Tips for Managing the Holiday Time Crunch

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Holiday Hacks for Working MomsThis article is part of our Holiday Hacks for Working Moms series. See the full #holidayhacks list for more ways to hack your holidays, so you can enjoy the season instead of letting it drag you down.

What mom doesn’t feel the holiday time crunch this time of year? I probably should have considered that booking a Disney Cruise the week before Christmas was going to make December a pretty stressful month. It honestly didn’t occur to me until about mid-November when I looked at the calendar and thought what have I done?!

On top of trying to figure out how I was going to be prepared for the trip and Christmas itself, I also volunteered to host Thanksgiving. Now I know I must have lost my mind. I was practically having a panic attack in November when I realized there was way too much on my plate. So, I did what I always do when faced with a demanding project, I made a list and then I made another and before you knew it, I had broken down about 6 weeks of tasks into something I could manage.

My stress has also been compounded by very hectic work schedules for both my husband and myself. Knowing that I had to take more time off of work to keep the house functioning throughout the holiday season, I also had to start making advanced deadlines for myself on projects I am working on at work.

Basically, my life is a gigantic list, but it works and if done right can take a lot of stress off your plate.

Evernote List

Evernote

I have a theory in my life, if I write it down I am free to forget about it. It is a very liberating thought and one that keeps me sane. A while ago I wrote about productivity apps that every working mom should have and my top recommendation was and still is, Evernote. My husband thinks I am a little insane (neurotic really) about this app but without it, our life would not be even half as organized as it is today.

Going back to mid-November when I was in panic mode, I sat down and created several lists (with deadlines):

  • Christmas List 2014: I listed out everyone I needed to buy for with ideas and as I purchase their gifts I move them down to a “purchased” section so I actually remember to wrap them! Then I strikethrough gifts as I wrap them so I have a list to refer to every year for who and what I bought the year before (totally genius)!
  • Items to pack for Disney 2014
  • Shopping list & Recipe Ideas for Thanksgiving 2014
  • Project Deadlines for Work

I never delete any of my notes so that I can always refer to what I did in the past. This makes future list building that much easier!

Time off work

This was a tough one. I was already taking off of work for a week to go on the cruise, how could I possibly justify more time? I have the time banked, but how would I be able to keep up with work if I took more time off?

I thought about it for a while and decided to take off December 23rd to finish last minute Christmas details. I intend on having all my gifts wrapped before the cruise but you just never know. This only gives me one working day between when I get home from vacation and before I have three more days off. That Monday is going to be super crazy but I acknowledged that to myself a month ago and I have been very focused on making sure I have as much work done as possible to make it easier on my coworkers and myself.

Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to consider your family life first.

Amazon Prime

I know many working moms rave about this, but I didn’t actually get a subscription until September of this year. WOW! This has been a huge game changer in my household. If you can think it, you can buy it on Amazon and with two-day free shipping, you can’t beat the convenience. Holidays or not, you need this.

Grocery apps

If you live in the Northeast and do not shop at Wegmans, I just don’t know if we can be friends! For a long time I hung on to my dream of couponing and price matching by going to four different stores every week and heaven forbid I ever give up my paper list.

Then Wegmans decided to announce a deal breaker, their grocery app, and the world has not been the same ever since. Through their shopper’s club card, this app tracks everything you buy so you can make your lists by viewing digital images on things you already purchased and it makes intuitive suggestions on what your purchasing history suggests you might need.

Once you get to the store, it labels all the items you selected to buy by aisle so you can easily shop. Wegmans is my version of heaven. They have quality food at competitive prices and always take a customer first approach. If you live elsewhere in the country, I’d love to hear if your grocery store offers something similar and if you use it?

There you have it, four ways that I have (so far) survived this holiday season! I will be sure to update you after my Disney Cruise and let you know if I’m still singing the same tune.

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Monica Froese

Monica is a working mom who lives in Buffalo, NY, and has one daughter who was born in 2012. She has a fantastic husband, Rob, who has encouraged and supported her through the tough transition into working mommy-hood. Her passion is to empower other women who choose to work after having kids and to bring attention to the antiquated policies that plague working mothers in the United States. In April 2015, she traveled to the White House to provide feedback on how current policies impact working moms in a small roundtable with President Obama’s senior advisor. Monica has worked at a Fortune 100 tech company since she was 20 years old. She started while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in legal studies with the intention of going to law school. She ultimately decided to achieve her MBA and is currently a Marketing Manager supporting vertical markets. She enjoys taking time off to have mommy-and-me days with her daughter and spending quiet nights watching late night TV with her husband to unwind from a long day. Monica’s personal blog is Redefining Mom.

5 Comments

  1. I agree with everything! Amazon Prime has saved me sooo many times especially with Christmas. Love love the Wegmans app! For all the reasons that you said and because I’m no longer afraid to send my husband to do the shopping. With the pictures and the ability to add notes we no longer have the “you got the wrong thing” issue.

  2. I don’t live close enough to a Wegman’s to make it convenient. The real winner for me has been Harris Teeter. They have an online shopping tool where you can search for everything you want. 1) No searching through aisles for ONE stinkin’ can of bread crumbs 2) takes 10 minutes to find everything I want/need 3) you can sort items by organic, brand, whatever dietary needs you have so it’s SUPER easy to find the products that work for you 4) it’s REALLY easy to see what’s on sale and sort by unit price, so you save money and don’t have to comparison shop in the aisles 5) no temptation to buy junk food displayed on end caps 6) no distractions with holiday merchandise 7) no carting kids around a busy store and begging for this or that.

    This costs $5 per order or $17 a month or something like $100 a year–shop as often as you want–so it’s more affordable than grocery delivery like what Giant offers. You just pull up to the store, push a button to let them know you’re there, and they bring out your groceries that have been bagged and waiting for you in a fridge and/or storage unit. It has been a life saver for me–check your local grocery stores to see if they offer a personal shopping service!

    I definitely agree with Amazon Prime — also check out ShopRunner for free 2-day shipping on items from various stores. My beauty addiction is fueled by free ShopRunner shipping from Sephora. 🙂

  3. […] What mom doesn’t feel the holiday time crunch this time of year? But with the help of key apps (and even your kids), you can remember what you need to buy, get your groceries, complete your work and have time to spare. See these tips for managing the holiday time crunch. […]

  4. […] covered. For an example of how I use it in my every day life you can check out my holiday post on Working Moms Against Guilt. I haven’t even tapped the potential of Evernote’s sister apps yet, but that is coming […]

  5. […] year I shared my Tips for Managing the Holiday Time Crunch over at Working Moms Against Guilt. I talked about how I kept lists in Evernote that I could access […]

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