With the festive season fast approaching, people are working hard at planning the holidays. Millions of us will travel over the holiday period. Decorations need to be put up, the Christmas dinners prepared and all family members need to be catered for so that everyone has a great time over the Christmas season.
If you think that Christmas planning is difficult for you, just imagine how hard it is for Santa Claus!
The fact that St. Nick completes all his tasks and achieves his goals each year is evidence that proves Santa has extraordinary executive functioning skills. Let’s see just how he does it and how he employs executive functioning skills in order to get the job done to such a high standard every year.
Attention and Focus:
Santa sees you when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. This means he needs to be fully focused. What if you wake up while he is delivering the presents? This must never happen.
In order to make sure that each delivery goes to plan, Santa needs to focus on each gift recipient to be sure he perceives they are suitably asleep, and he must sustain the same attention on everyone as he travels the world.
Energy, Engagement and Action:
Santa needs to ensure he has enough food to sustain him throughout his long work shift on Christmas Eve. This is made easier because so many children leave him cookies and drinks so he can be confident that there will be plenty to keep him going.
After carefully planning his route, Santa needs to be flexible in his thinking and actions should he encounter any hold ups. For example, if the children are still awake, the weather is slowing down the reindeers or maybe a house has no chimney!!! Santa must think on his feet to provide solutions.
Although Santa’s routine is well planned, part of his success is an ability to stop, pause, and shift when the unexpected happens.
Goals and Planning:
“He’s making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out whose naughty or nice.” Everyone knows that Santa has a meticulous eye for detail... but this is a big job for anyone!
Santa must prioritize his main objectives in order to reward the most deserving children. He must plan so that he doesn’t run out of toys along the way. He needs to organize his packing on the sleigh so everything fits and he doesn’t waste time searching for presents at each stop. Also- he must decide who is getting each present in advance so that each child on the nice list gets the toy they requested. After all, it would be a disaster if a naughty child got a gift earmarked for a child who is nice!!
Santa’s memory is impressive! He remembers all those darned reindeer’s names so that he can call them out in order each time. If he gets this wrong, the whole delivery service will descend into chaos.
In addition Santa needs to know each child and what they want. Many have written letters so he needs to work with these requests and, if necessary, offer a suitable alternative when he cannot provide the exact item wished for.
This requires so much skill. Santa must hold onto the information, manipulate it when he needs to make changes, and store the information in a way that means it can easily be retrieved on his way around the world on Christmas Eve. Santa is smart and uses a strategy- he makes a list (and checks it twice!)
Before we feel too sorry for Santa, it is important to remember that he has been doing this for a long time and is a master at making this difficult job as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Santa optimizes his work by being organized. He self-monitors his energy, fullness level, and time availability when it comes to deciding what to do with the enormous quantity of food and drink offered to him along his way. In addition he knows how to self correct along the way and finds time to enjoy the experience.
Of key importance- Santa has established a great work life balance. If he does overdo the milk and cookies or stays up wayyyyy too late once a year, we know that once the delivery is over, Santa can take a much deserved break before he starts the next year’s planning.
Are you concerned that someone in your house is on the naughty list because they struggle with executive functioning skills like completing homework, going to bed on time, and getting out the door in the morning with all their belongings? If so, consider our Executive FUNctioning Groups starting up again in January.
We wish you a fun, organized, and well planned holiday season!