As Andy Williams sings, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” If that’s the case, then why have I witnessed more Scrooge- than Santa-like behavior this holiday season?
I think it’s because many of us put a great deal of undue pressure on ourselves to do a ton of stuff, some of which we may not want to do, and that tension between not wanting to do something and feeling you have to can cause quakes.
Sure, there might be more going on than usual when it comes to family, work, school, travel, etc., but the holidays don’t have to be synonymous with stress.
You ever hear the saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail”? Well, let the Christmas bells ring true for that one!
If you haven’t started planning yet, now’s a great time to get started! And, if you’re in the thick of it and already feel out of control, then it’s time to regroup.
(Oh, and if you think you can’t take the time to plan, you actually can’t afford not to. This isn’t Speed. Your brakes work just fine, so step on ‘em. <wink>)
Now, what I have to say may seem pretty basic. In fact, you may already know this stuff, but a friendly reminder never hurt anyone. (Or did it? I hope mine’s not the first!)
Here are my top tips that will help you be dazzled, not frazzled, this season!
1. Stop: Grab some paper, a pen, and sit yourself down with a cup of chamomile tea.
2. Relax: Take a couple of deep breaths and remind yourself that by taking a step back, you’ll be able to move forward more efficiently.
3. Spew: Get everything you “need” and want to get done down on paper. Be sure to list it all.
4. Review: Look it all over, and as you do, think about each activity as a mini-event and work backwards. In order to get “X” done, what needs to happen?
a. Eg: If “bake cookies” is on my to-do list, I would think to add tasks like:
1. Figure out how much I need to bake and whether anyone who will be consuming my creations has dietary restrictions.
2. Look through recipes and decide which cookies to bake.
3. Look to see what ingredients I already have.
4. Make a list of all ingredients and quantities needed.
5. Shop for ingredients.
6. Buy containers for storage any other packaging needed to present my gifts.
7. Book a date in the calendar to get the baking done.
b. I could add more, but you get the gist. This is the type of thinking I’m encouraging in this step.
5. Prioritize: Look at the activities in your plan and the time you have in your calendar and decide what really has to get done.
a. Perspective: Will your mother-in-law seriously go postal if you don’t have the right napkin rings? Will your kids care if you don’t have the perfect wrapping paper and paraphernalia? Put it all into perspective.
b. Help: Feel free to get creative. Let’s say you decide it ALL has to get done, but you don’t feel like doing everything. Maybe you can swap with someone who would enjoy doing a particular task. Finding a way to get ‘er done doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself.
6. Plan: Plug the activities into your calendar. Be sure to see how you can plan efficiently. Maybe a few of the stores you need are close to a doctor you have to go to, so you should hit them up on the day of your appointment. You get the idea here.
7. Mindset: Instead of defaulting to, “OMG, here we go,” with a feeling of doom and dread, crank up the tunes, burn the yummy-smelling candle, and enjoy what you’re doing. Here we go!!
It may seem insane to list so many details, but as a former event planner, trust me, it helps!
The longer list won’t craze you. It’ll ultimately calm you, because thinking though the flow of events puts you in control.
Does this mean everything will go according to plan? Probably not, but strategizing should definitely help you anticipate and plan for any scenario.
Well, I hope this was valuable! If you have any tips, please feel free to share in the comments!
Now, go forth and enjoy the fun and festivities!
© 2014 The Queen Bee NYC | All rights reserved
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