Making easy dinners is one way to tackle your daily to-do list this time of year, but what about all those other tasks you have to do before Christmas?!
Help is on the way!
This week I'm going to share four ideas from Martha Beck that will help you pare down and improve your to-do list this holiday season...or anytime you might feel overwhelmed. I have implemented this method many times and it has always proven invaluable. In fact, I just tamed my to-do list for the next two weeks and feel great!
Try this: First make a list of all the tasks and things you think you have to do before Christmas. Second, once you see everything written out, pick out the list items that don't appeal to you at all. Finally, decide whether you will Bag it, Barter it, Better it, or Batch it.
Bag it is just like it sounds. Ask yourself if you can eliminate a task by letting it go completely. The answer typically goes something like, “Oh hell no, I can’t!” but once in a while you might decide you really can let go of a task or an event even if it feels weird or “wrong". Just because we've always done something doesn't mean we have to keep doing it. Really consider why you are doing something and if it is in line with your intentions for this Christmas season. We may not feel we have aWe We choice, but we do. Be brave. Saying "no" to one thing opens up the ability to say "YES!" to something else.
If you can't Bag it, try to Barter it. Bartering means finding a friend, colleague, or family member with whom we can trade services. If you can find someone to do a task you don't like, maybe you can trade for something more fun in return. For example, I just traded services with a friend. She tutors my son for confirmation class (he doesn't appreciate my teaching credentials!) while I help her oldest daughter practice driving (too stressful for her!). It works so well! Also, consider what you can afford to hire out. It makes life so much easier. Get creative!
If you can't Bag it or Barter it away then try to Better It. One really fun and creative way to handle crazy social events that feel obligatory this time of year, is to make them into a game. Try the Dysfunctional Family Bingo Card by Martha Beck and bring it to your next outing. (You'll find directions and a printable card here.) I also elevate my repeated grocery shopping experiences by sipping seasonal lattes as I amble the aisles. Again, think about what makes you happy and get creative!
If you can't do any of the above then Batch It. Sometimes we just have to get things done. Period. Each morning, tackle your Batch It items using this easy 3-2-1 method adapted by Susan Hyatt. The 3-2-1 method helps you take turtle steps towards getting your list done by doing something like 3 Christmas Cards, 2 gift wraps and 1 errand. You know your list, so see how that might work for you. I promise, if you "batch" your items daily, they will be done in no time.
Those are my quick tips to get caught up and pared down as we round the finish line to the Big Day. I promise you that getting your to-do list under control will free up time and energy to do the things you actually find fun and rewarding. And isn't Christmas really about our desire to connect with family, enjoy the beauty around us and relish peace on Earth (or at least some quiet time in the bathroom?)
If all else fails, make a quick tuna casserole and bring out the Dysfunctional Family Bingo.
Peace & Light
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
After looking at your to-do tasks is there any you were able to bag, barter, or better?