It’s time to start putting your calendar to work for you. Today is the day to start mapping out major events and shopping adventures and then backing up those major events with the minor steps necessary to accomplish everything. Thanksgiving is only 9 days away so let’s get busy. If you’re a really visual person colored pencils can be helpful at this stage. Before you actually start writing things on your calendar, make a few lists (everyone’s list and priorities will be different, these are just examples):
Create these lists on a document on your computer. This will help you add things in as you go along through the season. Be sure to include a date at the top of the list and change it each time you modify the list.
Major Events (things that you will definitely do/attend/etc.) – Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Hanukkah, Travel Plans, kids release dates from school.
Minor Events (things you will most likely do/attend/etc.) – Children’s Christmas program at school/church, Hanukkah meals with friends, Parties, ….
Decorate the House
Buy the Tree
Decorate the Tree
Write Christmas Cards
Send Christmas Cards
Get the carpets cleaned
Once your lists are complete you can start adding items to your calendar. This is where the colored pencils come in handy. Use a different colored pencil to indicate each of the Major Events on your calendar. Major events are things that will have lots of other moving parts, so using color coding will help keep things organized. I use the space at the bottom of my calendar to make notes about the things I will need to follow up on for each major event.
This is just the first phase of organizing your time. Don’t stress out on the details. Just get the Events and To-Dos on the calendar. Once you’ve got your lists written print them out and check them off as you add them to the calendar. When the calendar is up to date go back to your computer list and add a symbol or check mark to each item on the list so you know it’s been scheduled. I use a Clock symbol. If you're unable to schedule something, you’ll know because the symbol will be missing. You can also add the date if you want and other relevant information. Once that is done, change the date at the top of the list, and reprint it. Keep it with your calendar. As you think of things that need to be added to your list you can jot the information down.
ÂDecorate the House – Saturday, November 24
Â Buy the Tree – Sunday, November 25
Â Decorate the Tree – Sunday, November 25
Â Write Christmas Cards
Â Send Christmas Cards
Once you’ve finished today’s task, you’ll have a good overall view of your holiday schedule. As you begin the details of planning you can add things in around your major/minor events.
One last reminder. Don't stress out over this today. Just get the major stuff down so you have a foundation to work from. Then, spend a few minutes each evening reviewing your lists, adding details and discussing changes/additions with your family. You'll all be on the same page, and they'll have a good understanding of what it takes to have a succesful holiday season. Dinner discussions with the calendar will also help to prompt forgetful teenagers (and husbands) into remembering potentially important things that are coming up for them over the holidays as well. Things like School Parties, Dances, Ski Days with friends, or holiday events at your husband's office need to be on your calendar too.
Thanks for joining me today! Here's to a stress-less holiday season.