Holiday No-Brainers

No-Brainer Scenario LogoIf you’ve been reading my blog recently, you know I’m working on an ebook about the No-Brainer Scenario.

One of the things I’ve been discovering since I wrote the initial blog post about the technique is all the different ways it can be used.

When I discovered it, I thought it would only work for yes/no decisions: Should I take the job? Should I go to the conference?

But actually, it can be used for situations that don’t even really feel like decisions.

Yesterday I was kind of freaking out a bit about Christmas.

I’m horrible at preparing ahead of time, which doesn’t go well with wanting to give creative, heartfelt gifts. And I tend to feel extra stuckness when it comes to figuring out a present for the Hubs.

I was beginning to approach full-on panic mode, and then I wondered if the No-Brainer Scenario could help.

Attempt #1

What would make it a No-Brainer to buy him a gift, in spite of being unsure of his preferences?

  • Basically, it needs to be easy to find, easy to buy, and it needs to be returnable in case I get it wrong and he doesn’t like it.
  • However, if I were willing to give up on the surprise element, I could ask him to just tell me what he wants.
  • Or, he could give me a list of five things he’d like, and I’ll pick one. That would keep a bit of the surprise in tact.

My frustration is really coming from feeling like I won’t be able to surprise him, and from feeling like I’m already too late to pull off anything worthwhile.

But here’s a whole different way to look at it, if I were willing to let go of all the rules about surprising him and whatever else I have rules about:

We could decide together on a gift for us, and figure out when we want to make it happen.

To be honest, after working through all this, I was still feeling unsatisfied. I mean, of course if I’m buying an item for somebody, I should make sure it could be returned if necessary. And of course I could have the Hubs just tell me what he wants.

But there was still something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.

Attempt #2

One thing I’ve learned about this technique is that when you don’t know what you’re looking for, Qualities are super useful.

So I realized a better way to ask the question:

What does the Hubs’ No-Brainer gift look like?

I would want the gift for the Hubs to include:

Definitely Fun and Connection and Play (who couldn’t use more Play in their lives?)
Another nice-to-have would be Creativity
Of course, I still want Ease as part of both the gift-giving and gift-experiencing

This led me to all sorts of ideas that may or may not be pull-off-able, but I feel ten times better about my options. And if I’m willing to forgo the surprise element and come up with something together, then these Qualities will help narrow down the options nicely.

An example of what these Qualities bring up for me is a creative class of some kind that we could take part in together.

(Sorry for not being more specific – I can’t be sure he won’t read this post!)

Clarity is always a good thing

Maybe a lot of this seems kind of obvious, but it wasn’t for me.

Until I sat down to think about it, I wasn’t able to see how big a role the surprise factor and the looming deadline were affecting my stress levels about this decision.

By looking for my No-Brainer Scenario, I was able to remember that how I handle situations like this is up to me. And that there are no rules except the ones I impose on myself.

It also helped me feel in my body what it would be like to approach the Hubs’ gift without a bunch of pressure and anxiety. Because lord knows it’s no fun to do one’s Xmas shopping in that state.

I find that once I’m in time-crunch-oh-crap-what’s-the-perfect-gift mode, I kind of lose sight of why I’m buying a gift to begin with, so going back to the Qualities was incredibly helpful.

The biggest insight I got by finding my No-Brainer Scenario for gift-giving is that when the focus moves off of the meaning and gets consumed by rules about how it needs to happen, I start to freak out.

Some other holiday-related No-Brainer Scenarios I’ve been playing with:

What’s my No-Brainer holiday gift budget?

What would make it a No-Brainer to manage all the different family visits that people are expecting? (Hint: this one will probably involve letting people know that they won’t necessarily get to see me before the New Year.)

How about you?

Care to play along with some of the holiday stuff you’ve got going on?

What does your No-Brainer holiday look like?

And hey, just so you know, I totally get the fact that the holidays can be really angsty. My stuff around getting a gift for the Hubs barely scratches the surface of all the other holiday angst I’ve got swirling around.

So I also get that shifting how you do the holidays isn’t like changing what brand of coffee beans you use.

If you want to start shifting it, start slow and small by gathering information. Find your No-Brainer Scenario with no expectation to act on it, and see what happens.

If you want to learn more ways to use the No-Brainer Scenario technique, be sure to join the Shmorian Society to be the first to know when the ebook is available. In the meantime, you’ll get my free 30-day eCourse, the Shmorian Project Prescription. Fall in love with your project again, so you can get it done!

One thought on “Holiday No-Brainers

  1. Maryann Devine

    I actually DID use the No-Brainer Scenario on a holiday dilemma this season!

    Honestly, Victoria, I use it all the time, it’s become one of those go-to tools for me. I can’t thank you enough for inventing it!

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