We all wish we had more time in our lives. To some people, Christmas can be a particularly stressful time of year. Among the reasons are the financial and time pressures of the whole festive period. There are often deadlines to complete at work, presents to buy, Christmas dinner to prepare, people to visit. But there are things we can do to make time for ourselves and, at Christmas, having good time management techniques can really help keep a lid on festive stress.


There are three main reasons why we get too busy:

  1. We procrastinate too much
  2. We fail to plan
  3. We take on too much work


So here are some hints and tips to help to manage time better.


Don’t Procrastinate

People procrastinate because they lack confidence; they are scared that they will make the wrong decision or that they will do something wrong and that fear drives them to put off making decisions or drives them to inaction. It is learnt behaviour. It can be unlearnt. But, if you are a procrastinator, you have to own up to it and not bury your head in the sand.

Let’s look at it from a Christmas point of view. Why do people leave Christmas shopping until the last minute? Because they don’t know what to get and they are scared they will buy the wrong thing. The solution? Ask people what they want for Christmas. Some of you might complain that it ruins the spontaneity of buying presents, I say it makes good sense to ask people what they want and to buy exactly what they want. It makes both parties happy.

So, instead of procrastinating and getting stressed, ask people what they want and give it to them.


Plan, plan, plan

Planning is all about knowing what you want to achieve and focusing your time and efforts on doing just that. If you are over-whelmed with the amount of work you have to do, sit back and take control. Decide on what is important to you and ditch everything else. Then decide which are most important, put them in order and work your way through your list.

For example, if you have the family arriving for Christmas dinner, make sure you have a clear plan on who is going to clean, who is going to set the table, who is going to scrape the spuds and prepare the brussels. If your bedroom’s a mess but no-one is going to see the bedroom .. leave it and concentrate on the important tasks.


Just Say No

Another cause of Christmas stress is being inundated with requests to do things. Whether it is at work or at home, people are always too willing to saddle you with more and more stuff and, if you don’t learn how to say no, they will keep on doing it. Sometimes, we are so eager to please, so anxious about upsetting people’s feelings that we stop saying no.

However, you can say no. If your daughter asks you to buy a present for grandma, just explain that you have your own Christmas shopping to do. If you get invited on your fourth works Christmas meal, politely decline and say you already have other plans. Focus your time on the things that are important to you.

Some may take offence, but that is only because you have stood up for yourself and stated your own needs. I tell you what, they won’t try to dump their tasks on you again.


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