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All My Best,  Carolyn

Stress Free Holiday Tip #3

Tip #3: Use a Calendar!

If you have been reading my blog posts, subscribing to the "Your Simply Organized Life" newsletter or have attended any of my seminars; you know I am a fanatic about calendar usage. I don't care if you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a retiree, in my humble opinion EVERYONE needs to use a calendar daily.

Hopefully, most of you are already using some sort of calendar or planner in your daily life to keep track of personal, professional and family appointments. It does not matter what type of calendar you use (paper or electronic) but I recommend using one calendar for all appointments if possible. If you are not using a calendar, now is a good time to start.

To avoid overbooking (and going crazy) during the holidays, put all of your appointments on the calendar. This includes the company parties, family gatherings and even your kids' holiday events. Be sure to ask your family members about these events and if you will be required to bring anything, dress a certain way or in general make any preparations. Remember, to say "no thank you" to events that do not fit with your holiday plan. This is the difference that will keep you stress free!

If any of your scheduled events require preparations, check to see if they fit with your holiday plan. If they fit with your simple holiday plan (i.e. it is something you want to spent time on), schedule time in your calendar for those preparations and do not forget to schedule driving time! For example, if you want to attend your company holiday party, but do not currently have the appropriate attire, schedule time in your calendar for shopping in person or on-line.

If the scheduled events on your calendar require preparations that do not fit with your holiday plan (i.e. it is something that you do not want to spend time on), try to outsource or avoid those duties whenever possible. For example, if your child needs treats for the school party and you are clueless in the kitchen, schedule time with your child to purchase or order an alternative. It can still be homemade, just not from your kitchen (ask me about my cupcake lady anytime).

With so many service providers available these days you can outsource just about any holiday task from baking, to decorating, to even sending your holidays cards (I have a great system for holiday cards). The key is to make sure that you can afford to outsource holiday tasks. In my next blog I will write about making a financial plan for the holidays!

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Stress Free Holiday Tip #4

Stress Free Holiday Tip #2