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At least 69% of people are stressed because they don’t feel like they ever have enough time during the holidays. Everyone has encountered stress during Christmas at one time or another. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to let things slide and go with the flow. You think you have to say yes to every invitation and be everything to everyone. Let’s not even talk about finding the right gift for that difficult family member, yeah you know the one (every family has one).
This makes your stress go through the roof. I have some great news for you. You can decrease stress, increase productivity, and enjoy the holidays. Enjoying the holidays might seem like a concept available only to children, but what if I told you that it’s possible for adults too? It is totally possible for you.
This post is post #5 in a 7-part series called Ditching the Holiday Overwhelm. Here is the other post in the series:
Post 6: How to Create NEW Traditions with Your Family This Year
Post 7: How to Maintain Your Sanity During the Holidays
19 Holiday Productivity Tips:
1. Create a plan
One minute spent planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. So, when you plan for 10 minutes, you are saving 100 minutes (over an hour and a half). When you make decisions ahead of time, you can make them quicker. You are making your decisions with a clear mind and don’t have all of the drama that comes with making decisions at the last minute (especially around the holidays). Planning for the holidays is different than planning year-round. There are so many more things going on during the busy holiday season. That's why I created the 2020 Holiday Planner. It will help you plan out your Christmas budget, gifts, Christmas cards, create a Christmas bucket list, and more. You can grab your free copy HERE.
2. Create simplified holiday routines
When you are running short on time during the holidays, you can still keep your routines. You don’t have to scrap them. You just do part of them. Routines are so helpful because they save you a lot of time. When you have routines, your brain runs on autopilot and you don't have to take forever to decide at the moment. It allows you to do things quicker and save a ton of time.
3. Make time for self-care
Make time for self-care. Just because you don’t have as much time, doesn’t mean you have to completely stop self-care. You can still do self-care when you’re short on time. Self-care has been proven to improve your cognitive function. It helps you be able to focus and concentrate better.
4. Don’t forget me time
Me time also improves your productivity. It’s so important as a special needs mom, that you take time to recharge and unwind. You need quiet time where you don’t have to think about everyone else’s needs. You don't need a huge chunk of time. Just take 30 minutes or so to be by yourself in total silence, or whatever you find relaxing. You can even take longer than the normal shower and lock the bedroom door so no one can disturb you.
5. Online shopping
Online shopping will save you so much time (and money). You can find the exact gift or item you’re wanting within minutes and be done. You don’t get sucked in with impulse buys and wandering around the store. I mean even a “quick” trip to the store can take 30 minutes or more, that’s not counting the added time of the holiday crowd.
6. Schedule time to worry or stress
When you find yourself worrying or stressing recognize it in the moment. Stop and schedule a time to worry and/or stress. This might sound so simple, but it helps your brain calm down. In the moment, your thoughts seem so big like they're a huge problem. But oftentimes, when you think about them later, they don't seem that big. When you're in the moment and worried about something and you remind your brain, you’ve scheduled time to worry about that later, it helps you to calm down.
7. Delegate things on your to-do list
As a mom, most of the time it’s easier to do something yourself instead of delegating. Delegating is a time commitment especially if you have to train someone to do something, but you gain that time back. You take time to train someone to do something and then you get freed up with so much more time than you gave. It’s a great investment of your time.
If you don’t delegate because you’re a control freak, then you just gotta let go. You need to know that it’s okay for someone else to help you. It’s okay for someone else to fold the towels and it’s okay if they don’t look the same way they do as when you fold them. The world will not come to an end if the towels are folded differently. You can still dry yourself off with them after a shower. I promise. J
People can’t learn to improve their skills if you don’t give them the opportunity to try. Think about the things you can do and figure out what other people can help you with. I challenge you to find 2 things you’re doing and give them to someone else to do today.
8. Eliminating things on your to-do list
Chances are, there are things on your to-do list that can just be eliminated. You don’t even need them on there at all. The things you need to eliminate are time sucks like watching a lot of tv, scrolling social media, browsing the internet, etc. These things don’t align with your priorities and they don't have anything to do with your goals. These are huge wastes of time. Most people spend over 3 hours every single day on their phones. That’s a lot of time you can spend doing something productive.
9. Do one thing at a time
Don’t multitask. Some studies show that multitasking causes you to take up to 40% longer doing one task than if you did one thing at a time. Multitasking is only good if you're doing a smaller task with another task that isn't important to have 100% concentration. Ex: listening to a podcast while driving or folding laundry.
10. Put things in your calendar right away
Don't wait to put things on your calendar. Put them in right away. That way if there's a conflict you can just say no to the new event or work around it. When you have a scheduling conflict, it takes a longer time to work out because a lot of the time we don't realize it until the day of the event and we end up running around like a crazy person trying to fix the mess of double booking ourselves.
11. Be present
Being present in the moment does wonders for your productivity. Being present can include turning off the technology, making eye contact, and tuning out distractions. Being present in the moment is important for the holidays in addition to the increased productivity. You only get this year to have your 2020 Christmas, make it count.
12. Batch items in your to-do list
Batching items just means doing like items together in 1 chunk of time. Wrapping your presents at one time. Shopping for multiple gifts in a single shopping trip rather than one trip per gift. When you do things one at a time and not together (batched), you spend a whole lot of time task switching. When you switch from one task to another, your brain takes time to adjust. If you continuously task switch throughout the day, you can waste as much as 40% of the day.
To batch just write out your to-do list and categorize the items. Group all of the phone calls together and make them within a chunk of time instead of doing one call a day. Just block out 1 hour on Tuesday morning (or whenever else you’re available) and knock out the calls or take a personal day to run all of your errands if you have that many.
13. Create a “do not forget list”
It's easy to think of a million things in the moment that you need to do. As a mom, it's like your thoughts are all one big giant to-do list, and do not forgets. Instead of doing them right away, just create a “do not forget list” note in your notes app on your phone and write out anything you want to remember for later. This will help it keep coming up in your thoughts because you know you’ll be dealing with it later.
14. Learn that it’s okay to say no
You can say no. I promise. The world will not come to an end if you say no to someone. You are an adult and you have agency. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You can say no without an explanation. Just say no. There are things you don’t like doing, but really want to do like laundry (cause everyone needs clean clothes, right?). I am not talking about those things. I am talking about the things you really don’t want to do, like going to 10 different Christmas parties.
15. Set a timer
Setting a timer helps you to do a task faster because you are naturally competitive and want to complete the task before the timer dings. You know you only have so long to do the task, so you don’t get as distracted with all of the other tasks around you. Don't worry about multitasking. You just focus on the one task until it's done.
16. Take breaks
Taking breaks helps your productivity. You can take a mental break and refresh it before moving on. If you keep going and pushing through, you might get sluggish and take longer to think and things. If you take breaks, you feel refreshed and recharged and then you're able to work at a higher level with more focus and concentration.
17. Stop busying
Stop busying. Stop being busy for the sake of being busy. Stop doing busywork. Stop doing unnecessary tasks. Remember when you were in school and the teacher was out for a day? The substitute teacher often had “busy work” for you to do to pass the time until the teacher came back. A lot of adults are still caught up in doing busy work.
18. Time block
Time blocking helps increase your productivity. You can figure out ahead of time what you’re gonna do and when. When you’re in the moment, you don’t have to worry about deciding what to do because it’s already been predetermined because you planned your week and you just look on the calendar.
19. Write it down
Write down the things you’re supposed to do. During the holidays a lot is happening and it's so important to write things down because there’s no way you can remember everything. You have a ton of events you have to remember. In the 2020 Holiday Planner, there is a page called Events Organizer that will help you document all the details about each of your holiday events so you’ll be able to remember each detail and won’t have to worry about forgetting at the last minute.
It’s totally possible to be productive during the holidays. You don’t have to throw your productivity and routines out the window. You can work smarter and not harder. You can decrease your holiday stress, increase your productivity, and enjoy the holidays again. If you’re ready to take this work to the next level and plan out your holidays so you’re prepared and not rushing around at the last minute, check out our free 2020 Holiday Planner. It will help you get organized, feel more relaxed, and less stressed about the holidays this year. You can sign-up HERE.