For many, managing time can be difficult in itself.  When you add to that the rush and the chaos of the holiday season and you can have a seemingly impossible situation on your hands.  We’re approaching the time of year when we all have so much to do with so many things added to our already busy schedule.  As always, planning is a key element so when planning for the holiday season it’s important to remember to manage your time just as you do during the “off season”.  Without it, the rush and the chaos take over and you have a stressful season instead of an enjoyable one.

If you use a to-do list, continue to make and use your list.  If you don’t, now might be a good time to begin using one.  Include all of your holiday “to-dos” on your regular list.  It’s important to distinguish between the things that you have to do and those that you want to do.  There’s a difference.  There may be some things that you are able to delegate, just like you can from the business related tasks you have.  Doing so will free you up to tackle other things.  You might want to consider making your holiday decorating or baking a group activity by inviting friends and family over to help.  Your business life doesn’t stop during the holiday season, so planning what you’re going to do and getting started early gives you more time to get things like your holiday shopping and decorating done without getting caught up in the hustle and bustle that most people experience during the holiday season.

Included in the extra things to do with this festive season, are numerous parties, holiday baking, and sending holiday greetings just to name a few.  These are all among the items on the list of things that we want to do.  Before you commit to all of the parties that you usually attend and baking all of those cookies and pies, look at the list of things that you have to do and decide which festivities you will attend and just how much baking you will do if any.

Before you send out holiday greetings, ask yourself if you really need to send to everyone on the list.  Update your list every year to keep it lean.  If you decide that you do need to send to a large number of people, you might want to consider having your holiday cards printed so you just have to sign and label them.  Whether you’re going to print or do them by hand, look at your list early enough to make changes and if you’re going to print cards to send, choose your cards and get your order in early so that you have plenty of time to sign, address and send.

Whatever you choose to do this holiday season, choose wisely and be conscious about overloading your calendar.  Make your plans and be sure to allow enough time for the things that you’re choosing to do.  If there are things that you enjoy doing, then by all means, add them to your to-do list or calendar.  If not, give yourself some additional time to do those things you really enjoy by cutting out the things that you don’t enjoy so much.

As you’re adding things to your list and your calendar, remember to add blocks of time where you are relaxing just as you would do “off season”.  You have to give yourself some down time during this fast-paced season.  Once the holidays are over, take some time to plan for next year by purchasing gift wrap and decorations at those great discounts, and updating that holiday card list so that you’re ready for next year.

One additional thing to remember…planning ahead and getting an early start never hurt anybody.  You don’t have to wait until everyone else is buzzing about preparing for the holidays to get started.  Plan your work, and work your plan.