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9 Tips for Staying on Time this Holiday Season

Staying on time tips

The holidays are a joyful time with so much to do. Most people are bustling between wrapping up end-of-year work tasks, wrapping presents, and planning their holiday party schedule. Whether you’re attending endless celebrations or hosting the big family get-together this year, staying on time is a must – and a unique challenge.

Most of us experience time a little differently over the holiday season. The time for chores and preparation just fly by while those cozy evenings with your loved ones seem to stretch on forever. If you want to get everything done before the winter break deadlines and holiday events, you’ll need to plan ahead. Fortunately, we have some tips and tools to help you stay on time this holiday season.

Create Your Holiday Task List

Start with a list of everything you need to do this season. This will become your master checklist and you’ll feel good crossing items off the list as you go along.

Sort your list first by category. For example, some tasks will be work tasks to finish before the holiday break. Others will be party planning, holiday shopping, or preparing for family visits. Then be sure to mark the deadline for each task, as the holidays are a cascading schedule of last-minute to-do’s.

Build a Schedule

From your task list, you can build a schedule to help you ensure everything gets done on time. Work tasks often come first, but you can usually slip in some timely holiday shopping and event prep at home even before your holiday break begins. You can use your schedule to make sure you’re ready for every holiday party, that all the gifts are bought and wrapped on time, and your home is ready for visitors before they arrive – or you’re all packed and ready for travel if you are doing the visiting.

Set Your Top Priorities

Priorities can help you make sure the most important things are done first or are given the most time for completion. The right priorities will guide your task list completion, so you don’t accidentally finish all the little unimportant tasks while leaving the big important items undone. This is a common outcome of chaotic holiday activities because it’s so tough to focus when you’re busy whistling carols and looking forward to your family celebrations.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

Of course, you don’t have to do all this planning and tracking with a pen and paper. Use technology! There are some useful time tracking, scheduling, and reminder apps that can help you stick to your schedule once you put it together. Time Tracker by eBillity can even help you track how long each task takes you and send reminders so that you don’t forget things like after-work shopping trips or that all-important downtime to unwind between parties.

Delegate Responsibilities at Work and at Home

Many hands make light work. Why stretch yourself thin trying to get everything done when others can help you? Both at work and at home, you can delegate some of your tasks to people who have the time and ability to help.

Ask your team members to help you tie up loose ends with end-of-year tasks at work. Get your kids and relatives involved in decorating the home and getting ready for family holiday time. When done with good cheer, everyone will enjoy the teamwork experience and being part of holiday activities.

Plan Buffer Time

Give yourself some margins, as well. Buffer time allows you to fall behind or deal with unexpected delays here and there without throwing off your entire schedule. It is always important to plan for buffer time, especially around the holidays when you should be finding time to relax and enjoy yourself.

Be sure to create extra space in your schedule to relax, enjoy good company, and to rest between hustling to get everything done. This will also give you time in case of delays and setbacks, so you don’t have to stress.

Avoid Overcommitting

Speaking of stress, take care not to over commit yourself to your holiday planning. Keeping a schedule and task list is not just useful for staying organized and on time. It can also tell you when your resources are tapped, and you can’t commit to any more responsibilities. It’s okay, even during the holiday season, to say “no”.

Let some people know that you can’t attend every party or plan every event on your own. Being open and honest about the fact that you’re overbooked is one of the best ways to explain. People who care about you and don’t want you to get overstressed will understand. Those just looking to spend time with you may even change their plans to share a quiet dinner instead of planning something big.

Shop Strategically

Instead of going all-out with your shopping, shop strategically. Use a combination of in-person and online shopping. Plan your shopping days to avoid the crowds and catch the best deals. You can also keep a checklist of presents and people you are shopping for so that you can also know when your shopping is complete.

Make Time for Self-Care

Last but never least, be sure to take time for self-care. Set aside time just to unwind at the end of each day or after the completion of each big project. Eat healthy between holiday treats and get plenty of rest so that you can wake up energized to face the day each morning. If you start to feel over-stressed, take an afternoon off just to sip cocoa and enjoy pleasant company.

Stay Organized and On Time This Holiday Season with Time Tracker

One of the best ways to keep yourself on track for the holidays and still remember time for yourself is to track your time. The many features you’ll find in Time Tracker can help you build your holiday schedule and keep your priorities in line. Try it today for free for 14-days and enjoy a stress-free holiday season.