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Freaking out about how much you have to do before Christmas?

by respaced on December 16, 2013

One of the most stressful things about the holidays is getting everything DONE! There are so many tasks to be done, errands to run, things to remember — how does a mere mortal manage to get it all done, especially when Christmas is less than 10 days away?

Here is the secret to Getting Crap Done In Time for Christmas (borrowed in part from “Getting Things Done” by David Allen):

1. Sit down with a pad of paper and your calendar (digital or paper).

2. On your pad of paper, write down all of the tasks you need to do before Christmas (eg. bake cookies, wrap presents, visit Great-Aunt, go to the office holiday party, etc). Don’t put them into any kind of order, just do a brain dump on to a page.

3. Now, for every task ask yourself the 4 D’s: Do I do it, delegate it, defer it or ditch it? For example, maybe you personally have to go to the office holiday party, but maybe you can delegate to your spouse the wrapping of some (or all!) of the presents. Maybe you defer going to visit your great-aunt until the weekend after Christmas, and you ditch making Christmas cookies in favor of buying store-bought ones instead.

4. Write all of the Do tasks on one page, all of the Delegate tasks on another page and all of the Defer tasks on a third page. Cross out all of the Ditch tasks.

5. For the Do tasks, open up your calendar and schedule 2 or 3 of those to get done per day. Try to group similar tasks together, such as going to the post office and going to the bakery.

6. For the Delegate tasks, talk to your spouse, kids, etc. to schedule a time when they can do those tasks.

7. For the Defer tasks, schedule those in your calendar for after Christmas (remember! No more than 2-3 tasks/day!)

8. WORK your plan, baby! No plan works itself, so it’s up to you to work that plan! Still can’t bring yourself to do those tasks? Then you need to reduce the number of tasks you do each day, delegate or defer more of those tasks, or simply ditch them.

Let me know how it goes. And remember, you don’t have to be the fanciest, most creative, most generous Christmas diva on the block. Aim for Good Enough so you can enjoy the season too.

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