This time of year is always a busy one for us, as it is for many people.
Our younger daughter has a heavy soccer schedule this month, with practices or games most weekdays. There are errands to run, our annual family picture session, errands, a holiday party or two, and errands. Then comes Thanksgiving, buying the Christmas tree, and decorating. Both of our girls have birthdays the first week in December and we’d like to do a couple of special things this year since our oldest is turning 13.
From previous years’ experience, I know that this season is coming and want to be ready for it! These tips aren’t new, but they do help me enjoy these busy days.
|Just four short years ago…|
1. Plan ahead…but not too far ahead. For me, it works best to plan in one-week segments. On Sunday afternoon, I sit down with my calendar and look at the week ahead. I write out my menu – all three meals for each day; start a shopping list for the grocery store; note what events I need to prepare for (buy cards or gifts for a birthday, make or buy snacks for a soccer game, wrap a present, etc.); and pencil in any errands that need to be run. If I try to think too far ahead, it’s overwhelming, and I usually end up forgetting something and have to make extra trips out anyway!
2. Let go of expectations. Since we’re getting home late most evenings this month, I’m serving simple meals. The slow cooker is my friend! We may not have perfectly matched outfits in our family pictures, but that’s okay. Simplifying and working with what I have works just fine in most situations.
3. Communicate clearly. If you want to plan a specific family activity, let your husband know. If you want your children’s help with certain tasks, explain what they need to do. From how much to spend on gifts to where and how holidays will be celebrated, clear communication helps everything flow more smoothly.
4. Put people before tasks. You’ll likely never regret taking the time for lunch with a friend over finishing a project or squeezing in last-minute shopping. I’m naturally task-oriented, so I have to remind myself of this frequently – but it’s always true!
5. Keep your quiet time. Spending time in prayer and Bible reading every day helps keep the focus where it needs to be – on our spiritual walk. No matter how busy the day promises to be, I need to begin it with my quiet time.
What tips do you have for thriving when life is busy?