It’s Getting Late
There are a few truths in life:
- Summer only lasts a few more minutes after the 4th of July.
- As soon as the leaves start changing and Halloween approaches, the New Year is on its way and you’re already late.
This is why I have conveniently provided you with these 5 tips that you needed yesterday. By the way, I blame retailers for this entire mess. By the time you read this, Valentine’s candy and cards will most likely be out.
In terms of time management, we are coming up on the biggest test of your skills: the Holiday Season. Gifts to buy, meals to make, cards to send, and carols to sing.
Seriously, most die-hard planners have already decided on their planner of choice for 2020 and started planning ahead. I’ve already got my vacation penciled in, complete with accommodations and dates.
So, if you find yourself in the position of planning to buy Halloween candy this week and thinking about Thanksgiving in another week or two, you are in deep trouble, and I am here to help.
Thus, the 5 tips.
Tip # 1: It’s Never Too Early
The year before last was the first time we had gone camping in many years. For personal reasons, I wasn’t up to it that year and came completely unprepared. While I was at the campground, and everything was fresh in my head, I started my camping plans for next year.
I listed all the things I had forgotten, what we would need, things to remember to do or pack, and I got my daughter in on it too. I even started a little book – an insert for my Portland Leather Travelers Notebook that I had just gotten – and we added to it again this year. That will not only become a valuable resource for getting ready for camping but a great memory keeper too.
You could (and should) do the same thing for Thanksgiving and for Christmas (or whatever holidays you celebrate). That way, you have a head start, not only for this year but in years to come. These things do tend to happen each year, you know.
So, in case I wasn’t clear enough, it’s never too early to start planning. Also, check out this video for more great ideas. This lady starts planning in August!
Tip # 2: You’ll Need a Couple of Notebooks
If you use a traveler’s notebook as I do, then a couple of small notebooks to fit will work nicely. Otherwise, maybe you can add a section to your planner. If you happen to have the kind of planner that doesn’t allow for adding or removing pages, you can try taping or stapling them in.
A better alternative might be to just get a couple of school folders with pockets and brads to secure your pages. That way, if you had pages you want to print, you wouldn’t have to worry about the size. My Pinterest board for printables has some free ones for both Thanksgiving and Christmas so you might want to take a look.
Be sure to add extra pages so that you can take notes this year and in the coming years as well. Just tonight, I was wondering what exactly I cooked last Thanksgiving.
Of course, it was turkey, but we got a free one from my husband’s employer (which was a) a surprise and b) too small). So did I buy a second turkey plus extra drumsticks (there was heated debate about that second turkey) or did I just get the drumsticks?
You know what? I’ll never know because even though I was passing out free Thanksgiving printables last year (and I used my own), I didn’t keep them! Now I know better.
Tip # 3: Write Down Everything
When you write your grocery list, it might be handy to put a star next to the things that are just for the big meal. Even, for instance, sugar. You’ll end up buying a 5 lb bag (or at least it used to be a 5 lb bag – sometimes they sell it in a 4 lb bag for a 5 lb price) when all you’ll need is maybe 2 cups.
And be sure to write down the size of the turkey or whatever meat you’re cooking (I’m looking ahead to Christmas here, where we cook beef) and then later, make a note on whether or not you had enough. You’ll have time for that, I promise. Once the meal is made, you can relax for a while and make some notes before it’s time to clean up.
Speaking of clean up, I have the best tip for you: I have a big kitchen with a large island in the middle, and when I cook a holiday meal, I cook. I enjoy it, and I end up with lots of dirty dishes and pans. It’s pretty depressing to look at when you’re already tired from making the big meal.
But one year, I decided to time myself cleaning up. I was done in 20 minutes! I’ve timed myself a few more times – just to be sure – and it’s always about the same or less. That gives me the motivation to get cleaning! Give it a try!
Tip # 4: Print Everything Out
In addition to printing out your menu and grocery list, be sure to print out all of your recipes. It’s good to have a refresher on the ones you don’t make often, plus it’s nice to have on hand if someone else needs to do the cooking.
One Christmas Eve, I fell on the ice on my way next door to my neighbors – arms full of (breakable) Christmas gifts. Turns out the only thing that broke was my elbow. I had a bright green cast from fingertips almost to my shoulder. That year, everyone else did the cooking. It was kind of fun!
The other reason I think you should print out your recipes is so that you can make notes. For years, I’ve tried one cheesecake recipe after another for Christmas. A few years ago, I found the perfect one and made a note on the recipe itself. I also threw all the other ones away! If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, I’ll send it to you this week. It’s super easy, too.
Another thing that’s handy to note on your recipes is the pan to use and the serving dish. You want to make sure you have enough of both for each dish you serve!
Tip # 5: Keep All of This Good Stuff in a Safe Place
Are you one of those people who puts things in “a safe place” and then can never find them again? I used to be that way. It was awful! I’m also notorious for going on a cleaning spree and accidentally throwing out important papers.
So here are some ideas for you to keep this goldmine you’ve created safe and easy to find the following year:
- If you use a traveler’s notebook, as I do, make an insert for each holiday and then keep them in a box or basket where you keep your others. If you don’t keep your inserts, or have extras lying around, set something up near your desk, in a bookcase, or your closet.
- If you use a planner, keep it in the back of your planner so that you can transfer it to the next year when the time comes.
- If you keep a recipe binder or box, you can put it there. Or if you’ve put your papers into a folder, store it with your cookbooks.
- In my house, the fall decorations come out first, then are added to or replaced by some Halloween ones. If you always use the same fall decorations, you could keep your notes in the same box. To me, that’s a little tricky, but you can try.
The Right Now Action
OK, I know that some of you will think this is a good idea, and you’ll think about it for a few days, trying to come up with just the right system. And some of you will want to go out and buy the stuff you need to set it up. (I’m with you – any reason to buy stationery and I’m there.)
But the truth is, you don’t really have the time. Not if you want to have a calm, peaceful holiday season where everything has been planned out and taken care of in advance. Wouldn’t that be nice? No last-minute running around?
So here’s what you’re going to do instead:
- Fire up your printer and start printing. Print everything you think you’ll need.
- Find a random notebook or whatever around the house and start planning.
- Just do it. Just. Do. It.
- When January and February roll around, and it’s cold and gray, get your random bits of holiday notes out and make them into the prettiest, most useful little book you can. You’ll have plenty of time, you can get your stickers and scrapbook paper on clearance, and next year you will not only be ready early, but you’ll be rocking the most awesome holiday planner around!
- Remember – for now – just do it.
Do you have any ideas for early holiday planning? Do share! We’d all love to hear!
And if you’re not a subscriber to my newsletter, be sure to sign up below so you can get that cheesecake recipe! And maybe one for Southern green beans too!