Earlier this week I wrote about re-organizing my life, and one of the first things I decided to do was organize my agenda and OMG! I feel like a literal weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I do not know about anyone else, but if my plans and to-do lists are not in order I feel very confused and anxious. Between school, work, meal planning, social obligations, work out schedules, and everything else in between, I need to stay on top of my schedule in order to be productive.
The holidays are always an incredibly busy time of year. My holiday schedule usually involves parties, cookie baking schedules for exchange parties, traveling to see extended family, going Christmas shopping, holiday church obligations, etc. This year will probably look vastly different with social distancing and safety measures, but it is still important to schedule Zoom or WebEx meetings, phone calls to friends, etc., in order to stay on top of everything. Below I listed some of my tips for keeping up with a busy agenda during the holiday season.
I try to fill out my December plans at some point during November. I do this so that I do not accidentally double book a party or something. Further, it keeps the agenda, itself, organized. I cannot stand crossed out notes, scribbles, etc., in my planner. I get so confused! This December only has three weekends prior to Christmas for gatherings and I feel it is important to keep plans early and organized. It also gives you ample time to RSVP “yes” or “no” to various events.
Don’t Fear the To-Do List
I think to-do lists make some people feel very overwhelmed… and for good reason! Looking at a long list of tasks that must be done can be super daunting, especially during a time as busy as the holidays. However, there is no better feeling than crossing off completed tasks after finishing them. A tip I learned (and love) about to-do lists comes from one of my favorite mom personalities, Kristina Kuzmic. (*Unrelated side note: If your looking for a gift for a mom, her book, Hold On, But Don’t Hold Still, was an excellent read! My book review is here.) Anyway, her tip about to-do lists is to add normal tasks to every list to increase productivity. For instance, add “drink a glass of water” to the list. Or, “eat veggies with dinner.” These simple additions to the list allow one to visually see productivity taking place. Plus, drinking water and eating veggies is good for you, haha.
Prioritize What is Most Important
I always list my tasks in order of importance. Remembering to pick up my Secret Santa for Tuesday gift is more important than worrying about my dinner plans on Thursday. You won’t be rushing around last minute for something important.
Decorate Your Planner
This one probably sounds cheesy, but I decorate my planner and it makes me excited for the season. I am not suggesting to string lights around the coil or anything drastic like that, but using red or green pens can be fun and festive for Christmas, or blue ones for Hanukkah. (I also do this around Halloween with orange and black markers, and July with red and blue ones, haha.) I think making your planner festive also helps keep it organized. You’re not going to want to mess up your neatly strategized to-do list if it will get in the way of your Christmas Tree doodle!
Don’t Overbook Yourself
I am not even referring to accidentally RSVPing to two parties on the same day! Rather, make sure you give yourself time to breathe. The holidays are fun and exciting, but avoid holiday burnout by scheduling some time for self-care and relaxation. While it is fun attending every party (or Zoom call!), it is equally fun sometimes to curl up on your own couch with Baileys to watch a Christmas movie. You do not have to say “yes” to every party; you’re allowed to enjoy the twinkle of the lights on your own Christmas Tree. So, while it might seem silly to pencil in some down time, it is super easy to get wrapped up (pun intended!) in the whirlwind of the holiday season and this point in the schedule is necessary.
Meal Plan for a Few Nights
With the craziness of everyone’s schedule, it is not a bad idea to have some meal plans prepped for the extremely busy days. A holiday brunch followed by an afternoon of Christmas shopping with a 7:00 PM Christmas Tree lighting may only leave you with an hour or two for dinner. Have something ready to cook. Better yet, freeze a meal in advance that can be popped into the oven last minute.