Is it just me or does it seem like everything including the work to do list gets busy around the holidays? The time of the year that were trying to spend with family, make memories, and reflect on all that’s been accomplished this year is overcome by the deadline that is ever approaching.

Here are my tips to increase your time, make you more productive, and give you more time to enjoy the season, every season.

Make a list, touch it once

Ok, here’s where it’s going to get dicey, but I promise it works. Write down five things to do for the day. Write them down, because although we always think that we can remember what we have to do, honestly, we get distracted. A phone call comes, a new deadline shows up, or we just so happen to remember those other things that need complete. Why 5? Because five is not an overwhelming number, it’s manageable and realistic. If you complete all five things and still have time, then make another list and go through it. If, however, the list of five doesn’t get completed, there isn’t a lot added to your list of things to do tomorrow.

Prioritize your list. It should start with the MOST important item on your list. What has the soonest deadline? This is your number one and everything gets prioritized based on this standard. Then write down an approximate time that it should take to complete this task. It will help you stay on track, and keep time from getting away from you.

Touch it once. This mostly has to do with email and communication. Make time for correspondence each day, so that you can catch up on emails, texts, and voicemails. The key to this point is that you respond and “take care of” the email as you read it. Don’t read it, add something to your to do list and move on. This seems like it’s time saving in the moment, but it actually causes more stress because you sub-consciously add yet another item to your list.

Delegate. This luxury doesn’t belong to everyone, but when available share the load. This may mean taking time to educate someone on how to complete your task, but it does save time in the future as you can go to this person for tasks in the future.

Plan Ahead. As much as possible plan ahead. Plan your week, what you want to accomplish and what needs to be done. Planning the list of five for each day prevents things being forgotten and keeps you on track.

Expect the unexpected. Give yourself about 30 minutes for those unexpected disruptions.

Enjoy. May your holidays be filled with love.