28: Five things you can do when life gets busy

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

photo credit: @jessbaileydesigns via Unsplash

Well, the countdown is on, friends. Four weeks until Christmas. We have officially entered the most wonderful time of the year busy season. While I love the holiday season, I always feel a little bit of overwhelm at the beginning of it. There just seems to be so much to do! But it’s all a matter of getting organized and then (hopefully) enjoying the heck out of it, because honestly, a lot of things on my to-do list are a whole lot of fun, too. It’s just all about fitting it all in, am I right? (Can I wish for 48-hour days for Christmas?)

Write a list.

Duh! That might be a no-brainer (where are my fellow list makers? Although, I learned that some people work better without a list (HI MEIKE! You do you!). Everything seems half as scary when it’s written down and planned for, amirite?

Do one small things right now.

As I mentioned, I finally started writing my holiday to-do list last weekend and I also crossed off a few “low-hanging fruits” already. Nothing like tackling the list right away. As you know, sometimes the small things – that literally take 5 minutes to do – are the things we procrastinate on the most. It feels silly adding these small things to the to-do list, but the satisfaction of crossing things off gives me a major feeling of accomplishment, and the momentum to tackle the rest of it.


I know, I know, if you’re a little bit of an Type A person like me, it’s hard for you to relinquish control over your to-do list, but there are things that you can delegate. I promise. If you look closely, there are things on your list that you can easily delegate or outsource, and in the process take one more thing of your own plate.

Stick with your routine.

The first thing that goes out the window when life gets busy is our routine. We think that all of a sudden, we don’t have time to do what we usually do and scramble to fit new tasks and obligations into our busy schedules. I get it. And the holiday season is the perfect example.

But honestly, I personally am more efficient and organized (and calm, to be honest!) when I stick to my usual routine – even if there seems to be so much extra stuff to do. Sure, I might need to adjust it here and there, as needed, but I really try to keep the framework up. It makes the busy time run more smoothly, plus it isn’t so hard to get back to old habits when the busyness subsides.

Take a deep breath.

Do not forget to take a deep breath every once in a while and enjoy this special season. This time of the year is supposed to be enjoyed, not rushed through. Even if the holidays are not your favorite thing (for whatever reason, and I know there can be many!), take this time to take care of yourself and reflect. That is a good thing any time of the year!

How do you manage the busy season? Also, for my NaBloPoMo warriors: blogging every day is off the to-do list in a couple of days. You can do it!

  1. I love this time of year! It can be a source of stress as there is a lot to do to prep for the holiday. But I think an important step is to question what you put on your list. Do you want to do it? Is it important to you? What if you don’t do X? There are things you have to do because the backlash might not be worth it otherwise, but there are things that are probably optional! Like we really have cut back on gifts. We buy way fewer than the average family, I think. But we are not gift people so it’s not something that matters a lot to me.

    But aside from that, list making and spacing it out is key. I mailed our cards last Tuesday. Most of our gift buying is done. But I wanted to get ahead since we’ll be gone for a week in mid-December!

    1. Yes, I absolutely agree, Lisa…. it’s crucial to decide what gets a spot on the to-do list in the first place. I think the stress is often self-induced because we don’t set boundaries around what is and what isn’t worth our time, esp. in a situation that comes with lots of outside expectations.

  2. I agree with Lisa, and with you, that prioritizing and simplifying is key. Do I want to do this? Does it make me happy or cause me stress? If it causes me stress and does not make me happy, do I have to do it anyway? (Sometimes things fall into this category, right?) If so, is there a way to make it better?

    I love this time of year. I’m a planner. I love a list, and checking it off. I love figuring out gifts to send to my family far away, and gifts for my family here. I love that so many people make time to get together. However, I will tell you that I have a late December birthday, the week after Christmas. Usually by the time my birthday comes around, I am DONE with it all. I don’t want any fuss or a party or anything. I think that makes my husband and daughter a little sad. We’ll see what happens this year…last year we actually had a small party and it was really fun – just one other couple (the wife also has a late Dec birthday), dinner and games and lots of laughter.

    1. Yes, prioritizing and simplifying. I love that. That also goes for how you want to celebrate your birthday. I can imagine that after the holiday season -as much fun as it is – you’re done with planing one more event, even if it is your birthday!

  3. I’m definitely a list maker. I think it’s helpful to see that things probably won’t take as long as I think they will. For instance, I had to do this checklist for off-boarding at my job and I honestly thought it would take forever, but once I started going through the list, it wasn’t all that bad. But if it weren’t all in one list, I would have just procrastinated and never gotten anything done. LOL.

    1. Yes, I think we overestimate sometimes how long something is going to take… and fret about it, instead of just, you know, DOING it.

  4. I live for lists. Honestly. They keep me going in the right direction in virtually every area of life. That said, I am a minimalist, so I’m always trying to pare down my lists so they only contain things I NEED or WANT to do (not things I “could” do).
    This year, I’m trying to categorize everything into three spaces:
    1) Things I want to do for me
    2) Things I want to do for people I love
    3) Things I don’t want to do

    The main goal of life right now? Don’t let anything that belongs in #3, edge it’s way up into #s 1&2.

    1. This organization is perfect. It’s really important to not creep #3 take over #1 and #2.

  5. Yes, I love this time of year, but it can be stressful. Keeping to a routine is VERY IMPORTANT! Especially now- I like to keep to my regular routine as much as possible, so if I do need to take a day or two off around Christmas, it’s not a big deal.
    I definitely need to get a list going! Thanksgiving is over so it’s officially time to start te Christmas prep.

    1. Routine really helps me, too. It can seem like you’re just adding “more” onto your plate, but it also helps to keep things “manageable” (since you’re fitting it around your regular routine).

  6. When I get overwhelmed making lists really helps. I also like picking off the low hanging fruit.

    What am I going to do with all my free time after Wednesday?????

    1. Have you figured out what you’re going to do with all that free time, Birchie? Watch more TV again? ;)

  7. This is a great list! I think routines are super under valued during busy times. I love a list too, but often find that without your other strategies a list is just a list.

    1. I agree, I think routines are undervalued, even though most people rely on them so heavenly – it’s almost paradoxical.

  8. Good points San. Of course it all starts with making a list. I have one half ready in my mind but I really need to get it out on paper and start working my way through all the preparations. But and that would be my tip I guess. One step at a time. I have to get some things of my plate that are not so much Christmas related before I can even think about the list. Because then I want to do that and I need to do other things first.

    I am curious though, what are you outsourcing or delegating?

    1. I agree, I think really organizing your list by priorities and what needs to be done NOW and what can be done LATER is key.

      Well, I am outsourcing my holiday cards because I order them (do you remember when I made my cards by hand? You know yourself how much time that can take if you don’t get a headstart), I also delegate by splitting some gift giving with my sister (she takes care of a couple of gifts for family, and I do) and I am involving Jon in gifts for his family (he used to just let me do it but I think it shouldn’t be my job – at least not my job alone).

  9. I love the “one small thing.” I like to get things crossed off the list, even if they are small things!

    1. A few “small things” make a huge dent into my list :)

  10. I am all about the list, baby. That is the key to taming the overwhelm (or at least tamping it down a little bit) and to making sure nothing gets overlooked.

    I also do a lot of multi-tasking kind of things where I can: putting in a load of laundry to run while I write. Unloading the dishwasher while the tea kettle comes to a boil. Making dinner while my kid is eating breakfast, so it can cook in the crockpot all day. That kind of thing. Who knows if it really makes a difference, but it makes me FEEL efficient.

    1. Lists work so well. I think it’s mostly because you feel like you’re not forgetting something when life gets busy… I am also guilty of multi-tasking as much as possible (sometimes it works better than other times but I always try to maximize my time!)

  11. The start of the holiday season is an odd one with covid. I think the last time I was forced to slow down like this is decades ago. But it does make you realize that there are a lot of things that don’t have to happen and that are optional in reality. I guess most of the stress we are making ourselves?

    1. Oh, I can imagine it’s weird for you to be confined to your bedroom during the start of the holiday season… but I agree, maybe it’s a good reminder that a lot of stress is self-induced and some things are more optional than necessities?

  12. Lots of good advice here, the one I have the most trouble with is sticking with my routine. It has fallen over in the last week, but I’m starting to put it back together again. Usually, I “manage” a busy season by remembering that it’s temporary and that I can default down to my minimum standards.

    1. I totally agree that routines can be tweaked to accommodate the busy season, but they usually help keep an even keel

Comments are closed.