I bet your to-do list is about as big as mine. Here’s what my brain sounds like right now:
“Don’t forget to add almonds to the grocery list. I need to be to the gym by 8:45 for the 9:00 class. Then I’ll go get those groceries. What will I have that is healthy for lunch? Who do I have left to buy gifts for? Shoot, I’m almost out of gas. SQUIRREL!”.
Yep, that is about it right now. The chaos that ensues this time of year can make or break you. I’ve learned to calm down my thoughts and take it one day at a time. I’m very much a calendar and scheduled person; but with everything else I need to do during this time of year, that schedule gets moved around quite a bit as new thoughts move in and the priorities change.
So how do you decide what is most important? You can take just a few minutes to sit down each night and decide what your schedule is like for the next day. I like to use my iPhone/iPad calendar, as that is where I can organize by color. My boys each have their own color, as does my husband. I even have colors for work and personal for myself. I love that my husband and I can share our schedules with each other, as well. This way we are both on the same page when it comes to who is taking one boy where at what time, etc. Some prefer to write down their schedule on a physical calendar. Whatever works best for you, use it.
So how do you prioritize from here?
- Write a list of to-do’s
I do this on a separate sheet of paper. My husband likes to make a checklist and check them off as he goes along. If you like to be rewarded, this is a great way to get your to-do’s done. I have to admit; checking off the box does give me some satisfaction.
- Number your to-do’s from least to most important
Decide what needs to be done first and what can wait. I include my workouts and food prep on my calendar. These are extremely important to me. That being said, if I have a day that is very full of shopping for gifts or getting my boys around for activities, I decide a 15 minutes workout is perfectly ok. Or if I absolutely have to miss a day, I forgive myself and make sure it’s on my calendar for the next day.
- Transfer your to-do’s to your calendar
Your number one on the list is most likely the one that needs to be checked off by the next day. So make sure that fits in first time slot you have available that day. Decide if the items at the bottom of your list can wait until after the holidays (just don’t let your health be at the bottom of your list).
4. Decide if some items can be done remotely or if someone can help you
Have a bill that needs to be dropped off? If you feel comfortable with it, do it online to avoid that extra trip. Many grocery stores now offer delivery service for a minimal fee, as well. I became a member of Amazon Prime this year and it has become a lifesaver. Very much worth the some-$90 annually to have gifts delivered at the last minute when needed. While trying to save money, I decided this was worth my time and sanity. Decide if this is a route you can use, even if just one time, to help ease the stress. Also, ask for help! I check with my boys’ friends’ parents to see if we can carpool to help ease the drive time both directions. If someone is running to the grocery store and I only need one item, I’ll ask them to pick it up for me. They know I’m good to return the favor later!
5. Do add meditation and/or journaling to your calendar
I understand I say this frequently, but these two items can help you stay organized more than you think. Both help calm the mind and body and they help you prioritize and get things in order.
Enjoy your holiday season by knowing that all is going to be OK. Forgive where you forget or when you lack time for self-care. Beating yourself up is not worth it and only makes this holiday season more stressful than necessary. Remember last year? You likely stressed about something and it all worked out just fine. Take comfort in knowing that it will all be just fine. Enjoy the squirrels!