Four Ways to Avoid Being Busy This Holiday Season

We are almost halfway through December and it seems like most of the conversations I have with people begin with ‘I’m so busy right now.’ For many of us, December can be a very full month. It often feels like we are too busy to do anything as our calendars are bursting with events! Busy is one of my least favorite words. What I’ve realized after doing my own time study (thanks to Laura Vanderkam) is that we all have more time than we think we do. It becomes a matter of choices and priorities.

Choosing to live a more grateful lifestyle means limiting our use of the word busy. Busy implies that we don’t have control over our lives, and that we are unable to take the time to be present and express our gratitude. Busy is about simply getting through the day and collapsing when it’s all over, not even knowing how we got through the day. Our calendar can be full AND we can still find the time what is most important to us

So how do we do this? What can we do to avoid being ‘too busy’ this holiday season? Here are my favorite ways to avoid being busy this holiday season:

Put all of your upcoming events on paper. 

If you have a day planner that has a monthly overview, start there. Or simply take out a piece of paper and draw the month of December. Label the events in order of importance, most important get 5 stars, least important, 1 star.

Starting with the 1 star events, ask yourself this, will participating or attending this event bring me more joy or more stress? If the answer is stress, connect with the person who invited you and politely say no. You don’t have to explain yourself, simply saying no is good enough.

No is a complete sentence.

If you are on the receiving end of a no, thank the person for giving you an honest answer answer and move on. ‘I’ll try to be there’ or ‘I’ll see if I can make it’ is much worse than a no. As a host, I’d rather get the straight answer. When we make a clear decision, this also helps us to manage our energy. Think about how you feel when you've semi-committed to an event. It can sap our energy when we avoid making decisions.

Decide today to choose not to complain about being too busy any more.

We are in control of our calendars and we do have choices when it comes to attending events. What makes it hard to choose is when we are worried about what others may think. It’s more difficult when we say no to family, but I speak from experience that when we say yes to too much, it can result in disaster for everyone. This is even more important when you add children into holidays plans. Respecting our children's sleep and nap schedule can go a long way to making the holiday season more jolly.

Allow for space in your calendar. 

Now that you’ve cleared off a few events, don’t fill up those spots with other events. Make time for a spontaneous visit to see Christmas lights or an afternoon curled up with your favorite holiday movie. Give yourself time to breathe and enjoy all of the magic and joy of the holidays. I love watching The Holiday and Love Actually at least once during the Christmas season. What are your must see holiday favorites?

Your turn: What are your strategies for keeping your calendar under control during the holidays?

I have some exciting news to share!! 

First, I'm in the running for a Mompreneur award for 2020 and I've made it to the voting stage. I would love your support with a daily vote (ends Sunday Dec 15th):

I have been a part of this incredible organization since I moved to BC, even though the founder, Maria Locker, is in Ontario. The friendships and support I have found in Mompreneurs has been really wonderful. I'm very honoured to be chosen as one of the 130 women who have reached this semi-final stage.

Second, as promised, I have launched my podcast!!!

Wake Up With Gratitude podcast is now live on

There are 4 episodes so far and a new one will be released every Thursday.

I'd love your feedback and if you're inclined to leave a review, I would be so grateful!!

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