Managing Self Practice Management Time

Tips for holiday sanity

Written by Jill Farmer
December is just around the corner and…

There. Is. So. Much. To. Do.

I get it.

The ads. The music. The friends’ pictures on Facebook of their lovely houses decorated in all of their holiday glory.


your sink still has Thanksgiving dishes in it.

The whole “getting ready for the holidays” thing has you exhausted and it hasn’t even started.

So, here are some of my favorite ways to turn dread into inspired action this time of year.

Brain Dump

Before another minute passes, sit down, grab piece of paper, and write down every single thing you need to do between now and the holidays in order for you to feel satisfied and content.

Don’t overthink it.

Let it be a stream of consciousness kind of thing.

It won’t take long (I promise).

Once you’ve dumped it all out onto the paper, take a keep breath.

Think about how you want to feel and show up this holiday.

Then, quickly scan the list and cross off every task that doesn’t connect to the values and feelings you want to experience.

Doing something only to make a critical relative happy?

Cross it off.

Something on that list that’s there only to keep up with the Joneses?

Cross it off.

Now you have a list of meaningful tasks designed to create a memorable experience for you and those you care about.


Next, take every single thing you can from the list and put it on your calendar.

That makes it FAR more likely you’ll get it done than just parking it in the middle of a stress-inducing list.

After you’ve plugged in most of the list to your calendar, take what remains and group similar tasks on separate To Do lists of 3-5 items each.

Put the date on the top of the list and then put a quick tickler on your calendar to check the To Do list for that day.

I’ve used this system for years, now (and so have my clients).

It works and it’s the best way to get things started right this season.

Wishing you a great start to December!

About the author

Jill Farmer

I love helping people get more meaningful work done in less time. I am the author of "There's Not Enough Time... and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves" which debuted as a bestseller in the Time Management Category on Amazon. In 2015, The Washington Post named me to its 21-Day Time Hacker team. I travel the world delivering keynotes and seminars for top corporations and organizations. I am also a wife and the mother of two teens and I have the two worst-behaved dogs in the universe. You can reach me at or visit my website

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