‘Tis the Season To (Really) Manage Your Time

Halloween has come and gone (*sob), and we are officially at the time where Christmas decorations start to fill up malls, drugstores, and even gas stations.

This is the season of Thanksgiving dinners, holiday shopping, holiday parties, work, family, and trying to be healthy on top of it all (yeah right!). It’s like the annual challenge to see how long you can hold out before you get really stressed and twitchy and start wishing January would just ARRIVE already.

The problem is that most of us have a hard time putting ourselves first, but I’m here to remind you to please, be selfish! It’s even more important now to set aside time to do things that make you feel grounded.

Here are my top three suggestions for organizing your time so you can gain more satisfaction in your day:

1. Decide what your non-negotiable activities and times are.

Non-negotiable activities in this case means other commitments are not allowed to crowd them out. They are things you enjoy and need to reset and re-ground yourself.

Is it a class at the gym? No computers one hour before bed? Time to smother your pet with love? Dinner with your family? Whatever they are, they should not be removed from your daily life in spite of your busy schedule. If anything, other events should work around them.

This may sound funny, but I think of what flight attendants say – put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.

The bottom line is that if you’re feeling happier, you’ll be in better spirits, which will help you handle any stresses that the season may bring.

2. Give yourself an adult “home room”.

I read this tip in an article and love the idea. After all, as kids, we had home room to pad our mornings before classes started. We got to catch up with friends, cram homework, and mentally gear up for the day. I see no reason why adults can’t benefit from this either. You can use the time to catch up with family, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or plan your day. Which leads us to…

3. Turn your to-do items into appointments.

Start with making a daily “top 3” list and fit it into your calendar. It’s so easy to have a mile-long to-do list. But if you prioritize your tasks and put them in your schedule, there’s a better chance you’ll treat them as importantly as any other commitment.

The trick is to not overload your calendar with 25 mini-items: be realistic about what you can get done. You’ll feel even more accomplished when you see all your items checked off the list.

If you’re wondering how your attempts to eat well and exercise will hold up between now and the new year, try integrating them into your list of non-negotiable activities! In the end, you have to remember and believe that you’re just as important as everyone else in your life.

Here’s to a lovely start to the holiday season!