Time Management For The Holidays

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For many of us the madness of our schedules starts right after Halloween. Even though Christmas is still two months away, seasonal reminders are not shy about getting us in the spirit. Decorations are on sale, the holiday music is blaring — 'tis the season, whether you're ready or not!

Some people are great planners and may already know what's on the calendar for the next two months, but for most of us, as the holiday pace increases, we're faced with more and more scheduling surprises. It's easy to forget what you said yes to and which parties you decided to attend. Did you volunteer at the church or school and what are you supposed to bring? The holidays are supposed to be happy times, full of cheer, but it doesn't take long to turn into something ugly.

Here are three tips for planning your events this season, tips that will keep your calendar under control and your emotions from running high.

1. Use One Calendar
For any event you say yes too, have one calendar where you put all of the information down. This may seem obvious, but I know there are many of you who work off of more than one calendar and when you do that your chances of overbooking increases dramatically! In the calendar make sure to highlight the necessary information you need for the event, the address / directions, the time, and any reminders of things you are bringing or may need for the event.

2. Wait to Say Yes to Anything
This week on the Taking Control: The Organizing Podcast, we talk about three tips for taking control of your calendar. These tips are meant for any time of the year but they are particularly relevant to the holiday season. My first — and favorite — tip is to wait to say yes to anything. It's easy to say yes, we're people pleasers and we don't like letting people down, but do not impulsively say yes to something out of guilt! Thank the person for asking, and ask to get back to them when you have had a chance to review your calendar. Once you are back home, you have the time and space to decide how important this activity is to you. Is this request something you really care about and want to do? If you say yes to this request, then consider anything else that might come up to which you might now have to say no! Make sure your calendar fits your values and priorities.

3. Review Your Calendar
In order to get a grasp on your calendar, you need to study it, especially during these holiday weeks that fill up quickly. Take some time on Sunday afternoon to look at your week ahead. Hold a family meeting and include them in your planning of the week. The more we are aware of schedules the more likely we feel more in control of them, rather than letting our schedules control us. In addition to Sunday afternoons, I recommend reviewing your calendar toward the end of each day. Make sure you know each morning exactly where you are supposed to be and what time you are supposed to be there. Using reminders and alarms on your phone is a great way to ensure you don't forget your commitments. There is nothing like a beeping phone to remind you to go pick up your kids!

We share more tips in this week's podcast, so please listen and figure out how you can apply these ideas to your schedule this holiday season! Next week: Your holiday on a budget!