It goes without saying that this Christmas will be different. Unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you how it will be by December 25th, but whatever the circumstances, it is likely that we will all have to put our time management skills to use if we are to get everything done once lockdown is lifted – and even beforehand.
Even the most organised of us (probably it will affect them the most) will have to re-evaluate things on a weekly or even daily basis to ensure that there is a realistic plan in place.
In amongst the planning for Christmas, you will also need to complete certain work items before the New Year as well as fit in your festive treats – in whatever form they may be. Time management will be key!
Basically, I take the stress out of finances – both business and personal. From running my own business and helping others to run theirs, I know it’s important for individuals and businesses to have excellent time management.
The shops had just started to create beautiful displays of Christmas gifts, food and drink, and twinkling lights when the news came that all non-essential shops were to close.
Lockdown has meant that the number of shopping days, as well as the number of days to hopefully meet loved ones and to take part in festive events, are much fewer – making effective time management even more crucial.
At the best of times it can also be a stressful time trying to fit everything in. We all tend to overestimate how much time there is in the run up to Christmas.
However, I’m here to tell you that you can use your time wisely and do what is in your power to achieve. I am so passionate about time management that I dedicated a whole chapter to it in Your Business Your Numbers.
So how do you get all your work done in amongst all this uncertainty, as well as make sure you have time for catching up with friends and family when the opportunity arises? (Even though this year they may be virtual meet ups!)
Time Management Before Christmas
Start by looking at:
- What work needs to be completed before Christmas?
- Who do you need to see (even virtually)?
- Where/How will you see people?
- Do your children have activities you need to fit in?
- Can you make use of lockdown to complete some tasks earlier that you would in normal years?
Completion Of Work
Make a list and divide it between:
- What has to be done before you finish work for the Christmas period and what are the deadlines?
- What would you like to get finished before Christmas for your own peace of mind?
- Prioritise the items that you are going to leave until January 2021.
Fitting People In
- Who do you want to see before Christmas to give them their presents? Will this be a brief drop off or a meet up if possible? Will you have to factor in posting some this year?
- Who do you want to see during Christmas? How will you plan this? What could you do differently this year to celebrate? How about a virtual party?
- Can you arrange to meet in the New Year instead? This will take the pressure off before Christmas and the restrictions may have lessened by then.
Where Will You See People?
- Are you going to visit them at their home? If so, where do they live and can you see more than one person in one trip if they live a distance away? Do they have a sheltered area in their garden to meet?
- Keep a check on the weather as it gets closer to the time so that you can decide whether it will be ok to travel. Also, if you need to meet outdoors, will that work?
- Will it have to be a virtual meet-up? In which case, one of the positives in terms of time management is that it does free up your travel time.
Do The Children Have Christmas Birthdays?
Do any children’s birthdays fall in the period before or during Christmas? If so, when are they and how many gifts do you need to buy?
Are There Christmas Activities To Attend?
Many Christmas activities are free, and they are an excellent way to get into the spirit of the season. Do you know of any local outdoor activities that have been planned? It may be that they have to wait until last minute to confirm that the events are going ahead, but keep some time aside just in case. In our neighbourhood, there is going to be a Christmas fayre with stalls in the residential streets. I’m looking forward to having a minced pie and some mulled wine!
Christmas is often said to be the most wonderful time of year. But it can also feel a bit overwhelming, especially with all the uncertainty this year, so by thinking about how you can best manage your time and lessen the pressure, you may be able to enjoy it more.
Using time management will help you feel less stressed. Concentrate on what you can control and good luck with your Christmas planning!
Next week, I will give you tips on hitting the self-assessment deadline.