The holidays are a time to celebrate the season not just a time to give. This country has many people and families that are wounded by the loss of a job and income and many can’t give and do the same as they used to be able to do for co-workers, family members, and friends. This year everyone will call you to attention pulling for your time and your help for many things and you should know how to meet these demands. The best strategy is to develop a time management plan now so that you step into December with peace and joy in your life.

Master the answer

There will be many engagements that you must manage this year. There will be the annual work party. There will also be the children’s school functions that you may not want to endure but you absolutely have to. You may also need to attend church functions. Plus, someone in the family had the great idea that you should _______ (Insert time consuming function here).

You will be stretched thin with all these things on your plate. Can you imagine having to attend between two and five functions a week through the month of December? This will not bring you comfort and joy. You will be filled with anger and frustration trying to make it to all these events. Master the answer no.

No is hard for people to say. It is a close-ended answer. There is not much to say to that answer unless you want a person to get angry with you. It is OK to tell co-workers that you can’t make it to their outside of the work party but you will see them at the office holiday party during work hours. It is alright to tell the church no you can’t make it to all the fundraising functions they need you to assist with this year but you will see them at the Christmas evening service. It is more than OK to avoid large family gatherings, but since we know you can’t without making big moma angry, politely decline to assist and show up there right on time for the event. Mastering the answer no can save you from over committing yourself for things you know you have no time or energy for during the holiday season.

Create goals

Business professionals create goals for everything they want to do in a day. They develop a plan and stick to it to help complete tasks. Once you master the answer no, you now know what you have said yes to attending. Stick to what you determined is important during the holidays by writing out the goals you have. Include events you plan to attend, shopping and savings goals, and holiday things you like to do, including ice skating or catching a play like The Nutcracker.

Work your plan

When you list your goals with deadlines to accomplish them you have a plan. You need to work your plan not let it work you out. Working your plan can be as simple as adding everything you need to do day by day to a calendar and keeping track of it. It can also include confirming with people things you plan to do and when. Be smart this season and print up some cards for the people in your life. Keep commitment cards that have your name, number, date, and the engagement typed in. Hand them out to people who know you so they remember that you all have scheduled to do something together. People need these reminders and they will respect your time because you are showing that your time is important to you.

Time management seems like something that should only be discussed Monday through Friday at work. But when you think about it, one event can eat your entire night. One family meal can take two days to prepare. One friend’s soiree can take your Saturday away from your family. Managing your life the way you manage for your job can help you identify what is important and help you create respect for your life and others. Once you have this respect you will have more inner peace. And isn’t that what this season is about?

Happy Holidays.

Angelic Jones is a freelance writer for Austin Weekly News.