December is here! No matter how you're spending this holiday season, you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed with the anticipation of everything that has to get done. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and more! Throughout my life, I've often been asked how I stay organized and how I can accomplish as much as I do. I know that part of it is my natural tendency to stay organized or maybe it's from the years of planning seven lesson plans per day or multiple Sundays of worship sets at a time. However, I think I've developed a few basic tips that can help anyone keep their sanity this holiday season and throughout the year too!
Step 1: Make a List
One of my personal rules is that if I write something down, my brain is not obligated to remember it. This is why I always have my phone or bullet journal with me. If I run out of something or need to get something done, it goes on a list. Then, I can refer to the list instead of struggling to remember if I am doing everything I should in a timely manner. And, it's also gratifying to cross things off as they are completed!
So, go ahead! Grab a notebook, find an app on your phone and start writing things down! You can have one giant list or lists for different categories. Either way, give yourself a little freedom and give your brain a break.
Step 2: Make a Daily Reachable List
The next step is to take your long list or lists and make a daily reachable list. I know you have to get a lot done, but don't try to get everything done in one day! If you try and fail, you'll end up disappointed and focusing on what you didn't complete rather than what you did. I've been trying to improve this step in my own life. Instead of making a ridiculously long list for the day, I just pick out a handful of things depending on how much time I have. If I finish the list, great! I can always do more and get ahead, but it's not as big of a deal if things take longer than expected.
Try this, today or tomorrow. Look at your long list, pick out some things, complete them, and check them off. And, don't forget to congratulate yourself for your accomplishments!
Step 3: Do One Thing at a Time
I know it's tempting to start your entire list at once or bounce around from task to task, but sometimes, this ends up with everything being started and nothing being finished. Sometimes, there are exceptions, like laundry or if you simply need a break from doing the same thing, but do your best to focus on one thing at a time. Right now, this one is difficult for me because I'm in the middle of unpacking. Our house feels like a giant Tetris puzzle and some things have to wait for other things to get done, unpacked, sorted, etc.
Another tip for this step is to clean one room at a time. Instead of having "clean house" on your list, write "clean living room" or "clean upstairs" so that you focus on one room or area at a time. Chances are, you may not have enough time or energy to clean your entire house, but if you clean one room, then you can decide if you need a cleaning break or can handle another.
Step 4: Finish What You Start
I touched on this in the previous step, but I strongly encourage you to finish what you start. Obviously, finishing something allows you to cross it off your list, but it also allows you to cross it off in your mind. I know there are limited hours in a day, so don't stress yourself out and deprive yourself of sleep by thinking of everything you have to do the next day. And, if you didn't finish something, remind yourself that you wrote it down and you will finish it!
I hope these steps help you this holiday season! Feel free to share in the comments if you have any other helpful tips on staying organized.