Well, today is Cyber Monday, the internet’s day in the shopping spotlight. I have come to love online shopping. The prices are the same, the deals are sometimes better, I don’t have to leave the house and shipping is usually free! But before I dive into cyber-world for items I didn’t get Friday, let’s talk about tip six.

Tip Six: Plan Ahead

You have your plan. Now work it! Here are a few ways you can plan ahead and use your time now to ease stress and pressure later.

  1. What can you get done ahead of time?

I already have my wrapping station set up and ready to go. I am determined to wrap as I shop this year instead of saving it all for Christmas Eve, which stresses me out, robs my sleep and makes for a less-than-enjoyable Christmas. I have a table set up with all my wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbon, gift tags and a pen. For stockings, I keep a small shopping bag for each person in my family, I write their name on it, and as I pick up little fillers, I drop them in their bag. Then I transfer the bag contents into the stockings Christmas Eve. These are things I can do now to ease the pressure on myself later, leaving room for unexpected opportunities or interruptions, or even just for more peace and rest on the actual holidays.

Is there anything you can order online now with free shipping that will save you running around later and check something off your list (more on lists when we cover tip 9)? Go ahead and order it so you don’t have to think about it anymore.

  1. What can you get done while you’re out and about anyways?

Will you be near a store where you need to shop? Will you be in an area of town that would be a great spot to take care of some of your errands? Do it. Even if you have plenty of time, get as much done soon so you aren’t worrying about it later.

  1. What can you get done when you have downtime at home or while you’re out?

For example, James and I watch an hour or so of TV in the evening. If I have “mindless” work I can do while hanging out in front of the TV, I’ll set it aside during the day and do things that require my full attention or I’m not able to do while watching TV. Then that evening, I’ll get the mindless tasks knocked out and off my plate. Same thing if I have an appointment or a break between commitments where I know I’m likely to have time to kill. I’ll set aside tasks I can bring along to do while I wait in a waiting room or between appointments. This frees my time at home to be productive toward what can only be done at home.

Are you sending a Christmas letter? Write it or stuff and address envelopes while you’re killing time doing something else. If you have a means for mobile online shopping, like an iPad, bring it and your Christmas list. Research gifts, check and send emails, etc. Use dead time to buy time for other things later.

We’re all going to have last-minute surprises and frustrations. When we plan ahead, choose tasks wisely, intentionally allocate our time and do as much as we can early, we allow space in our lives for the unexpected. Having a plan and planning ahead positions us to roll with the unplanned with more grace than a crazy woman frantically trying to get too much done all at the last minute (not that I know anyone who gets like that…).

Join me tomorrow for Tip Seven: Allow for Interruptions for a Meaningful, Manageable & Memorable Christmas. And have a great cyber-Monday!

This series of tips is filling in the framework of The 3 M’s of a Merry Christmas. If you’ve missed a few tips along the way, you’ll find all ten here: 10 Tips for Making Christmas Meaningful, Manageable & Memorable.