So… how is your Christmas planning going? From my experience, people tend to fall into one of two camps; firstly, we’ve got the people who tend to have finished their Christmas shopping (and wrapping) by early summer, and have their Christmas tree, colour coordinated decorations, and tangle free lights ready to ‘deck the halls’ on December 1st. And then we’ve got the ‘last minute-rs’, adamant that they’ll be able to pick up their hastily written present list amidst the madness and panic of Christmas eve shoppers, and end up wrestling for a goose or partridge (no turkeys left!) with a fellow shopper in the hauntingly empty poultry aisle in Aldi.
If you fall into the latter category, do not fear – all is not lost! I’ve got some simple organisational tips from business that can help make Christmas a walk in the park!
1.) Treat Christmas like a project: When you’ve got a big upcoming project at work that you are in charge of, do you leave everything until the very last minute? For the majority of successful entrepreneurs and business owners, this just isn’t feasible (primarily for their own sanity!). With business related projects, most project managers map out the lifetime and development of project, setting deadlines so that important jobs can be completed and reviewed in a timely manner. Why not treat Christmas in the same way? You could set yourself targets for completing Christmas shopping, for writing (and posting!) cards, and for ordering and collecting your Christmas food. Just don’t beat yourself up too much if you don’t stick to deadlines in a way that is quite as regimented as you might for your business – if your shopping and/or wrapping aren’t completed by your set due dates, it isn’t the end of the world!
2.) Create a gift list online using a tool like Trello or a simple spreadsheet. If you are collecting gift related bits and pieces throughout the year as you see them in the shops or online, it’s all too easy to lose them ‘in a safe place’ or end up with three different gifts for the same close friend and nothing for the family member who is notoriously difficult to buy for! If you are contemplating re-gifting items that you have previously received but have spent the last 12 months unopened and gathering dust, it’s always nice to have a note somewhere of who originally gifted you that item too… there’s nothing that says ‘Merry Christmas’ quite like the return of a gift that you have clearly not enjoyed a year later – unless the recipient would find that incredibly amusing! Making a list of the people you need to buy for and the gifts that you have collected can help you to keep track of spending and present allocation this festive season.
3.) Hate shopping? Outsource it to the lovely people at Tesco/Asda/Ocado** (**Delete as applicable) and get them to do it for you, so you don’t even have to step foot in the madness of a supermarket in the week before Christmas. Late December timeslots for delivery are notoriously hard to get hold of last minute, so book it now and fill your trolley with special offer gin and worry about the rest of the list a little closer to the big event!
4.) Know anyone who is lucky enough to have a birthday in December or early January? Admittedly, they are probably used to having friends and family members forget their birthday, or do a ‘two for one’ Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday gift/card, but if you’d really like to get in their good books this year why not pre-order a card and gift and ensure that it gets delivered directly to them to ensure it doesn’t get lost amidst the festive cheer in your own house. It doesn’t matter if it’s ridiculously early – simply add a ‘Don’t open until X of December/January’ note to the package and get ordering! If the usual festive state of affairs for you is an armful of hastily grabbed miscellaneous items from a local petrol station, imaging the brownie points you’ll get from remembering a December birthday!
5.) Delegate, delegate, delegate! In your business, you probably find it relatively simple to hand the tasks you don’t enjoy to other members of your team, or to outsource them entirely – why not do the same at Christmas? You don’t need to be a martyr to the cause and insist on carrying out everything yourself, particularly if you’ve got a house full of willing volunteers over the festive period! Fuel them with mulled wine, festive music and copious snacks and you can get your friends and family members to help with anything! Christmas is a time to spend with the people you like, and when you’re enjoying yourself, even peeling vegetables and wrapping presents can be an enjoyable and festive experience.
Unlike the work that you carry out for your business, Christmas doesn’t need to be perfect. But even if you’re never going to be an organisational ninja over the festive season, a little bit of preparation can go a long way and help contribute to a week of reduced stress – because, let’s face it, no-one in their right mind enjoys a supermarket shop on Christmas eve… *shudders at the thought*