans value knowledge, and you’ll impress them greatly if they walk away feeling they learned something, even if it has nothing to do with the business at hand.

To learn about the other four principles, please click here to read the entire article!

 

European Business

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5 Things Successful Global Executives Do Every Day

image-of-global-executives-drinking-tea

My friend’s Berlin office struck me as odd when I walked into it for the first time. The top consultant for foreign investment in the Middle East didn’t have the usual round conference table. Instead, he had two long sofas facing each other.

At first, it seemed awkward. I wondered where my friend and his prospective customers made deals? Did he have another room somewhere that I couldn’t see?

Then I realized this setup was one of his secrets to success.

Negotiations with those in the Middle East don’t happen around conference tables or on the links. They happen sitting directly across from one another, drinking tea, and talking business. My friend had arranged his office to accommodate the culture of those with whom he was making deals.

Simple practices like this can be the dividing line between success and failure when you are conducting business abroad. Successful global business executives know to do their homework before entering into negotiations.

Here are five actions you can take right now to help with your global business ventures:

1. Adapt your cultural practices
Like my friend in Berlin, adapt your business practices to fit those from different backgrounds or cultures. Whether it be making decisions over late night drinks or during afternoon tea, adapting to cultural norms is critical for ensuring deals are made.

Along with this, it’s essential to approach negotiations with an open mind. Respect and be empathetic to those from different backgrounds than yours.

2. Make friends abroad
Develop relationships with those who live in countries in which you want to do business. Take trips and meet with government officials and community members.

When visiting, behave like an anthropologist. Be curious and ask questions. Acting like an anthropologist will help you establish credibility.

For example, if you’re doing business in Central Europe, you need to come to the table having done your homework whereas, in Israel, the details are expected to shake out after you and your potential business partners have initially discussed the idea.

3. Leverage relationships at home
There’s a good chance that people in your own network have done business in countries or cultures you want to target. Seek these people out and use them as cultural ambassadors to be successful in that global environment.

Invite them to impart their wisdom and contacts. Don’t be afraid to “ask dumb questions.” Learn from their mistakes and experience.

4. Keep up with the times
Successful global executives are avid consumers of global news. They pay attention to things such as conflicts, elections, and natural disasters.

This habit can help make sure you don’t try to schedule a meeting during a critical holiday or run into travel restrictions due to political unrest.

5. Know how money talks
We all know the phrase “money talks” but, it can speak in different languages. To be successful globally, you need to understand how money is handled, transacted, and the expectation for how it will be used to secure a negotiation.

What do the people with whom you are doing business consider a bribe? What does their culture and society view as an appropriate gift? Is money wired? What’s the state of the currency? You should be able to answer all these questions before trying to make a deal in another country.

Successful global executives learn everything they can about the country in which they want to do business. Knowing whether to kiss, shake hands, bow or offer tea, coffee, or scotch can go a long way in making successful and profitable global business deals.

Do you have questions about expanding your operations internationally? Join my online global leadership community today and receive my practical guide to global expansion in 2018. This white paper addresses vital issues including what you need to consider, questions executives ask, a readiness assessment and a list of the hot markets for 2018.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.

Photo: hiva sharifi on Unsplash