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 a “if I have time” list. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.
You’ve made your list, now it’s time to check it twice
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. So 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 because getting all those pesky thought out of your head can greatly reduce the feeling of overwhelm. Which, in turns, can help reduce our stress levels. But 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. (which is something I do quite often) You have all weekend to do this, so please feel free to take your time. 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 plan that will work for you for the holiday season.
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? For example, I like to declutter the kids toys and clothes before the holidays. Now that both my boys are old enough to do this on their own, I pass that task on to them. 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 time trying to find PJs for the boys that won’t cost a fortune.
That’s it! I know it’s a lot to do, but the good news is you have all weekend to work on it. I know some people find it easier to just make new lists, rather than using symbols and crossing things off, so I wanted to make sure that everyone had time to work on this step without feeling rushed.
I’ll be back on Monday when we’re going to start talking about how to set up a Holiday Planner that works for you! Until then, 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.