More than any other time of the year, productivity and time management are put to the test during the holiday season. No matter if you’re St. Nick or Ebenezer Scrooge, stress associated with the holidays is all around you—at home, at work, on the road, in the grocery store…and don’t even think about the shopping malls!
Here at AT-A-GLANCE®, we’re all about increasing your productivity through solid planning and organization. These assets are of the utmost importance during this hustle-and-bustle season. To help you achieve maximum productivity and minimal stress this year, we’ve compiled our Top 10 tips for surviving and thriving during the holidays.
- Make a Plan—and Keep it Simple: It’s imperative to have a plan for the holidays, and as noted in The Leader, make it a simple plan. Don’t pull a Clark Griswold—lower your expectations and reduce your workload to keep things in order. Make lists of what you need, eliminating non-essential tasks.
- Be a Deadline Grinch: Our friends at Day-Timer remind us to set hard and fast dates for accomplishing your holiday tasks. Break larger tasks into smaller chunks, take your deadlines seriously and remember balance—you still need to fit in time for the rest of life’s priorities.
- Make a Shopping Schedule: Holiday shopping—it’s hard, if not impossible, to avoid. As noted on Staples.com, make your own time line or itinerary noting the stores, products and sales you want to include in your trip. Be sure to give yourself some buffer time—long check out lines and gnarled traffic can ruin even the best-laid plans.
- Create a Cooking Plan and Timeline: Write out a detailed menu, create a shopping list, gather grocery ads and coupons, and create a cooking timeline. Make sure to organize these lists and items properly to ensure an efficient trip to the store. Don’t forget to account for dietary restrictions and food allergies if hosting a holiday event.
- Keep the Kids Focused: It’s easy for children to get wrapped up in all the holiday lights, TV specials and cookies. Keep them focused by maintaining established routines, employing their help with holiday tasks, encouraging physical activity, and planning family time so that they can take breaks and truly enjoy the holidays.
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Travel is common during the holidays. For long trips or vacations, create and print out itineraries for each member of the family. If traveling by car, go through the standard 21-point checklist or simply schedule an appointment with your mechanic to give your front-wheel drive sleigh a good once-over. If traveling by air, pre-print boarding passes and set alerts through your mobile devices to receive flight change and cancellation information.
- It’s Party Time: To make sure your home is prepared for holiday visitors, create a chore chart and timeline so you’re not in this alone. Maximize space by cleaning and clearing counter tops in the kitchen, and plan for food storage and cooking space. Now’s a perfect time to clean out the refrigerator and have a professional carpet cleaning.
- That’s a Wrap: Set up your own wrapping station in your craft area of the house or in an extra room. Keep all wrapping supplies in this area and organize accessories, such as gift tags, holiday cards and gift lists, using an expanding file. And, as noted on the Eve of Reduction blog, get creative and “recycle” expired wall calendars by using the pages as gift wrap, giving each present a very unique touch.
- Need Gift Ideas? Still working on pulling your holiday gift list together? We suggest giving the gift of time and organization. Whether you’re a student, mom or professional, a strong organizing solution like a planner or organizer makes the perfect stocking suffer for almost anyone on your list.
- Relax and Enjoy! Enough said. Have a great holiday season!
For more productivity, planning and organizing tips for every season, check out the AT-A-GLANCE Planning Center.