By: Malarie Barineau
The holidays can be a very stressful time of year if the proper steps aren’t in place. Between cooking several meals and arriving to your holiday gatherings in a timely manner, there isn’t much room for procrastination. Businesses are also in crunch time towards the end of the year, with making sure all the financials are in as well as making sure all HR documentation has been filed and completed. All of these things can be rather difficult if you don’t have sufficient time management.
“Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.” Time management is not only needed during the holiday season but it is also needed day in and day out in your personal and professional life.
Cooking is a must during the holiday season. Whether it’s cooking the turkey or ham or baking pie after pie you need to come up with a plan. Having several meals cooking simultaneously can be frustrating to stay on top of and the last thing you want is to show up to a holiday gathering with a burnt meal.
In some instances cooking multiple meals at the same time is unavoidable but if possible try to prepare meals that can be made the day before such as desserts or meals that can be chilled so you have more time to focus on the day of meal preparations. When the time calls for some top chef action and you have to have things going in the oven as others are coming out while you shuffle pots and pans on the burners it helps to write up a schedule. A schedule, agenda or to do list is always a great idea. This will help you stay on track as well as give you a breakdown for what is left to complete.
A schedule beforehand will keep you on track; you can also use multiple timers. More embarrassing than burning a dish is perhaps forgetting one at home altogether; so be sure to leave yourself ample time to load everything and check that its all accounted for. Rushing out the door is a good way to leave things behind in the fridge, oven, or perhaps even right on the counter.
Along with the time it takes to get the food prepared you still have to find time to get yourself prepared as well as your householdwhich in my case consists of my husband and two puppies. And trust me that is a job in itself. So the earlier you can get started cooking the better. That way you will have more time after to get ready and make sure your husband’s clothes match. It is also very important to set a time for departure and stick to it. No one wants juices spilling all over the floor of their vehicle as they try to make up time on the road and having everyone waiting on you is no better. Also give yourself a cushion to account for some delays; it is the holidays after all.
The holidays should be a time of joy and cheer. There is no reason to let yourself get stressed out when it can be so easily avoided by just some planning and preparation. Two blogs I recently read by Arianna Huffington and Debbie Woodbury also discuss tips for the Holidays. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/destressing-the-holidays-_b_2360363.html) Arianna writes more on time management: “Distressing the Holidays: Making a List, Checking it Twice” and Debbie writes about “5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress”.
(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debbiewoodbury/holidaystress_b_4325104.htmlThese are just a few tips that help me with my time management over the holiday season and I hope they help you as well. Happy Holidays!