Thanksgiving may be over but the holiday parties are just beginning. Between friends getting together, the staff holiday gathering and running from store to store for the perfect gifts, it's easy to reach the end of the day feeling unaccomplished and with a missed workout hanging over your head. There is a way to change the expected outcome and it is through using one of my favorite tools, scheduling!
I know my Type B's out there may not love this idea but when it comes to a crazy time of year when obligations are piling up, it's a surefire way to keep it all together and actually enjoy the season. So how can you manage life when it seems to be going in too many directions? Here are 3 tips to successful holiday scheduling that I included in the RCM Training December newsletter.
1. Get a Calendar You Will Use
If you spend a lot of time on your phone, tablet or computer, buying a planner you have to write in most likely won't do you much good since it will require remembering to actually use it. Especially if you aren't someone who loves using a calendar, an electronic version will cost you little money and is easy to pick back up when needed. I personally love using Google Calendar because it's free, easy and color coordinated. You can decide when and how you'd like to be alerted of events and with as much time as I spend on the computer and mobile, it's an added bonus that it syncs to all of my devices. Some people remember things easier when they write them down. If that sounds like you, grab a cheap calendar or even easier, download and print a calendar template to fill out on your own.
2. Keep it Clean
It's really easy for a calendar to get so cluttered and crazy looking that instead of making you take action it makes you want to give up and lay down for a nap. Trust me, I've done it. We all mean well but sometimes it's so fun to add and color code things that we get a little carried away. Remember, there's no need to write down everything. If there's something you do everyday at the same time (i.e. "Work 8:30-5:30"), you probably don't need to actually write that on a calendar. If you're getting off early one day or going in late, that's another story. But try to keep the calendar entries to special things you may forget about such as a hair appointment, holiday party or one time engagement (pick up cookies for son's class!).
3. Remember Down Time
Try not to schedule yourself to death. I'm notorious for not double-booking myself (thanks to the calendar) but instead over-booking myself. If I have a free half hour here or 45 minutes there I have been known to fill that time in with something. If you're like me, do not do this! A schedule should help you, not hurt you. If you have so many alerts going off that you consider snapping your iPad over your knee, take a timeout and add some white space. In college I even went so far as to schedule an alert to relax. Seems silly, but it helped me feel productive and take some much needed breaks. I'm a big advocate of meditation and even if you aren't and particularly if you feel like you "don't have time" schedule in even 10 minutes a day to just breathe and be you. You'll thank yourself.