Experiencing Holiday Stress? Money, Gift-Giving, Workload and Health Are Top Causes This Year According to FranklinCovey Products' Fourth Annual Holiday Survey : Stephen Covey Gives Advice on Choosing Holiday Priorities to Avoid Stress in an Economic Downturn: People Are More Important Than Things

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FranklinCovey Products (http://www.franklinplanner.com), a global retailer and the exclusive licensee of consumer products for FranklinCovey Co., today released the results of its fourth annual FranklinCovey Products Holiday Stress Survey.

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There will be sacrifice in the moment – fewer gifts to open on Christmas morning, passing up the coveted big-ticket item on your child's Christmas list, and people you have to eliminate from your gift list. But you will have a greater reward of satisfaction from sacrificing now for a better future. Remember, gifts of self, such as service to others, are always the most meaningful.

The survey polled 508 customers and found that the holidays cause stress for 85 percent of respondents and leave nearly 60 percent feeling unfulfilled and regretful when they are over.

As in past years, respondents were asked to rank the following holiday activities from most stressful to least stressful. Money, gift-giving and health still topped the list, but managing workload to take time off reclaimed a place in the top three after dropping to number eight last year.

2008's Top 10 Most Stressful Holiday Activities

    2007's Top 10 Most Stressful Holiday Activities

  1.

  Spending too much money

1.

  Spending too much money

  2.

Deciding what gift to buy for whom

2.

Deciding what gift to buy for whom

  3.

Managing workload to take time off

3.

Sending gifts and cards on time

  4.

Taking care of physical well-being

4.

Taking care of physical well-being

  5.

Not enough time to shop

5.

Not enough time to shop

  6.

Not enough time for events

6.

Not enough time for events

  7.

Sending gifts and cards on time

7.

Decorating for or hosting a holiday party

  8.

Creating a specific holiday budget

8.

Managing workload to take time off

  9.

Decorating for or hosting and holiday party

9.

Maintaining relationships with family, friends and co-workers

  10.

Maintaining relationships with family, friends and co-workers

10.

Creating a specific holiday budget

While money has consecutively topped the list year after year as the number one cause of holiday stress, the state of the economy is causing additional stress for many this year. Seventy-seven percent of respondents will make changes to their holiday spending this year:

56 percent by reducing the amount they spend on gifts. 40 percent by buying gifts for fewer people. 34 percent by clipping coupons and shopping holiday sales. 18 percent will even eliminate giving office or neighbor gifts completely this year. "In this time of economic struggle where money is tight, people must become very clear about the most important priorities of their lives. The choice to value people more than things during the holiday season will become easier because there is a deeper understanding and motivation for those decisions," said Stephen Covey, co-founder of FranklinCovey Co., and best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his newest book The Leader in Me. "There will be sacrifice in the moment – fewer gifts to open on Christmas morning, passing up the coveted big-ticket item on your child's Christmas list, and people you have to eliminate from your gift list. But you will have a greater reward of satisfaction from sacrificing now for a better future. Remember, gifts of self, such as service to others, are always the most meaningful."

For more information on choosing goal achievement and setting priorities, join the free online community at stephencovey.com.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they spend too much during the holidays and nearly 30 percent do so because they don't stay committed to their budget. Eighteen percent blame inadequate budgeting and 17 percent blame inadequate saving throughout the year.

Deciding what gift to buy for whom held its place at number two this year with 60 percent of respondents proclaiming it the most stressful part of holiday gift-giving. Gift-giving causes stress for 77 percent of respondents and shopping for those gifts causes 83 percent of respondents stress.

After dropping to the bottom of the list last year, managing workload to take time off has returned to the top three causes of holiday stress. More than one-third of respondents said that they have too much work to do during the holidays, and nearly 20 percent let work interfere with family and friends. Additionally more than 50 percent of respondents said they don't spend adequate time with family and friends during the holidays.

"With worries of losing their jobs and increases in responsibilities due to many layoffs, it is no wonder that managing workload is stressing people out this year. The key to fulfilling your work responsibilities without letting work interfere with family and friends is focusing on accomplishing the most important goals for the day or week that will make the most difference at work, so that you can be your most productive self. Then when you leave the office, focus completely on the people you love and the traditions you wish to enjoy," said Covey.

Health retained its number four rank this year with 73 percent of respondents admitting to breaking their diet and exercise plans during the holidays:

22 percent because they are not committed. 20 percent because they don't schedule time to exercise or eat healthy. Methodology

FranklinCovey Products' survey was conducted online within the United States between December 3, 2008 and December 12, 2008 among 38,144 FranklinCovey Products customers nationwide. Of the 38,144 FranklinCovey Products customers polled, 508 responded. Results provided have a 95% confidence level and an overall margin of error of ±5 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 Products

FranklinCovey Products (http://www.franklinplanner.com/), a global retailer and the exclusive licensee of consumer products for FranklinCovey Co., helps individuals and organizations worldwide achieve greater productivity, effectiveness and success. Some of the Company's best-known consumer products include the popular FranklinCovey Planning System™, PlanPlus Planning Software™, PlanPlus Online™, as well as a line of binders, business cases, totes, and other productivity and organizational tools and accessories. FranklinCovey Products are sold in more 15,000 retail outlets across North America including 70 FranklinCovey Products stores. Globally, FranklinCovey Products are sold throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

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Debra Lund
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