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=mc’s Seasonal Survival Guide


For your final =mc insight of the year, we sought advice from the leader of one of the biggest enterprises known to wo/man. Among other things, this inspirational figure is responsible for running a worldwide manufacturing and distribution service as well as maintaining a large and demanding supporter base. He manages a team of thousands – often needing to step in and resolve creative differences and performance issues. He is also an inspirational leader and role model, encouraging many to do good work, and treat each other with kindness. The organisation has been running successfully for centuries, so to help you get through this busy (and sometimes fractious) time of year, we asked Santa to share his top tips for a productive and merry festive season. This is what he told us:

1. Make a list – and don’t check it twice

Make a list

In my role I have a vast number of things to remember and do – it can feel pretty overwhelming at times. I use a to-do list and I know what my priorities are but there’s one other thing that really helps lighten the load – an end of the day brain dump. Spend five minutes before you leave work writing down all the things you need to do tomorrow (or after the holidays). Then forget about it. Go home and switch off. When you come back, review the list and add anything new that has come in before prioritising it. Ta-da! Find more tips on the wonders of lists here:

2. Be clear with your little helpers

Xmas elf

Last year I commissioned some of my elves to deliver world peace to all. A large task I grant you. But when they came out proudly clutching packages of chick peas, garden peas and marrow fat peas I realised something had gone drastically wrong. Having reviewed the situation I realised that I wasn’t explicit in my instructions to them – there was ambiguity in what I had asked. And they were new elves, with no way of guessing my thoughts! It taught me a very important lesson that in order to get the results I need from delegating tasks to my team, I must be clearer with my instructions and expectations. Consider this advice when seeking help from your family to prepare the festive dinner. Further tips here:

3. It’s ok to say no (ho ho)

Boxing santa

For over a week now that reindeer Blitzen has been nagging me to take a look at a new set of reigns he’s designing, but I’m up to my eyeballs in more pressing priorities. Much as I’d love to help and certainly don’t want to diminish his creativity, I’m utterly stacked!! I’ve explained to him that while I can’t take a look now, I will do on December 29th, at 3pm. Now we have a meeting booked in, he’s happy and I’m free to get on with other things. Here are more ways to say no:

4. Check your batteries

Xmas lights santa

During and after a busy season it’s natural to feel exhausted (you should see me on December 26th), but is it work or home that’s bothering you? A quick check of your batteries will help you work out if you need to make a change, and if so, where:

5. Stop dreaming of a white Christmas

Underwater santa

Well maybe that’s a little harsh… but still. If you find yourself doing anything and everything other than the thing you really need to be getting on with then you’re probably procrastinating. I can often be found happily pondering the benefits and pitfalls of a solar powered sleigh when the reindeer need their stables cleaning out. I’m also very good at arranging tools by colour and size when it’s time to pack the sleigh. But if you want a super productive season you need to figure out what’s urgent, what’s important and what you need to tackle first:

And that’s a wrap (ho ho ho) my merry and wonderful friends. I do hope yule (cringe) try out some of my suggestions above and have a smooth and successful festive season.

Love Santa xx

What’s next?

If you’re keen to start 2019 with an armful of tools and techniques for a productive year, book a place on Managing Multiple Priorities on 24th January – or contact us at to see else how we can help.

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Anna Esslemont

About Anna Esslemont

On any given day, Anna can be found working on a myriad of different projects ranging from big picture to small detail. As =mc’s marketing manager she’s responsible for...