The holiday season is upon us, and you’re beginning to get stressed out. There’s just so much to do during the holidays: decorating, gift buying, gift wrapping, getting a tree, baking cookies, scheduling family get-togethers and preparing for any get-togethers and so on.
And you’ve still got that pile of work to do.
Holiday planning while you’ve got a busy work schedule can be tough. Let’s take a look at some ideas for getting organized this holiday season, web-worker style.
1. Use web apps for planning. We’re web workers. Consider planning things out on Gcal and using a list program (there are tons of them) for your action lists. I like to use tadalist to make Christmas wish lists for all my kids, and share them with family, so that they can check things off if they buy an item. Then my kids get what they want, no one buys duplicate gifts, and it was easy and fun to create!
2. Set aside time each day. You’ve got a busy schedule — who has time for holiday stuff? Well, if you don’t make time, you’ll put it off until the last minute, and no one likes the last-minute holiday rush. So make time now — that’s right, get out your schedule — to do what you need to do. Set aside a little planning time each day (even 10 minutes) and some errands time. Make it like a can’t-miss meeting. To make time, put off a few of your projects until after the New Year. They can wait.
3. List your next-actions. Again, use your favorite web list app, and make a list of everything you need to do, errands and shopping, decorating and cooking and baking and cleaning, party preparation and the like. What’s the first thing you have to do? Put that at the top of the list, and focus on getting that done. Then focus on the next thing you need to do, and so on, GTD style. Focus on one thing at a time so that you’re not so overwhelmed.
4. Keep it simple. The holidays can be overwhelming if we try to do too much. It’s best to avoid anything complicated, so that you don’t have too much to do. If your next-action list looks like Santa’s gift list, you’ve got a problem. Cut it in half by eliminating the unnecessary but “would be nice” items. See if you can simplify your plans — instead of having big parties with complicated menus, just keep the get-togethers small, the menus simple, and do potluck. Keep decorating to a minimum. Keep your gift list short — no one will be offended if you don’t get them a gift, unless they’re your children. Gift exchanges can help minimize gift giving. The simpler you can make your holiday plans, the better.
5. Batch process. As much as possible, do your errands and the like all at once, and get them out of the way. Can you do your gift shopping online in one fell swoop? Do it soon! Get all the supplies and materials you need in one errand trip — be sure to have a list! Get all your gift wrapping done at once (see below).
6. Organized shopping. A list is a must for gifts. Do a little research online if you’re buying in the real world, so you know what you want to get each person on your list. Then list the stores you need to go to. See if you can group them together. Plan out a route, and do it in one trip.
7. A wrapping party. Get friends together and do a big wrapping party. Everybody bring their favorite gift wrapping and supplies. Have some snacks and music and wine. Get a sitter so the kids don’t see their gifts. Then do your wrapping all at once, so you don’t have to worry about it again. Of course, you’ll have to go to the other room to wrap some presents, if their recipients are at the wrapping party.
8. A cookie party. In addition, or as an alternative, to the wrapping party, consider a cookie-baking party. This is a great way to get family and friends involved, and is a great tradition. Get all your favorite recipes together, get the ingredients ready, be sure you have plenty of mixing bowls and baking sheets and cookie cutters and cookie decorations, and have at it! Play some festive music. Turns a chore into fun.
How are you doing at scheduling the holidays into your already busy day?