How to Prioritize During the Busy Season

How many times have you heard these?

“I’m too busy this month. Can we reschedule?”
“There’s so much to do.”
“I have to do this, and that (insert tasks), and so on and so forth before this and that (insert activities).”
“I can’t wait until after the holidays are over so I can go back to my routine.”

Almost everyone is overwhelmed. It’s that dreaded or anticipated (depending on how you look at it) season of peppermint, parties and potucks. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, realistically there are only 30 or 31 days to get everything done.

The question is: do you need to get everything done? Is it important to “do it all” in that ridiculously short span of time? And what is included in “everything?”

Had you asked me several years ago, I would have said “hell, yeah!” Everything needs to be done by December 24th, not counting work or running a business and all the normal year-round routine all of us have like paying the bills, getting the kids to school and doing household chores.

Tag each task or commitment. Michael Hyatt in a recent blog post wrote about the Franklin-Covey method of assigning priority tags:

A – urgent and important
B – important but not urgent
C – urgent but not important
D – not urgent or important

Everyday, I look at my list and get through my A’s and B’s first. The proposal for a potential client might be a B or a C and can probably wait until after the holidays – no one likes to make big business decisions this time of year anyway. The only exception would be is if it was requested by a specific date. The gift guide blog post for another client is an A of course, or it will no longer be timely.

You can apply this method to commitments and social invitations as well. For example, an invitation to have a Christmas lunch at my aunt’s house would be a B, since she’s one of my closest family members around. But an invitation to get together with work acquaintances for drinks would be a D and can wait till after the holidays.

Tap into your network. If you have family members visiting, accept offers of help while they’re around. Outsource mundane tasks if you can, like hanging up those holiday lights outside your house or scanning 17 years’ worth of family photos. Your time is worth more these days.

Finally, make peace with the fact that not everything will get done by a certain time. This was challenging for my type A personality to accept at first. But we are humans and our mental and physical bandwidths are limited.

So enjoy the holidays and don’t sweat about the little things!

Mira Reverente

Mira Reverente is a journalist, editor and blogger based in Southern California. She is always on the look-out for uplifting and local stories to tell from personal finance to fitness to family events. She currently writes and edits for a few regional publications. More

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