Top 10 ways to put aside business and jump into Christmas – if only for two days!  

I am standing in one of those amorphous “chat circles” at a cocktail reception when a well-known phone-industry executive departs from our group announcing, “Well, I’ve got to get back to the office. Lots of work to do!”

It is already going on nine o’clock and while Mr. Businessman may indeed have some unusually important project to attend, more likely he is telling us this to illustrate what how essential he is at his place of employment.

Then there is the time I am supposed to be having a friendly coffee with a girlfriend.  During the course of our hour-long sit-down, she takes three phone calls and responds to two texts.  In fact, she never puts down her phone; she sips cappuccino from the left hand while she concentrates on the screen held in her right.

This morning, then, I felt a twinge of guilt as I watch my husband and daughter scamper out the front door to scoop up a final few gifts and soak-up holiday atmosphere in our festive downtown. I am staying at home for a Skype session with a client who wants to rehearse his message for an upcoming interview for a new prestigious position.  His interview will be held later today.  Just two days away from Christmas.

Yes, work must get done. And there’s no doubt we will all achieve more success if we’re very accessible and responsive to whomever our clients and customers may be.

Real Wealth is discretionary time.

But, as the self-described “Contrarian Consultant,” Alan Weiss aptly states, “Real wealth is discretionary time.”   So, I for one, am pledging here and now to officially take a two-day holiday break from work.

Here are my top-ten pledges.  Pledge along with me for whichever of these strike your fancy – as, of course, applied to your own unique family/friends/holiday experience!

  1. I am not going into the office
  2. Unless there’s an extreme emergency, I am also not going to take any calls from the office
  3. I not going to waste any time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Linked In (that doesn’t mean I/you won’t post your awesome Christmas Eve or Christmas Day feasts photos, but you don’t have to spend 10 minutes poring over everyone else’s until Friday, right!)
  4. I am going to bake more cookies with my child(ren)
  5. I am going to happily tipple a little more mulled wine with my husband (spouse, partner, buddy) – but not drink and drive
  6. I am going to sit and really pay rapt attention to: The Nutcracker, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Muppets Christmas Carol or (fill in the blank)
  7. I am going to call a loved one I can’t visit on Christmas
  8. I am going to actually listen to my great auntie give me the “who’s died or is ill among our distant relatives I never heard of” update
  9. I am going to eat whatever I want for two days and not lament audibly for all to hear about how much I regret that I just over-indulged
  10. I am going to play a board game completely to the end and try to enjoy it

No matter whether you are a CEO or a junior sales associate, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be fully present during this joyous time.

Here's my daughter Lulu - hoping your Christmas is over the moon!
Here’s my daughter Lulu – hoping your Christmas is over the moon!

Merry Christmas, everyone. Here’s to a productive, prosperous New Year – in which we carve out much-needed and deserved discretionary time!

Cheers,

Gina

Copyright 2014 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.

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Looking forward to October!

It’s the last day of September, 2013 and clouds are hanging over our duomo, cathedral, here in Arezzo.

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My walk to the gym this morning was wet  – with rain drops still clinging to the vines that grow around the doorway of one of my favorite osterias.

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Kids off to school and grown-ups off to work toted umbrellas as they passed through Piazza San Francesco under the constant gaze of the statue of Vittorio Fossombroni  who engineered the drainage of the valley’s marshlands in the 17th century.

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I imagine the kind of forward-thinking he must have had to envision the swamps as a fertile valley instead of the rain-fed lakes they were during the time that Leonardo da  Vinci painted them.

While I will most likely never have that level of vision, and certainly no statue in my honor – I am excited about looking forward to the future of…well.. October!

I dedicated this month to a series of “Better Communications” articles; I hope you enjoyed them.  Starting in October, I plan to continue writing about my professional expertise, but also combining my personal passions of living abroad and parenting our five-year-old cutie, Lulu.

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She’s prepared, as you can see, for the rainy Tuscan weather.

As consultant and author Alan Weiss says, “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life.  You have a life.”   So, here’s to our combined futures together.

Baci! Gina