The lead up to the holidays and Christmas can often be the busiest work time for our legal consultants in the United Kingdom and Europe, so life admin often gets left until the holiday period. How do we keep on top of life’s little responsibilities – and the extra tasks that the holiday season inevitably brings – without it taking over our downtime?
#1 Don’t See Everything as a Job to Do
The end of the year is stressful enough. Stop life admin becoming just another stress point. Catching up on tasks at home can be an enjoyable part of being on holiday from work with the right mindset. Allowing your mind to focus on other things but also being productive can be as rewarding and refreshing as total rest. Make those things you’ve been putting off in the house an enjoyable project to finally finish, enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to improve something that has been hanging over you.
- Print out a home organising checklist from Real Simple magazine here and get down with it.
#2 Be Smarter With Technology
Even though tech has the power to make our lives easier, it has also made us busier, providing more distractions and feeding us more info on things we’d like to read/see/do/visit – leaving us feeling like we’ll never accomplish everything we want to in the time we have. Switch off from your devices in evenings and during family outings/visits, and no more idly scrolling through social media.
Instead of letting tech take over, use technology to take control. Look into apps that can help you keep on track with everyday life. Many organisation aids used in the workplace can also be used to keep on top of family schedules and other life demands. Trello is a great example, use as a virtual portable whiteboard that can be shared with family members so everyone can pick up tasks and remind one another.
- Other life admin apps that focus on personal finances (an essential addition to the app library at this time of year to stop spending getting out of hand!) include You Need a Budget and Wally.
#3 Stop saying you’re Busy!
Another part of changing our mindsets: modern conversation seems to have become an endless comparison of how much we all have on our plates, until we eventually convince ourselves we will never get on top of it all. Next time someone asks how you are this holiday period, focus the conversation on the quieter moments. Did you sit down and help the kids make decorations? Simply had a good night’s sleep? The more you talk about those little things, the more you will remind yourself to make time for them, providing motivation to get on with what needs to be done and be free to enjoy what matters.
- For holiday and Christmas crafts inspiration, Red Ted Art is a wonderful website and YouTube channel with ideas for kids of all ages.
#4 Expunge the Unnecessary
Clearing out the clutter is a transforming life admin task that is well worth investing some of your time off, not only to help keep your living and working environments tidy and organised going forward, but improving overall mental health too. Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up approaches the task of clearing out the clutter with a focus on joy – anything that doesn’t spark happiness is ‘thanked’ and then sent on its way to another owner or another life as a recycled material.
The joy principle means you only keep what is actively beneficial and makes you feel happy to have in your home, giving you a renewed appreciation of your home and your belongings. With a practical room-by-room categorical methodology, her book might be worth adding to your Christmas reading list!
- Check out these 7 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Life
#5 Rest and Reward as You Go
It may seem counter-intuitive to getting on top of things, but you need to enjoy the time off you have everyday instead of waiting until everything is done. If it doesn’t get done in that time that’s just tough, leave it and revisit later, don’t let it creep into time you had planned for more leisurely enjoyable activity. Because of course, if you wait for the end of the to do list to reward yourself with a sit down and a book or a walk in the park, it will never happen because the to do list of life never ends! Go enjoy yourself and start again tomorrow.
- At Obelisk Support, we will be looking at the things to do in London in December to go out and about with family and friends.
#6 Get Others Involved in Life Admin
We often fall into the trap of taking on too many of the responsibilities of the home and everyday life, simply because we are more present and feel we should take control. This can lead to unwelcome resentment as other members of the home relax after having their offer of help rejected previously. Let everyone play their part. Remember that different people prioritise jobs differently, so a task that seems burning and urgent to you may require a prompt to another family member.
If you have guests to stay during the holiday period, don’t be afraid of allowing them to do little tidying up/shopping tasks while they are there – most people feel more comfortable when they are mucking in rather than being waited upon.
- BBC Good Food has a nifty list on how to share the Christmas cooking that can be adapted to many situations.
All of us at Obelisk Support wish all of our consultants and associates a relaxing and fulfilling holidays and Christmas break, and hope you return ready to take on the new opportunities 2018 will bring!