calendars

Stay on track during the busy holiday season

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Having a hard time keeping track of everything in December? The holidays are a busy time for many people, with parties, activities, and usual appointments and errands – and that doesn’t even cover everything that needs to be done! For many people, their “to do” list can be never ending. While you may have tasks written down or programmed into your phone with reminders, it can be easy to ignore them when times get busy and stressful. Here are some suggestions on how you can stop ignoring your to-do list and keep on top of all your tasks:

Use a calendar

If you have any appointments or events coming up this month, make sure you book them directly into your calendar, whether it is electronic or manual. With an electronic calendar, you can email yourself reminders in advance, so you won’t forget about them or double book yourself. By using a calendar, you can also get a good view of what other activities you have coming up in the week or month, so you can plan ahead. Don’t be afraid to use your calendar for smaller reminders as well, like when to defrost the turkey, when to wrap gifts, and when to go shopping.

 

Organize tasks into categories or projects

If you have a big project to work on or have multiple tasks that fit into one category (like “holiday meal”), only set one reminder to review the project or category. In your reminder you can list all of the tasks that need to be completed, but don’t set a reminder for each separate task. This will quickly fill up your calendar and can make you feel overwhelmed. By setting up only one reminder, you can keep all the tasks related to that one project or category together. When you categorize tasks or activities, you can focus on the big picture and stay on track..

 

Use a digital app for your lists 

If you prefer checking off tasks on a to-do list, consider using an app on your phone that will help you keep track of what you need to get done. Apps like ASANA and Wunderlist have robust search features and a great task list that can help you record everything. They even let you categorize tasks into separate folders, so you can keep all related tasks together in one place. With a digital to-do list, you can also set reminders to be emailed to you or sent to your phone. You also don’t have to worry about losing or misplacing your list if you keep it on your phone – some apps even have the option of exporting your list or accessing it on a desktop for added security.

 

Make it visible

When you’re figuring out what you need to do, make sure you record your tasks or events in a place that you are sure to check regularly. If you have a calendar in your office but you never go in there, then you shouldn’t use it to record your holiday events and tasks. Instead, use your phone or electronic calendar, which you may be more likely to check regularly. For families, it is also important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Consider syncing your online calendars together or setting up a large format calendar in your kitchen or family room where everyone can see it and stay up to date on what is going on and what needs to be done. You can also use it to delegate tasks to each person, so everyone knows what they are responsible for doing.

 

Don’t take on more than you can

You can only stay on track of your holiday tasks if you have a manageable number of tasks to complete. If you try to take on more than you are actually able, you will have a much harder time trying to get things done on time and done properly. Don’t be afraid to get help from family and friends for holiday tasks like preparing for meals, decorating, and shopping for gifts. It’s also okay to say no to events or activities if you can’t make room in your schedule. Instead, try and plan get togethers after the holidays, so you don’t have to worry about making time for everyone.

 

If you have a lot that needs to be done during the holidays, make sure you take the time to properly plan and organize your tasks, so you can stay on track during the busy season. Find a method that works for you – one that won’t let you ignore or forget important appointments, events, and tasks. During the holidays, you can stay on top of everything and still have time to enjoy the season!

Get Organized this Holiday Season!

This week is a busy time for many people. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day (or Week), New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are all happening within days of each other, and these holidays usually involve parties, family meals, gift giving, family visits, and a whole host of seasonal activities. We’re here to offer some advice on how to stay organized during this busy time!

Keep a calendar

With all of the events and activities going on, it’s important to make sure you have everything written down, either on a physical calendar or in your phone. You can set reminders a couple days before the event so you know what is coming up, like Christmas dinner, and what you need to be doing before that event. If you’re having family over, this is also important so you can make sure the house is clean and the guest bedrooms are ready. This way, you can enjoy time with your family and not have to run around the day of.

Don’t try to do it all

Many people feel pressured to squeeze in every holiday-themed event or activity that they hear about or get invited to. This should not happen! The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax with friends and family, the keyword being relax. The holidays don’t have to be stressful unless you make them stressful. Sometimes, it’s best to say no to some people and arrange to meet them before or after the holidays in a time that works best for your schedule. December, especially the week before Christmas, should not be the time that everyone tries to get together. It’s okay to say no – it may be that your friends and family are going through the same thing!

Leave some time to relax

The holiday season is notorious for being stressful (see points one and two!) but it doesn’t have to be. Take some time for you to relax – whether it’s at home or with friends and family, as long as it doesn’t involve you feeling stressed or disorganized. Taking this time can help you get back on your feet and assess what needs to be done. It can be easy to forget what’s happening or what needs to be done during this week when you’re constantly moving from one event to the other. Once the week is over and the holidays are done, you’ll be left dealing with all of the other things you may have pushed aside to make room for these activities. Take the time for yourself to re-organize your coming days, relax, and give yourself a break!

Pack ahead of time

For people who are travelling over the holidays or visiting relatives, it’s a good idea to pack as much as you can before you have to travel. This seems like common sense, but it’s easy to put packing off during this time, especially if you’re travelling after Christmas. However, it will make your life easier and more organized if you get as much as you can packed before you have to leave, so that you can enjoy your other holiday events without having to leave early to pack or be rushed to pack the day of. Clothes, shoes, accessories, books, and other items that you don’t use day to day can be packed in your suitcase ahead of time. Toiletry items like toothbrushes and hair accessories can be packed in your travelling bag but left out for you to use. This way, it’s ready to go but still available for you to use before you leave. If you’re travelling by air, it might be a good idea to check-in to your flights online 24 hours in advance, and either print out your boarding tickets or save them on your hand-held device ahead of time.

Once you’re ready to return from your travelling, our Unpack to Organize after Summer Vacation post can help you stay organized before you even get home.

 

Enjoy the holiday season by staying organized and keeping track of what is happening. Cut down on your to-do list if necessary, and make sure you take time for yourself. If you’re travelling, get as much as you can done as early as you can. This week doesn’t have to be stressful if you don’t want it to be!