Check Your List Twice

The holiday season always seems to come with a mile-long list of all the things we need to do.  Not just the things we want to do, but all the other tasks and activities that make everything else possible. 

Whenever I’m overwhelmed or approaching a time that I know has the potential to be stressful, one of the first things I do is starting taking things off my to-do list. Or at the very least moving them to an “if I have time” list. 

That’s exactly what we’re going to do today.

You’ve made your list, now it’s time to check it twice

An organized to-do list is a great way to help make the holidays a little less stressful

We’ve worked on two crucial lists so far in this series.  First we defined how we want the holidays to go and made a list of all the things we want and need to do this holiday season.  Next we made a list of all the tasks we need to do for the holidays. 

I recommended making the second list in a way similar to how you do a brain dump.  Just sit down and write everything that pops into your head.  When I recommended that, I told you we’d be editing the list later. 

Now let’s organize these lists so they’re much more manageable.  After all, the whole point of this exercise is to make the holidays as stress-free as possible.

Let’s Organize Our Holiday To-Do List

The number one reason why I recommend writing large to-do lists like you would write a brain dump is that getting all those pesky thoughts out of your head can greatly reduce the feeling of overwhelm.

However, a brain dump style to-do list usually ends up with tasks on it that don’t really need to be done and sometimes the tasks end up in random places in the list, rather than being grouped together with like tasks.

Today we’re going to go through our to-do list and eliminate the items that don’t belong, prioritize the ones that match up with the items on our wants list, and figure out what we can delegate. 

Once we have it organized, we’ll be better able to see what needs doing, but we’ll also feel like we’re more in control instead of flying by the seat of our pants. 

Tackle it in bits and spurts if that works best for you.  It might seem silly, but I promise it will help tremendously in creating a plan that will work for you for the holiday season.

Your Assignment

We’re restructuring our to-do list today. Grab your Holidays Hopes and Dreams list and you Holiday Tasks List.

Go through each item on your task list and put a star beside the items that match up with something from your Hopes and Dreams list. These are the tasks that fit with what you want or really need to do this holiday season.

Now go through all the non-starred tasks and cross off any that you don’t need to do. Maybe you have some cleaning or organizing tasks that could wait until after the holidays. Or maybe you have a bunch of different cookies and goodies you want to make but know you won’t have time to get to them all – you can always cross a few off. If you don’t want to cross items off, consider starting a “If I have Time” list, and move those items over to it.

Next, look at the items you have left. These are things that don’t match your holiday wants list, but they’re still things you feel need to get done.

Are there any you can assign to another family member? Put a question mark beside those ones to remind yourself to ask someone else to do them.  If they’re not something you can pass on to someone else and they’re something you feel truly needs to get done then mark them with a square.

The final step for this assignment is to go through all your starred items and highlight put an exclamation mark beside the ones that are the most important!

For example – we get a real tree every year. Tree shopping gets a star and usually a few exclamation points on my list. This year, Christmas Eve gifts are getting a few exclamation points too, because it never fails, I’ll forget about them until last minute and next thing I know I’m spending all day running all over town trying to find PJs for the boys that won’t cost a fortune.

Some people find it easier to just make new lists, rather than using symbols and crossing things off. Feel free to edit your list however works best for you.

That’s it! I know it sound like a lot to do, but it’ll take less time than you think.

I hope you’ll join us in the Facebook Group. I’ll be there all weekend to answer any questions and just chat with all of you. And, as always, if social media isn’t your jam, you can ask your questions or share your thoughts in the comments. I’ll try to answer them as soon as I can.

To check out the next posts in this series you can hop on over to The Stress-Free Holiday Series page.

Don't let your holiday to-do list overwhelm you. Taking the time to prioritize, delegate, and get rid of the stuff that doesn't need to be on it can go a long to helping create a stress-free holiday season.

Come and Join The Scatter-Brain’s Guide Facebook Group

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