This 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.
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
strikethroughgifts 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.
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.
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.