Ready to start pulling all your “I can have a stress-free and productive end of the year” steps together?  Are you starting to wonder what to do with the multiple lists you’ve created in previous weeks and  how you are going to keep track of it all?  Today, we start to pull it all together!

If you’ve just found the Stress Free Holiday Series – welcome!

So far, we’ve covered –

In step #4 you broke each activity that you participate in during the holidays into the smallest possible step. When you put the most recent post (Step #5) into action, you continued to delete some activities and delegate others.

Using the list you created in week #4, create a master calendar including start dates, end dates, and the person responsible for each task.  This is also the place to put “check – in” dates for the tasks you have delegated.  You can use a blank paper calendar to fill in your dates, or you can put reminders in your phone, Google Calendars, Outlook, or whatever scheduling system you use. The important part is that you start to fill in the dates!

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Here are some calendar features my clients have found most helpful when implementing this step.

  • Reusable – it’s important not to reinvent the wheel each year. Adapt the calendar as you go. You may find you forgot action steps, you over or under estimated your time frame, or you added or deleted activities. That’s ok . . . this calendar is a work in progress. If you are putting dates in your phone, use the repeat feature so each task automatically populates to the following year.
  • Plenty of Room – It’s important to see the task and the person responsible – so make sure the blocks on the calendar are large enough.
  • Ability to Add Color – Some clients color code tasks according to the person responsible. Other code tasks green for start dates and red for end dates. Experiment and find the system for you.

FAQ’s regarding the calendar:

How many months should the calendar encompass?   I recommend the first month of your calendar corresponds to one month prior to the first task. For example, if you decided that your earliest task is to contact a cleaning service to set an appointment to deep clean your house, you want to make sure to get an appointment, so you decide the best time to call to reserve a slot on their calendar is October. Since your first task is in October, start your holiday calendar in September.This allows you to easily move start dates earlier the following year, if needed.

Should you have one calendar for personal and one for business task?  I always prefer ONE calendar whenever possible, however, this is your system, so do whatever is comfortable for you!

Should the calendar be paper or digital? Again, your preference.  One thing to consider is whether or not other people will be accessing and updating the calendar.  If so, digital may be a better option.

I’m already behind, now what?  No problem.  It may take up to 3 years before this process feels like it is running like a well-oiled machine.  Start with where you are and adapt as you move forward.  This year will be better than last, and next year will be even better still.

Now, turn this into action.  Pull out your task lists, print off some blank calendar sheets, and start filling in the start dates, end dates, and person responsible for each task.

Check back next week for Step #7 which focuses on self-care around the holidays.

It’s your turn!  I’m curious – what calendar scheduling tips to you find most helpful? What platform do you like best for templates/reusable calendars? What change are you going to implement after reading this post?

Would you like some support accomplishing your goals?  

With a little coaching, you can easily achieve the perfect balance between your business and personal lives.  You can develop a framework and a system that allows you to put first things first -and live a life of purpose, accomplishment, and fun.  You can turn ideas into action!

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[Image credit imagerymajestic]