It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but boy can it get busy fast.
Between decorating, holiday parties, gift shopping, baking, entertaining at home, fun family outings, sending out cards, wrapping presents, attending school events, and more, parents especially can have a full plate this time of year.
While most additions to the calendar are meant to be enjoyable, it can easily get overwhelming if you’re not organized.
To help you navigate the holiday season with cheer, here are seven ways to save time this holiday season.
Audit Your Calendar
Take a look at the next few weeks. Is there anything you can renegotiate or eliminate altogether? Things can slow down a bit in the winter months of January and February. If you’ve got to-do’s that can wait until then, move them over. After you’ve cleared some space, pour yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa and celebrate.
Make Your List
Lists are not just for Santa, you know. Even if you’re not a list person, this is the time of year to try them out. Take pen to paper and plan out a week’s worth of dinners, the people you’re buying gifts for, those you’re sending cards to, and what that you need to get done.
Sometimes the best kind of list is one where you simply dump everything that is on your mind onto a single piece of paper. The act of simply writing it down and seeing it concretely can take the stress away like magic.
Batch Your Tasks
You can save a ton of time and stress by batching your tasks. For example, when it’s time to cook, don’t simply cook one meal for your family. You’re already in the kitchen cooking. Make double the amount you need and store leftovers for later in the week. If you’re chopping a staple ingredient like onions, chop more than you need right now to use in a later recipe. Think ahead and reduce the number of times you need to head into the kitchen to cook a meal from start to finish.
The same idea can be applied to answering emails, wrapping presents, cleaning your house, and so on. Rather than jump from task to task, batch similar tasks and enjoy greater focus and productivity.
One way to ensure you enjoy the fun times of the season is to allow time for it. Muscling your way through hours and hours of work without a break is not sustainable. Rather, schedule blocks of time you’ll focus on, say, household duties, work tasks, holiday preparations, fun, and rest. You’ll find that you won’t feel guilty for sitting around watching holiday movies if you’ve blocked the time for just that. Segment your day in a way that works best for you.
Eat and Sleep
Newsflash: you are human and you require food and rest. These two essentials are often the first things to get tossed aside when life gets hectic. However, if you don’t nourish your body and allow yourself the rest and recuperation you need every single day, you’ll soon find you’re not performing the tasks you need to do well, that everything is taking longer, and that mistakes are being made. You don’t increase productivity by neglecting yourself. Take care of yourself.
Take Advantage of Energy Spikes
We each have different times of the day when we have more energy or focus. Many people, for example, find that the morning is their best time to do anything that requires deep thinking or creativity. Perhaps you tend to get a second wind, as they say, in the evening. Use that to your advantage and tackle the household chores or holiday preparations that need to get done. Utilize your body’s natural rhythm throughout the day to make the most of the energy and cognitive clarity you have at different times.
Be happy. Pressure to make everything magical and perfect this time of year falls on the shoulders of many parents. Recognize that your own thoughts can cause you more stress than any outside factors.
Keep your priorities straight, remember the true significance of this time of year, and enjoy your loved ones. Give yourself a break. Don’t compare yourself to others. Let go of perfection. Aim for inner peace.