Stressed Out About The Holiday Season?

Money, Gift Giving and Workload Lead Top 10 Stress List Again,

According to FranklinCoveys Second Annual Holiday Survey

Experts Give Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season

SALT LAKE CITY--()--FranklinCovey (NYSE:FC), a global leader in effectiveness training, productivity tools, and assessment services, today released the results of its second annual Holiday Stress Survey. The survey polled 15,202 customers and found that the holiday season causes stress for 87 percent of respondents and leaves 49 percent relieved when it is finally over.

Even taking the holiday stress survey and thinking about all they had to accomplish over the holiday season caused stress for 43 percent of respondents. They ranked holiday activities from most stressful to least stressful; money, shopping for gifts and workload topped the list.

Top 10 Most Stressful Holiday Activities
  1.  Spending too much money
  2.  Creating a specific holiday budget
  3.  Deciding what gift to buy for whom
  4.  Managing workload to take time off
  5.  Not enough time to shop
  6.  Not enough time for events
  7.  Sending gifts and cards on time
  8.  Taking care of physical well-being
  9.  Relationships with family, friends and co-workers
  10. Decorating for or hosting a holiday party

It is no surprise that money and budgeting are the most stressful part of the holidays since 89 percent of respondents said they spend more than they budgeted for holiday gifts.

Shopping-related activities, such as what gift to buy for whom and not enough time to shop, are also near the top of the stress list. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they shop for all of their gifts in a month or less. Twenty-eight percent of respondents dont even have a gift list before they go shopping, leaving them to shop aimlessly until the perfect gift appears and leading to more than a day of wasted time for 64 percent of respondents.

The key to avoiding stress during the holiday season is to create a manageable, written plan for the holidays that includes events, budgeting, shopping, traditions and quality time with friends and family. Make sure your plan allows you and your loved ones to enjoy the holiday season your way, said Julie Morgenstern, professional organizer, time-management expert, and best-selling author of Never Check Email in the Morning and Organizing From the Inside Out. Without a plan, you can easily go over budget, waste time searching for the perfect gift, and abandon your own well-being. Be prepared before you take on the season.

In addition to holiday shopping, decorating and events, people are still required to manage their workload despite fewer working days. In order to take time off, employees must carefully plan their workload in order to fulfill their work responsibilities, yet 42 percent of respondents dont begin planning their workload until the week before they wish to take time off.

While money, shopping and workload may cause holiday stress, the real issue is that people are trading the most important things in life for the most urgent, said Stephen R. Covey, best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 8th Habit and vice-chairman of FranklinCovey. Now is the perfect time to envision how you will use the holiday season to focus on and strengthen the wellsprings of a rich life: friends, family, service, health, spirituality and contribution.

Survey results also revealed that only 10 percent of respondents keep to their diet and exercise plans well or very well during the holidays, and 49 percent dont keep to them at all. Additionally, respondents wish to spend a day and a half more on average than they are currently spending with family and friends during the holidays and a day more on activities such as Sub for Santa, Angel Tree, or other community and service activities.

Better planning and organization during the holiday season and throughout the year can help reduce holiday stress and allow individuals to spend more time on activities that will leave them feeling happy and fulfilled when the holidays are over. Below are five tips from FranklinCovey and Julie Morgenstern on how to make the holiday season less stressful and more fulfilling.

Julie Morgensterns Five Top Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

1. Write everything down in one planning system. Make a list of all of the holiday activities that make this season meaningful to you and your family, because the holiday season you experience will be the holiday season you plan. Keep this list, along with your gift and shopping lists and other tasks you wish to complete, with you in an integrated planning system, which includes your calendar, contacts, prioritized task list and notes.

2. Add up how long each holiday task will take to complete. The easiest way to get overwhelmed is by having an unrealistic plan of just how long it takes to complete certain tasks. Estimate the time each holiday task will take before you schedule it into your planning system and then realistically schedule your time so that you work on the most important things first.

3. Decide when you will do each task and schedule it. Schedule time in your week or day to work on a specific holiday task and record it in your planning system. If you have more tasks than time in a day or week, use the 4 Ds.

  • Delete unnecessary tasks from your list
  • Delay less important tasks until after the holidays or next year
  • Diminish the scope of certain holiday activities Simplify
  • Delegate to family, friends and work associates You dont have to do it all yourself

4. Execute your plan. Stay focused on following your holiday plan. It is your essential roadmap for the holidays. Dont try to multi-task to the point that you dont complete anything.

5. Make time for yourself. Make sure you take time for yourself throughout the holiday season. Invest in your physical well-being, emotional stability and personal relationships.


This survey was conducted online within the United States between October 13 and October 23, 2006 among 15,202 FranklinCovey Customers nationwide. Of the 15,202 customers polled, 1,074 responded. Results provided have a 95 percent confidence level and an overall margin of error of +/-2 percent.

In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of +/-2 percentage point of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. This online survey is not a probability sample.

About FranklinCovey

FranklinCovey® (NYSE:FC) is a global leader in effectiveness training, productivity tools, and assessment services for organizations and individuals. FranklinCovey helps companies succeed by unleashing the power of their workforce to focus and execute on top business priorities. Clients include 90 percent of the Fortune 100, more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500, thousands of small and mid-sized businesses, as well as numerous government entities and educational institutions. Organizations and individuals access FranklinCovey products and services through corporate training, licensed client facilitators, one-on-one coaching, public workshops, catalogs, 89 retail stores and FranklinCovey has nearly 1,500 associates providing professional services and products in 39 offices and in 95 countries.


FranklinCovey, Salt Lake City
Jennifer Tate, 801-817-5276
Debra Lund, 801-817-6440


FranklinCovey, Salt Lake City
Jennifer Tate, 801-817-5276
Debra Lund, 801-817-6440