I am a planner, a list maker, a sticky note fanatic. There are notes scattered across bits of paper, and doodled in notebooks throughout our house. I have not one, but three calendars. Luckily the web based ones sync up. I always know what has to be done, but finding the right order can be a challenge, even for the most organized.
Holiday season is the most hectic. Meals to plan, gifts to buy (and wrap, ugh), staff schedules to maintain. Holiday parties for adults, school functions that require kids to arrive all spiffed up and bearing treats.
How can one person get it all done, and done well, all while maintaining some level of sanity.
The feast from Thanksgiving will release you from menu planning for a couple days, but the remaining responsibilities are nagging you like a toddler on Christmas morning awaiting the moment that presents can be opened.
You strive to become a member of the “Clean Plate Club”. No, not that Thanksgiving plate that is still causing your jeans to be a bit snug. Rather the plate that you carry daily that weighs on your mind, filled with all the things that need to get done.
So how do you decide what is important right now?
Focusing on the here and now, the must do’s, quick tasks, and the greatest impact activities will relieve the stress of an overstuffed agenda.
To-do list: If Santa needs a list, so do you. I prefer the pencil and notebook method as there is something satisfying with crossing off completed tasks. Digital formats will suffice even if they lack joy. When creating the agenda, attempt to prioritize your list as to what must be done first, second and so forth. My list is typically littered with arrows and eraser marks, rerouting my day as new things come up, and others fall off. Sticky notes work well for quick reminders for actions that occur daily and are quick to complete, or fleeting thoughts on future to-do’s.
Prioritization: Knock the simple tasks out early. It will shorten your list and make the rest seem more manageable. My mind is the freshest first thing in the day, so typically any job that requires a great deal of thought gets first dibs at the top of the list. Always make sure that your priorities are in line with that of your supervisor. Arranging those cute holiday portraits or organizing your tool box may not be a must-do in the eyes of those you report to.
Delegation: Is there someone just as qualified but with less to do that is able to inherit one of your duties? Make sure that it makes sense that the tasks you have filled your day with are pertinent to your job. Unload duties that once may have been yours to another team member if appropriate. I guarantee you that Santa isn’t cleaning up reindeer poo any more.
Rid the Unnecessary: Maybe it really isn’t important. Maybe you are the only one that cares. Times change but people resist it. I have held onto daily rituals that were no longer required by anyone except me. Once able to let go, there was a whole new window of opportunity to do something worthwhile. Ensure that your actions produce value and impact the greater mission. If it doesn't matter, get it off the list! I promise, no one will know if your toe nails go unpainted, or your legs remain unshaved while sporting your snazzy elf costume to the company party.
In a world where we are all so busy, take a moment to reflect on the best uses of the minutes you have. Be productive, be proactive, and be organized.
Most of all, don’t be like Tom the Turkey. His lack of planning ended him up as the main dish for your Thanksgiving feast.
Welcome to the “Clean Plate Club”