Ok so just let me say that, the fact you are reading this post means that you are already one step ahead of a lot of people when it comes to getting organised for Christmas, so well done. Christmas is actually a big part of our year and does take energy and time from all of us, with shopping, eating , travel, cooking and so on. Let’s not under estimate the amount of work that is needed to get things ready for the festive season. Over the years I have really appreciated how much better I am prepared for Christmas when I have planned for it. If you are sick of feeling very chaotic at Christmas time because you are running around at the last minute, let me help you get more prepared. In this post I share how I go about planning for Christmas and hopefully you will find this valuable
90 Day Planning Cycle
What’s a 90 day planning cycle got to do with Christmas? Well not a lot! Except it’s the best way to plan for Christmas or anything for that matter.
During my career in the corporate world, Business Plans, 90 day planning cycles and so on are a norm and a very effective tool to use to implementation actions to achieve your goals. Just because these are corporate practises, it doesn’t mean that you can not apply them at home. Which is exactly what I do for Christmas planning.
A 90 day planning cycle, is not complicated. Simply speaking it’s planning three months out, or over the year breaking it up into quarters , (3 months each) to achieve your goals. Each month you will break down the activities / actions that you need to do.
So for Christmas preparation you want to start 90 days out (3 months) which means kicking off your 90 day plan in October.
What to plan for
The first thing I do is decide what you actually want to achieve , i.e what is your goal? Are you having family and guests for Christmas? So your goal might be to have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas - or more simply put it, you want everything organised and done before the family and guests arrive. For me this Christmas, it is to have as a much relaxation time as possible.
Once you figure out what you want to achieve . i.e what your goal is, then just work through the main things that you will need to work on to achieve this. Using me as an example, my goal means that I really need to have everything done before Christmas so I can actual sit back and relax. To do this I listed out;
Home preparation - cleaning & tidying
Holiday leave (Pete and I)
These are essentially your categories or topics and each will have a number of tasks. To help think about all the tasks, I do a brain dump.
Yep , just want it says , dump out everything that is in your brain on this matter and get it onto paper. This is a really helpful tool to free your mind up of all the things that you need to do.
For me I just take each topic and list everything out that I can think of, there is no need to prioritise at this stage, just get it all out. Lets take food as an example, I have just quickly written down some tasks;
Christmas baking - What and when
Create Christmas day menu
Shopping list for Christmas day menu
Work out Holiday meal plan
How many days to meal plan for
How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday
Place food orders - how and when
Fresh produce - when to buy
Clear out fridge and freezer space
When to do shopping
Repeating this for each of the topics. At first you may think that there is so much to do once you have listed it all out, trust me though it will make sense.
Using a 90 day plan means that you actually have 3 months to complete all those tasks that you have listed out. In other words you have plenty of time. The key is to get your timing right and somethings have to be done before another task can be completed.
In the end you don’t want to have to worry about what you have to do and not having enough time to do it, all you need to do is follow your plan and just do each task listed in the timeframe stated and you will get to your goal.
It is a simple process as you take the three months, October, November and December and spread out the tasks across these. Then each month you can plan then out over the weeks of the month.
Here is the approach I have taken with the my list of tasks for “Food”
Christmas baking- What and when - Oct
Create Christmas day menu - Nov
Shopping list for Christmas day menu - Nov
Work out Holiday meal plan - Nov
How many days to meal plan for - Oct
How many people are staying - Christmas and holiday -Oct
Place food orders - how and when -Dec
Fresh produce - when to buy -Dec
Clear out fridge and freezer space -Dec
When to do shopping -Dec
As you will see, I have allocated most of the “planning” tasks out to complete in October. It’s always important to do as many of the planning task first as they lead to your next steps. By spreading out my task over the 3 months, I don’t need to rush around in December trying to do all 10 things on my list.
When I do my monthly planning I can then task these out over the weeks in the month.
getting it done
The planning is actually the easy part, it’s not a hard job to take 5-10 mins to list out all your topics and tasks and plan them out over the 3 months. The challenge is to “do” them……in other words implementing your plan. Couple of tips to help;
Be clear with what the specific task is. i.e what is the exact next step you have to do so its really clear.
Be realistic with the allocating the task to certain weeks/days. Think about what else you have on and what is the chance of actually getting that task done on that day.
Remember to always focus on the next tasks only. If you think about all that has to be done rather than the just the next step, you can easily get overwhelmed. Before you know it, it will be Christmas and you will be all sorted and can sit back and enjoy the experience of Christmas and relax !!
Let’s reflect on what you have just learnt here, what I would call Planning 101. There is actually nothing about this planning that is specific to Christmas which means that you can apply this 90 planning cycle to any goal, you don’t even need to stick to the 90 day cycle. Just follow the principles that I covered off above, which are summarised below;
Identify your goal
Work out your timeframe
What do you need to do
Break down the specific task
Allocate them over the timeframe
Do the task , one at a time
To help you with your planning I have created a simple and easy to use Christmas Planner. Just grab the FREE printable below
Happy Planning my tidies and look forward to having a restful and relaxing Christmas
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