5 Tips to Prepare Your Holiday Survival Plan

The holidays start next week. Are you ready?

Many of us feel like we have too much to do during the holidays. Creating your holiday survival plan is easy with these 5 tips. Even if you need to change along the way, knowing you've got a plan can keep you on track when things get crazy.

1. Start with your values to determine your holiday plans

Spend a few minutes coming up with a few words or draw a picture that represents your values (especially what you value during the holidays). Consider involving others in the family to help. Use your values as a guide to determining your holiday activities. Some of my values include relaxed time with family and keeping family traditions going from when I was a kid (like going to cut down a tree).

2. Make your to do lists

Make a list of all the events or projects you want - or feel you need - to get done this holiday season. Consider making separate lists for each holiday. Start by listing each project/event and then list all the activities you need to do for each one. Don’t forget to include what you’ll need to do for preparation, the actual event/project and clean-up. For example, the activity “Thanksgiving Dinner” could include activities like sending out invitations, choosing recipes, buying food, preparing food, decorating, cleaning up and putting away dishes and decorations.

3. Assign your time

After creating your list, take each activity on the list and assign the amount of time you think it will consume. Be realistic when assigning time to each activity and add some buffer time. If you’re not sure, give it your best guess – it doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is realizing that everything takes time to complete. Interesting to note, Consumer Reports finds the average person spends 10 hours shopping and 3 hour wrapping gifts during the holidays.

4. Revisit your values

After you have your list of activities and the amount of time each one should take, revisit your key values to make sure your activities are aligned to them. Consider filtering out activities that don’t match up with your key values, or adding activities focused on downtime, relaxation and fun.

5. Create your calendar and revisit it regularly

Schedule your list of activities on your calendar. Scheduling your activities on your calendar ensures you are creating space to get them done. As we all know, things will change and you might need to add, remove or change activities. By allowing for some buffer, you’ll have space to be flexible as things change.

Bonus Tip: Delegate

Consider which activities you can delegate. Have a teenager in your life (son, daughter, niece, nephew or neighbor) that loves to wrap? Let him or her take on some of the present wrapping. It gives others a chance to contribute and feel involved with the festivities and play to their strengths. It also allows us to share some gratitude with those that make these holidays worth enjoying.