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How to handle that busy Christmas to-do list

I know, I know, it's not even December yet. But let's be honest, if you're a recovering perfectionist, over-planner, like-to-be-in-control sort-of-person like I am, then chances are, you're thinking about Christmas.


Here are 5 tips that have massively improved my life IN GENERAL when I'm feeling over-whelmed with my to-do list, but will be super helpful at this time of year.


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1) What is ACTUALLY essential? Like Christmas can't function without these things happening?


For now, only aim to get these done - everything else is a bonus.


There's a couple of points here.


It's easy at Christmas to get carried away with creating a really long to-do list. But actually, how many of them *need* to happen and how many of them are actually fun? I used to have "decorating the tree" as something on my to-do list, which made it feel like something stressful that had to be achieved by a certain date.


If instead, you think about what is essential, and then what you're choosing to do, it feels both less overwhelming and helps you appreciate the fun stuff. Win-win.


The second point here is that when you get carried away with all the busy-ness at Christmas, you can end up with things on your to-do list that aren't actually that important. They're "nice to have". For me 'buying Christmas stamps' was one of these, to make my Christmas cards look more Christmas-y. Did that really matter? No. If I had other stamps in the house, why not use them? Make like easier for yourself.


And you may find that as you focus on less, you actually end up with more time and can STILL buy those Christmas-stamps. And if that happens, you'll actually then be excited about it, rather than just relieved you ticked one more thing off your list. More joy, and less stress. Yes please.


2) If you catch yourself yourself thinking about the fact that focusing on just the essentials might make tomorrow, or next week, more busy - STOP.


We need to rest and you'll be more productive tomorrow if you're well-rested today.


Plus, thinking about how much have to do while doing something is slowing you down. Studies show that people who regularly meditate are more focused and more productive.


Most of our stress in life is caused by thinking about the past and future... which leads into my next point.


3) Only think about the one thing in front of you right now. Not tomorrow. Not how much there is to do.


When you do this, three things happen.


One: you get it done more quickly.

Two: you're substantially less stressed.

Three: you start to enjoy things more.


Mindful Me LOVES wrapping Christmas presents. I only focus on the moment in front of me, which means the arts-crafty part of me gets all excited about making things look nice.


Old Me still loved arts and crafts but used to get super stressed about making the presents look nice while doing it as quickly as possible.


Ironic that it now gets done quicker AND I enjoy it more.


4) As you're doing your one thing, stop and notice how you feel.


Is there actually anything negative happening in that moment? Often, the stress we feel is worry about the past or future. If we can stay in the present, things are much more pleasant.


So much of Christmas has the potential to be enjoyable and so often we just talk about how much we have to do. Actually take a moment to think about what you're doing, and you'll find so much more joy this Christmas.


5) Take a moment to SLOW DOWN.


If this is all sounding too much, it's time to press re-set.


Do a minute of slow breathing or a few rounds of tapping (EFT). The less time you think you have to do this, the more you need to do it... and ironically, going eeeeeeeever so slightly slower, but in a more focused manner, will result in you being more productive. See above.


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Sometimes when I use this approach to my to-do list, I do only get the absolutely essential things done; when this happens it generally means I was knackered and needed the time to rest.


Other times I beast everything on my to-do list, simply because I've changed my mindset.


Overall, it balances out - and I'm much more productive AND happier at Christmas time now than I ever used to be.


This is just mindfulness in action and it's one more way that being mindful every day has improved my life. And what better time than Christmas to feel the benefits of more time, more joy and more calm?


If you've found this helpful, tell me your favourite point in the comments.


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