Check Your Bandwidth

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A few weeks ago, our WIFI started acting up, which impacted connectivity and streaming speed. By now we all know that to be able to work from home, you must have WIFI with good bandwidth, or things get bogged down and frustration ensues. The trouble with our technology got me thinking about this time of year and the concept of personal bandwidth. defines this kind of bandwidth as “the energy or mental capacity required to deal with a situation.”

If we are all being honest, it takes a lot of bandwidth to navigate the last 8-10 weeks of the year. Many workplaces are trying to get end of year goals accomplished; they may be hiring, doing annual reviews, or even preparing for initiatives that will launch in January, all with reduced personnel due to time off and seasonal illness. In our personal lives, we have two major holidays that each have their own traditions and requirements. There are endless to do lists, people we don’t normally interact with, and billions of dollars of marketing coming at us constantly.

It’s all so much that your current vibe may be more “bah humbug” than “the most wonderful time of the year.”

So, what can you do to get the (metaphorical) energy flowing to the (also metaphorical) circuits a little more freely?

  1. Give yourself permission to simplify. You don’t have to do everything. In some cases, you don’t even have to do anything. Get clear on what absolutely must be done for things to function properly. Anything else that’s nice, but not mission critical can wait for another season. Simplify your to do list, your decorations, and most of all, your own and others’ expectations. You don’t need to be perfect or make the season perfect for everyone else at your own expense.
  2. Unhook yourself from obligations you weren’t even really excited about. Hate everything about the cookie exchange you are “expected” to attend? Here’s permission to say you can’t do it this year. You don’t have to give a reason, feel any guilt or even care (unless it’s your cookie exchange and you have already sent the invitations – then you are probably gonna need to make a small statement). Is there a holiday work party that ends up with too much drinking and bad karaoke? Again, unless you are the one throwing the party, you don’t have to attend. (Side note: if you are the one throwing the party, check to see if people even want to do it. It gets dark early this time of year and everyone probably just wants to go home).
  3. Ask for help, outsource, or delegate where possible. Maybe you love the fellowship of the cookie exchange, but not the baking. Buy some cookies and go enjoy the party. Perhaps you have a big end of year goal you are genuinely excited about, but need a few hours of focused time to complete it with no interruptions. See if there is someone who could triage issues on your behalf for an afternoon or ask a lead worker/team lead to help with a few task that would free space on your calendar.
  4. Do more of what gives/brings you joy. When our bandwidth starts to bog down, it’s often because we aren’t having any fun. So, seek out what feels fun and life giving during this time. Enjoy searching for a new calendar or planner that represents the possibility of a new year? Spend an afternoon looking. Love to get Christmas music going right after you clear Thanksgiving dishes? Listen ‘til your heart’s content.
  5. Be grateful for what you have and that you made it this far. Many people will be experiencing their first holiday without someone they love this year. So be appreciative for another day and anyone who is a part of it. But be sure to do it with no guilt, less expectation and lots more joy.

I am happy to say that some new equipment and a software update got my technology situation sorted out and we are running smoothly again. Here’s hoping that a little debugging of your own will allow you to enter the holidays feeling thankful and merry.