Our Top Time Management Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season, a time that promises joy, often brings with it an overwhelming whirlwind of stress. Effectively navigating this period is the key to ensuring that you not only partake in the festivities but also safeguard your well-being from the threat of burnout. In this article, we’ve carefully curated essential time management tips aimed at making your holiday season not just joyful but also refreshingly stress-free.


When discussing time management with my clients during this season, the sentiment often arises that it’s just another daunting task on their never-ending to-do list. So, here’s a friendly suggestion to alleviate that burden: rather than attempting to juggle everything, consider focusing on one key area.


A particularly potent yet straightforward strategy, though admittedly a bit challenging to implement, is the art of saying no. Establishing boundaries, especially during the holidays, holds the potential to make a world of difference. Saying no becomes more than a word; it transforms into a powerful shield guarding your time and energy. Embracing the ability to say no is not merely about setting boundaries; it’s a declaration of self-care, a conscious decision to navigate the season with intention.


As you immerse yourself in the holiday whirlwind, ponder how embracing the magic of ‘no’ can become your greatest ally in reclaiming precious moments and preserving your energy. Before we proceed further into the blog, take a moment to look at your to-do list. Identify an event or task that doesn’t excite you, and with a simple stroke, cross it out. It’s a straightforward act, yet for many of us, it can be tricky, triggering feelings of guilt or the question, “But if not me, then who?”


If saying no still feels a little challenging, fret not—we have solutions. In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore specific strategies and techniques to ensure your holiday season is not just merry but also exceptionally well-managed. Let’s make this season one to remember for all the right reasons!

Tip 1: Prioritization is Key

During the holiday season, there are often numerous tasks and events vying for your time and attention. To manage your time effectively, prioritize your activities. Identify the most important and meaningful ones, and focus on those.


Now, let’s revisit my initial strategy. Imagine if you could give yourself permission to say yes only to the things that would bring you and your family joy, connection, and align with your values this year. What if that third holiday Christmas party that you really didn’t want to go to didn’t have to happen?


We’re often conditioned to say yes during this time of year, whether due to family expectations, ongoing traditions, or cultural norms. When it comes to prioritizing, consider an intention decision tree.

Decision Tree for Your Holiday Season Intention

What’s Your Intention? ie:

  • More time with kids
  • More rest
  • Making more genuine friends
  • Decreasing stress
  • Finding moments of joy

Evaluate the Event/Activity/Errand:

Once you are clear on your holiday intentions it can be easier to see what events and decisions will align with your wishes and desires for this time of year.


Final Decision:

If the event/activity/errand aligns with your intention and brings you closer to it, say yes!

If it doesn’t align or contributes negatively to your intention, confidently say no.

Remember, the key is to prioritize activities that align with your intention for a meaningful and fulfilling holiday season. Your time and energy are precious, so invest them where they matter most to you.

This simple formula becomes powerful once we connect with and familiarize ourselves with what we truly desire this holiday season. It’s an empowering way to shape your festive experience.


 (*Note to the caregivers) It’s ok to put  yourself first sometimes, especially this time of year.

“If you choose to put someone else’s needs infront of your own, you’re choosing resentment”  – Brene Brown

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

Planning is the unsung hero of effective time management, especially during the holiday season. Crafting a well-thought-out holiday schedule that outlines your tasks and events can make all the difference. Include everything from shopping and decorating to meal preparations and any other commitments. This proactive approach empowers you to allocate your time wisely, minimizing the risk of last-minute stress.


Now, let me share a recent revelation about planning ahead. Picture this: Your calendar looks full but manageable, say it’s at 90% capacity. The wise move here is to adjust it to a comfortable 70% full, max. Why, you ask? Because life has a way of surprising us. It could be a sick child needing your attention or a last-minute opportunity that excites you. When our calendars start off bursting at the seams, there’s no room left for life’s little mishaps or, better yet, life’s little miracles.


So, instead of filling your calendar up, fill it out. Are there some coffee dates that can be postponed a week? Are there some activities you can rejoin next month? Of course, some activities this time of year are once-off and require your attendance, but anything that can be spread out should be. Strive for a calendar comfortably at 70% full, leaving wriggle room for rest and unexpected adventures.


Remember, planning ahead isn’t just about scheduling tasks; it’s also about planning for rest. If we don’t intentionally carve out time for rest, it tends to slip through the cracks. Let’s face it; the holiday season can be a whirlwind, and without intentional planning, moments of rest may become casualties of our bustling schedules.


So, as you plan your holiday activities, don’t forget to include periods of rest and relaxation. Consider them essential appointments with yourself. This isn’t just a practical strategy; it’s an act of self-care that ensures you have the energy to truly enjoy the festivities. After all, a well-rested you is the best gift you can give to yourself and those around you during this joyful season.

Tip 3: Leverage Tech Tools to Save Time

Task Management Apps:

Examples: Todoist, Microsoft To-Do, Trello.


How to Use: Create task lists, set priorities, and track your progress. Share collaborative lists with family or friends for group planning.

Why They Work: These apps provide a centralized platform for managing tasks. Collaborative features ensure everyone stays aligned on what needs to be done.


Reminder Apps:

Examples: Apple Reminders, Google Keep, Any.do.

How to Use: Set reminders for specific tasks, appointments, or deadlines. Utilize voice commands for hands-free scheduling.

Why They Work: Reminders keep you on track by sending timely notifications. They’re perfect for those who tend to forget amidst the holiday chaos.


Meal Planning Apps:

Examples: Mealime, Paprika, Yummly.

How to Use: Plan and organize your holiday meals, create shopping lists, and even discover new recipes.

Why They Work: These apps simplify meal planning, ensuring you have all the ingredients you need and reducing last-minute grocery store runs.


Online Shopping Platforms:

Examples: Amazon, Etsy, Instacart.


How to Use: Explore online shopping for gifts, decorations, and groceries. Take advantage of delivery services to save time.

Why They Work: Online platforms offer convenience and time savings, eliminating the need to navigate crowded stores during the hectic holiday rush.

Digital Gifting Services:

Examples: Gift cards, digital subscriptions, e-books.

How to Use: Consider digital gifts that can be instantly delivered, avoiding shipping hassles.

Why They Work: Digital gifting is not only efficient but also allows recipients the flexibility to choose what they want.


As someone who initially found tech setups annoying, I can attest to their transformative power once established. These tech tools may take a bit of initial effort to set up, but they can significantly simplify your holiday planning and provide a smooth experience once integrated into your routine. Embrace the tech-savvy side of the holidays, and watch as it becomes your time-saving ally.

Tip 4: Consider Delegation and Outsourcing

Picture your holiday tasks as a buffet spread. Your plate, though seemingly large, has its limits. Just like at a feast, you don’t have to pile everything onto your plate; you can choose what brings you joy and savor each bite.


Consider this analogy as you navigate the holiday season. Here’s how delegation and outsourcing can be the keys to enjoying a well-balanced holiday feast:


1)Identify Your Culinary Preferences:

  • Write down the 5 things that take up the most mental or emotional energy: Gift wrapping, cleaning the house, cooking all the meals, etc.
  • Combine with Your Holiday Intention: Reference your intention decision tree (see above) to align tasks with your desired holiday experience.


2)Plate Balancing Act:

  • Work out if the cost of delegating is worth the cost of your mental energy:Imagine each task as a culinary delight. Is it worth having on your plate, or could someone else savor it just as much?
  • Delegate Strategically: Consider outsourcing tasks that, when offloaded, provide more room on your plate for the holiday joys that matter most to you.


3)Beware of Plate Pinching:

  • Manage Your Own Plate: Just like at a feast, be wary of unintentionally taking on too much without asking, leaving you wondering why it’s suddenly overflowing. Be wary too of accidentally taking from someone else plate when they were perfectly capable of handling their own meal (caretakers i’m talking to you!)
  • No Plate Pinching Allowed: It’s perfectly okay to say no and protect your plate. But remember, it’s also okay to ask for help. You might be surprised at who genuinely wants to contribute.


4)The Joy of Shared Plates:

  • Delegating is a Shared Feast: Just as it is profoundly helpful to say no during this time of year, it’s equally empowering to ask for help. Delegate tasks, and you may find others eager to contribute and share the holiday workload.
  • Discover Who WANTS to Help: You might be pleasantly surprised by the willingness of friends and family to participate in creating a joyous holiday atmosphere.


In essence, your holiday plate is a canvas for joy and fulfillment. By strategically delegating and outsourcing, you ensure that your plate is filled with the flavors of the season that matter most to you. No plate pinching allowed—just a delightful shared feast where everyone contributes to creating a memorable holiday experience.

Tip 5: Combine Activities for Maximum Efficiency

Efficiency is the holiday superhero that ensures you make the most of your time, leaving room for joy and relaxation. To elevate your holiday efficiency, consider these valuable additions:

  1. Buddy System for Errands:
  • How to Implement: Plan a holiday shopping trip with a friend or family member. Not only does this make the task more enjoyable, but it also offers an opportunity to catch up.
  • Added Value: Sharing errands creates a sense of camaraderie and turns mundane tasks into social gatherings, adding an extra layer of joy to the holiday hustle.

     2.  Multitasking with Purpose:

  • How to Implement: Identify activities that can be done simultaneously. For example, listening to festive music while wrapping gifts or practicing mindfulness while decorating.
  • Added Value: Multitasking with purpose infuses a sense of mindfulness into routine tasks, transforming them into moments of joy and connection.

     3. Meal Prep Gatherings:

  • How to Implement: Turn meal preparations into a social event by inviting friends or family to join. Everyone can contribute to the cooking, making it a shared experience.
  • Added Value: Meal prep gatherings not only save time but also create lasting memories, turning the chore of cooking into a festive group activity.

    4. Exercise and Connection:

  • How to Implement: Combine exercise with socializing by organizing holiday-themed fitness activities with friends or family. It could be a festive jog, a yoga session, or even a dance party.
  • Added Value: Integrating physical activity with social connection promotes well-being and adds a healthy dose of joy to your holiday routine.

    5. Mindful Decorations:

  • How to Implement: Turn decorating into a mindfulness practice. Engage in intentional breathing or reflection as you adorn your space with festive elements.
  • Added Value: Infusing mindfulness into decorating creates a tranquil atmosphere and makes the process a mindful celebration rather than a hurried task.

By incorporating these strategies into your holiday routine, you not only enhance efficiency but also infuse each activity with a touch of joy and connection. Efficiency becomes a means to create meaningful moments, making the holiday season a delightful experience rather than a series of tasks to be completed.

Tip 6: Manage Expectations with Mindfulness

The pressure to craft a flawless holiday experience can become overwhelming at times. It’s crucial to manage not only your expectations but also those of others. Remember, it’s okay if everything doesn’t unfold exactly as planned. The paramount goal is to savor the season and cherish the time spent with loved ones.


This brings us back to the Decision Tree for Your Holiday Season Intention. When we take a mindful moment to contemplate what truly matters to us, it becomes evident which aspects are worth our energy and which might only contribute to the existing stress of the season.


This is why mindfulness is so important. When we take a moment to sit with ourselves, our desires, and perhaps our habitual patterns, we can break a pattern that no longer serves us and lean into a pattern that fulfills us with joy and aliveness. Mindfulness becomes our compass, guiding us to make choices aligned with our genuine desires and creating a holiday experience that resonates with joy and authenticity.


The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but it can be incredibly busy. Effective time management is the key to maintaining your sanity and enjoying the festivities. By prioritizing your activities, planning ahead, using tech tools, delegating when possible, combining activities, and managing expectations, you can make the most of the holiday season and create cherished memories with friends and family. So, embrace these time management tips and savor every moment of the holiday season.

"If you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your family."
- Ram Dass

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