Every year I see it, the November and December holidays arrive and time starts to move at warp speed.  There’s family to entertain, gifts to buy, meals to cook, parties to attend, and not to mention the responsibilities that come with managing your day to day life.  The end of the year arrives leaving you exhausted and hoping next year will be different.  Why not try some of these tips so you can slow down and enjoy the holiday season?

Plan Your Time – Your calendar should already contain your hard commitments (meetings, appointments, parties and events).  Look for the “white spots” or “clear spaces” where you can schedule the things you need to get done–shopping, cooking, etc.  Be sure to honor these appointments with yourself so you are not forced to make impulsive purchases (thus spending more than you need to) or cramming at the last minute to get something done.

Just Say “No” – If you are already feeling overcommitted, don’t say “yes” to every invitation you receive.  Decide ahead of time which events are important to you and then send your regrets for the rest.  Be prepared to say “no” when asked to volunteer for the holiday party or coordinate the family gift exchange.  Try these “excuses”:

  • “That sounds like so much fun, but not at this time.”
  • “I appreciate you asking, it’s an honor. Unfortunately I’m not available to do that at this time.”
  • “I’d love to help you with xxxx, but not right now.  I just have too much on my plate.”

Schedule “Me” Time – When life is stressful and chaotic it’s even more important to make time for things you enjoy or bring you peace.  Don’t skip your yoga or spin class, it may be just what you need to recharge your battery and give you the energy to get more done.

Expect the Unexpected – Knowing how long a particular task takes to complete will help you plan your time.  However, many people are not a good judge of time or inevitably something will come up that can cause a task to take longer than originally intended.  Allow for a buffer of time between tasks and appointments so that if something goes wrong, your whole schedule is not thrown out of whack.

Delegate When You Can – Why try to do everything yourself when there are others willing to help?

  • Trade baby-sitting with a friend so you can shop in peace or have a much needed break.
  • Ask holiday guests to bring a dish to share rather than leaving all the cooking to yourself.
  • If you can afford it, outsource what you can – engage a meal delivery service, hire a company to do your errands, or pay someone to wrap your gifts.