I already have a hard time managing my time, but when the holidays roll around, it’s an even bigger challenge. I’m sure I’m not the only one being pulled in a dozen different directions. There’s just so much to do, and so many expectations to meet. Finding the perfect gifts, ordering and sending Christmas cards, baking goodies for the neighbors, decorating the house….The list goes on.
This fall was challenging for me. I felt like I was busy all the time. I didn’t want to fall into the same trap during the holidays – instead, I wanted to be able to truly (and fully) enjoy the holiday season with my family. So I figured I’d share a few of the time management tips that I’ve been considering lately.
Prioritize what needs to get done
Everyone has a list of things that they need to get done. They key is to prioritize what you need done. This can be hard, but it’s important. Do you need to wrap presents right now or clean your house? Make a list of what needs to get done done and then do the most important tasks first. It’s common to struggle to prioritize. Just remember that it is not possible for you to do everything at once. Take one thing at a time!
Delegate tasks to friends and family
I do not like a ton of things to be on my plate, which is why I have no problem delegating tasks. Keep in mind that my kids are older which is nice when it comes to allowing them to help with stuff. It’s also nice when they come to me and ask what they can help with. Trust me, it has taken several years for us to get to this point, but I am loving it. I’m still waiting for someone to volunteer to clean the bathrooms, but we’re not quite there yet…
It’s ok to say no
During the holidays, everything and everybody seems to want your time and money. At some point, you have to learn to say no. When you say “yes” to everything, you are only going to burn yourself out and stress yourself out even more. When you learn to say no, you will free up not only your time but your mental and emotional energy, as well. Remember that it’s ok to say no to good things. We love attending local Christmas events, but with 3 kids in orchestra, band, and chorus, we’ve got concerts that take up many of our pre-holiday evenings. We’d love to attend more community events but sometimes we need to decline those events in favor of the kids’ concerts, which are more important.
Schedule things out
Something that I have started doing – holidays or otherwise – is scheduling tasks out. I write things down on the calendar so I do not forget about them. I seem to work better when things get down to the wire. Some would call me a bit of a procrastinator, but I like to think that I just work better under stress (or at least the threat of an impending deadline).
Take breaks as needed
Sometimes the holidays get so busy, I cannot even breathe. Take breaks as needed. Period. It’s not wasting time – it’s giving your energy time to reboot. I am more productive with my time when I take breaks. You don’t have to take a ton of time to recoup, but a break to watch a movie, read a book in front of the Christmas tree, or enjoy time with your kids is a smart move.
How do you manage your time during the holidays?
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