Today I want to talk about why I think so many people get overwhelmed with busyness during this holiday month and how to avoid it happening to you this year. If year after year you feel the pinch of time despite your best intentions to slow down and enjoy the season, here’s what you may be doing wrong.
Forgetting to plan the little details.
I know most of us write on our calendars the big events like Christmas parties, potlucks, parades, shopping dates, etc. but what many forget to take into consideration are all the little details that are attached to each of these big events. It’s the little details that bog us down, making us feel scattered, forgetful and rushed off our feet.
So to keep that from happening again here’s what I want you to do today. Take a half hour today to print off a December working calendar. I’ve included some free printables I’ve found online for you to use below. Don’t use your main family calendar for now as this working calendar might get a little messy as you quickly realize how fast the little details add up. You may need to move things around a fair bit as you begin to see the big picture so be sure to write in pencil!
Update: get your 2017 Free Holiday Planner and Calendars right HERE.
Any calendar that you can essentially make a mess of will do :)
Start by writing in the big events that you are hoping to attend and do. Then take each event and make a list of all the little details you need to take care of to make that date happen. As an example let’s take a Christmas potluck party at a friends house that you want to attend on Saturday, December 12th. Here’s what needs to happen before then:
- Because you will be playing a gift exchange game, you need to buy a $10 gift to bring.
- You need to figure out what dish you will make for the potluck.
- You need to buy the ingredients for the potluck and prepare the dish.
- You’d like to bring a small hostess gift to give to the hostess so you need to buy that too.
- It’s also a holiday sweater party so you need to find and/or buy something to wear.
So as you see there are some details to work out. BUT what most people do is mark the big event on their calendar and then carry around a mental list of those things that need to be done beforehand. What happens when you get busy and overwhelmed? All those tasks you’ve been trying to remember get forgotten about and then you are left to frantically try and get it all done at the last minute. You arrive to the party frazzled and tired and just want to go home and crawl into bed. Am I right? Trust me I’ve been there.
That’s where calendar planning comes in handy. Take that working calendar you just printed off and start also marking in the LITTLE details that need to be done. Keep a notepad beside you to make lists of things that need to be purchased as this will keep you from having to make multiple trips to the store, saving you so much time.
Now here is what is going to become painfully clear to you perhaps. As you write in the little details, your calendar will suddenly become fuller and fuller. As this happens you will see that unless you are superwoman something has to give. Sure a party sounds great but the time commitment involved in the little details might be more than your schedule can handle or your priorities will allow.
Going back to our potluck example, say you’ve written in on Friday night that you have to make the potluck dish for the event you want to attend on Saturday. Now when an invite comes in for Friday night you can check your working calendar, see the little details listed there and can make an informed choice about what to do. Without taking the little details into consideration as events themselves, your Friday night at first glance would look empty making it seem like you have a free night. It would be easy to forget that you had a potluck dish you needed to prepare. All of a sudden Saturday comes around, you have a full day of activities already planned, and now somewhere in there you have to make a potluck dish for the evening as well. Talk about stress!
So go ahead plan some fun events for the season and enjoy time with family and friends! BUT avoid some stress and chaos by factoring in all the little details including the time it takes for things like Elf on the Shelf everyday and wrapping presents. All those little details can add up and throw you over the edge of overwhelm!! As you get marking in these details on your calendar you might more clearly see what is and isn’t possible. It’s amazing what seeing the big picture in front of you can do for clarity. Plus it’s always a good idea to “schedule” a few blank dates as well just to let your soul breathe. Just something to keep in mind over the next couple of weeks.
Being intentional about planning not only the big events but the little details required as well will make a world of difference to your state of mind this season. Relax and enjoy knowing you are organized!
I hope this helps! Merry Christmas everyone!!
See also my Organized Christmas Pinterest board