When you’re a mom with a business, life can turn into chaos in a hurry.
I have two businesses and 4 kids. Man, can I relate. (And let’s be honest, when it’s not the kids, it’s the dogs causing the chaos!)
But, over the last few years, I’ve discovered some simple holiday hacks that can really save your bacon, so you can actually enjoy the end of the year.
Don’t underestimate the power of a lowly little list.
Lists will save your life - IF you use them, and don’t lose them (read as: don’t write them on the back of a receipt that you’ll end up tossing when you clean out your purse).
Luckily, there are a ton of ways to make lists in your phone. Personally, I prefer to use a paper planner, and keep my separate lists in movable sticky notes. (out of sight out of mind hits me hard when I try to live completely digital!) Either way is fine, as long as you make them.
But what lists should you even make? Short answer - one for everything. My life gets busy enough that I forget things within 10 minutes sometimes when they’re not written down. Especially when every 5 minutes one of the kids interrupts me. (I’m sure you don’t have that issue, and can remember everything much better than I can.)
The holiday-specific lists I keep during this time of year are: gifts - who are we buying for, and what we’ve already bought (and the dreaded budget); events - what do we want to do, and what would be fun if we have time and what have we committed to already; decorations - what are we missing for our events, what’s the theme of our Christmas tree, and what would be cool to get when it goes on clearance after Christmas; desserts - which events do we need to bake for, and what do we want to make for the annual cookie plates; Holiday dinner menus; and grocery lists.
Listing saves your life because you won’t forget anything when you finally get to the store - unless you left your list at home...ahem...not that I’ve ever asked my husband to snap a pic of it and text it to me from the fridge door…
I schedule EVERYTHING.
It might feel a bit restrictive, but in this season, it’s especially important to write everything into your calendar. Events, shopping trips, baking, meal prep, school parties, decoration making, buying and decorating the Christmas tree. Yes, everything. This practice will give you a true overview of what you have going on any particular day, and you know if you’re making too many commitments in any week. Especially when you finally hear that the kids have a holiday performance or caroling with the scout group they need to be at. It’s much easier to coordinate and find rides for them if you know ahead of time where you’ll be.
While we’re talking about planning in your calendar, pad your scheduled times. It’s winter weather, and driving will potentially take you longer than you think. More people are out and about, so checkout lines are slower. (Why don’t some of the major stores open more lanes up anyway?) If you have kids along, you know someone will have to stop for a snack or a potty break. If you over budget your allotments of time, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in a crunch.
We’re bombarded with media, advertisements, music, notifications, emails, phone calls, texts, reminders, and alerts all day, every day.
f you want to minimize your chaos this holiday season, take a few days and actually unplug. Spend time with your family or loved ones, and replenish yourself for the new year ahead. Self-care is last on the average mom’s list of to-dos, so plan for it - by adding it to your calendar.
Listing, Calendaring, and Unplugging are the real secrets to keeping a hold on everything when you feel like it’s whirling out of control. But most of all, keep in mind that if you forget something, chances are, it won’t be the end of the world.
Jessica Hansen is an Efficiency Expert and Productivity Professional, turning chaos into order, overcoming obstacles, and creating resilience in life and business. She is also the MOB Columbia County chapter leader.
Learn more about Jessica at www.thejessicahansen.com and her non-profit community space The Jubilee Collective.