“Oh no! I forgot to bake cookies for Jason’s class party!” It’s the last thing you want to realize as your child is preparing for school.
The holiday season brings on lots of extra events and tasks. In addition to your everyday life of cooking, cleaning, doing your job and transporting the kids here and there, you must also purchase gifts, attend parties, host family events and more. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed rather than overjoyed. However, you can find that balance if you know how to stay organized. Use these 7 ways to stay organized and sail through the holidays without losing your cool:
Lists, lists, lists
Lists are a great way to stay organized throughout the holiday season. With so much on your plate, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks. However, if you add items to a list and reference it frequently, you’ll make sure everything is covered.
Take advantage of the Picniic lists feature to keep everything organized this season! Over the holidays, you’ll need not only a shopping list for food, but also gift lists and lists of other items including decorations, gift wrapping supplies, and to-do’s. With Picniic’s features, you can even assign tasks to other family members, helping you delegate and get everything done.
Use a Calendar
If you don’t usually use a calendar, consider using one over the holidays. Write in all of the events including family gatherings, office and school parties, gift swaps and volunteering days so that you know what to expect in the coming weeks. Then, add in other important tasks that will take up significant amounts of your time such as baking holiday treats or shopping. This will help you keep everything in perspective and avoid you remembering you have to bake cookies for a special event at the last minute.
Be meal ready
When you’re so busy, it can be hard to keep up with even mundane things like making meals. To avoid ordering take out every night and maxing out your budget, plan meals ahead of time using Picniic’s meal planner. Then, transfer ingredients to your shopping list and you’ll be ready for every meal!
Picniic even offers a recipe feature that allows you to save your favorite recipes as well as recipes you’d like to try. This way, you can keep track of recipes your family loves so that you can make them over and over again.
From “Could you be in charge of the holiday fundraiser?” to “Would you decorate for the office party?”, there are many ways you may be asked to participate and contribute over the holidays. However, there is only so much time you can devote to responsibilities that go beyond what you’re already doing. So, don’t be afraid to say “no” to requests, especially when your plate is already full.
If you struggle to say “no”, it can be helpful to practice. Say “no” into the mirror, pretending that someone is asking you help with something. You might even think of how you might phrase it, such as “I’m so flattered you thought of me, but, unfortunately I can’t take that on right now.”
Once you’ve plugged everything into your calendar, always look ahead. For example, if you have an office party a week from now, note anything you need to do before then. For example, do you need to buy a gift for a gift exchange? Or perhaps you’ll buy a new dress or sweater to wear? Plan the time to do these things now so that you’re not caught off-guard the night before, or worse, on the day of the event.
Looking ahead prevents headaches and last-minute running around. As you plan, give yourself a few minutes extra for each task due to holiday traffic and shopping. More people are out, so remember, you’ll have to be patient and everything will get done.
Plan the treats
Many families prepare special foods and baked goods for the holidays. When you’re getting organized and scheduling activities, be sure to plan time to prepare your special treats. Baking is a time-consuming task. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it, but, give yourself time to do it! That means if you prepare a special coffee cake or cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, make sure you have time the day before or a few days before to do it. You may even consider making it a week or more ahead of time and freezing it. That will give you the freedom to relax or take care of things closer to the actual holiday.
Keep things simple
When it comes to the holidays, we can get all caught up in shopping, preparing and cooking that we don’t get time to enjoy time with family and friends. Try to keep things simple by not getting overwhelmed with things like gifts. When shopping for gifts, you can keep things simple by using categories and giving your children 4 gifts each: something to wear, something they want, something they need and something to read. For other friends and family, you can opt to do generic gifts that you give along with a heartfelt note. Some easy generic gifts you might consider include: gift cards, cookie ingredients in a mason jar, a bottle of wine, and homemade cheese balls or cookies, etc. This will alleviate some of the brain-space you spend thinking of the perfect gifts and allow you to use it for family time.
With a little planning, you can stay organized, even through the madness that is the holidays. There are plenty of organizational tools that you can use to pull everything together, and Picniic is proud to be one of them! We invite you to give our app a try. With us on your team, you’re sure to manage, even through the busiest of times.
What are your favorite ways to stay organized throughout the holidays? Tell us about your tips and tricks in the comments below.