Staying organized (and sane) over the holidays can feel like a huge hurdle, but it doesn't have to be! These top five tips help decrease stress and increase dopamine levels in the brain (that "feel good" chemical), which bring a little extra happiness and cheer to this busy time of year.
#1. Write everything down. Keeping lists is good organizational practice all year round, but if you are not a natural born list-maker, consider making it a habit over the holiday season. Crossing finished items off of your list feels so good, and you will lower stress and save time by getting tasks out of your brain and on to paper (as David Allen says: "your brain is for having ideas, not holding them"). It doesn't have to look pretty, it just needs to be written down!
#2. Batch tasks. Once you start writing lists of to-do items, you will see patterns emerging. "Batching" activities into one longer task is a good way to save drive time and personal energy. This can only be done properly if you start with tip #1 and write everything down. For example, notice tasks that are in a similar location and put them into your calendar in the same time slot.
#3. Don't say yes, say "maybe". You don't have to be a Debbie Downer and say no to everything. Just make it a policy to say "I'll get back to you!" to everything. This gives you time to think about whether you really have the energy and ability to attend your friend's Pampered Chef holiday party. You can always say yes later.
#4. Give to yourself. Making time for yourself is critical for sanity, especially at this hurried time of year. For many, the words 'self-care' means a paid activity like a massage or a manicure, and is therefore out of budget. But self-care is really just about taking care of yourself. Taking the time to exercise, go for a walk or read your book quietly are some good examples. If you are struggling to find the time for this, refer to tip #3 above. No excuses!
#5. Delegate. We've said it before, but it's really quite shocking how often we all need to hear this. Ask for help. Your friends and family are not there to be impressed by your independence and self-sufficiency; they are there to love you and be loved by you. Asking for help shows our humanity: the very essence of the holiday season.