As wonderful as this time of year is, it can be quite overwhelming. Many people find their to-do lists growing by the second with too many obligations and too little time.
If the amount you need to do this year is making you feel stressed you may want to try this technique for managing your time. You’ll need your diary, a pen and some paper.
Start by writing down everything you need to do to stay healthy every day. This includes sleep, rest, time to wind-down at night, time to eat nourishing meals and time to exercise. Getting 20 minutes out in natural light is also recommended – why not take a walk or run outside to tackle two tasks at once?
Schedule these activities into your diary, just like you would a doctor or dentist appointment. Starting this way ensures that you are prioritising your own health first. This will enable you to remain fit, well and energetic enough to carry out your other tasks. Failing to do this can lead to exhaustion, poor decision making and high stress levels.
Next, write down your obligations over Christmas – the activities you must do. This may be work, the school run, shopping, cooking or cleaning. Estimate the time you’ll need for these and double your estimates for things like Christmas shopping and cooking the Christmas meal as we tend to under-estimate the amount of time we need for big jobs like these.
Now, write a list of any other tasks you’ve been asked to do. This could include the work Christmas party, school concerts or other parties/outings. Look at this list and look at your diary – what can you realistically fit in? It may be that you have to pick one outing and commit to just this. Schedule this in and take a final look at your diary – it should be full, but not overfilled.
Your last job is to turn down the remaining invitations. Keep your message simple, thanking the person responsible and explaining that you won’t be able to make it this year. Being concise will deter people from arguing your decision.
This may sound like a long-winded way to do things, but it will help you feel more in control and gives you a realistic schedule.