Planning for the holidays can be all consuming, but it doesn’t have to drag you away from what is happening in the present moment. If the holiday meal is planned and written, the days prior will be more alive in your mind as you have time to stay present. At work, you can be intensely present at a meeting that is focused on next year’s budget, next month’s project or a future staffing change. The trick is to document your plan before the event or meeting.

As special holiday events approach, preparation is critical to enjoy each day more fully. Create a scheduled meeting time just for you. When you sit down to write your plan, allow your mind to wander forward to the time the event will occur. Then when you get together with others for celebration or further preparation, your mind doesn’t need to jump forward anymore. It has done that work. Instead it will remain present to enjoy your current activities. And if you follow this idea at work, you will be more involved in the discussion.

Another benefit? The memories of your special event will remain more vivid in your mind. Did you know your memory relies on where your mind is? If it is constantly distracted by unfinished planning, jumping to future or into the past, it won’t be present enough to remember key moments. Time will literally pass you by, while you are somewhere else (at least in your mind).

So give yourself a gift. There is time to plan; There are moments to enjoy. Keep them separate.

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