Tuesday, August 18

Planning for Fall

Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to in the last couple weeks has said the same thing: where did the summer go? No matter what they’ve been occupied with, everyone agrees that time is going by much too quickly.

Very aware of the fleeting days myself, I dedicated a morning recently to planning for Fall. Fall is my favorite season, especially now that we have a house and are immersed in the glorious colors and scents of the season. At the same time, Fall tends to be an incredibly stressful for me if I am not careful; summer canning season too easily barrels straight into winter prep, and then the holidays are upon us. I do not enjoy the holidays if I am not prepared for them… which is kind of terrible, considering many people I know and love consider Christmas their favorite time of year!

Starting last year, I made a new Simple Rule for myself: by September every year, I will make complete lists of the cards and gifts I will need for the holidays. Shopping will be done by Thanksgiving, and cards written and mailed the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Following that rule last year completely changed my experience of the holidays. This year, I decided to build on that success by sitting down early with my calendar and a loose Fall Bucket List to address the things we always want to do but never are on top of ahead of time (and therefore usually miss). Now I'm looking ahead to Fall with anticipation. The days will continue to be busy, but I have a good view of what’s coming and feel like I’m diving in with intention and potential – not being thrown in headlong and scattered.

If you’re looking to hit your Fall/Holiday season with similar intention, here are a few tips and resources I use that might help you get started:

1    Coffee Date with Your Calendar
Make a coffee date with yourself (and your spouse if appropriate) and your planner (whatever kind/method you use) to sit down and double check that everything you already know about is in there - appointments, work projects, travel, etc. Block out date nights, girls/guys nights out, project time, mandatory “down days”, and anything else that is a priority so that it’s locked in before things get crazy. (If you're a visual learner, use colors!)

Bonus Tip: Don't forget to include your favorites from this list of Geek Holidays, because things like Eat Like a Hobbit Day will definitely make your Fall more fun!

2    Bucket List
Though I never make a formal bucket list, I’ve always got a mental list of things we either did last year and loved, or wanted to do but missed. Make time in your scheduling session to make a list of things you loved/wanted to do but missed and then follow up on them! Think OctoberFest, Harvest Festivals, Christmas Lights displays,family movie nights, walks in crisp autumn air - big or little, if the idea sparks joy in you, make sure you include it!

Bonus Tip: Start a list/folder/envelope for tracking events or bucket list ideas you want to remember for next Fall to put yourself ahead of the game in 2016.
3    Christmas Card & Gift Lists
Scattered Squirrel offers free downloadable planning lists for tracking Christmas cards and gifts, including helpful check boxes that let you track when things were purchased, sent, and received, as well as columns for retailer and cost that help you organize your shopping and plan your budget. (You could also easily make something like this in excel, which would do the math for you.) Don't forget to include hostess gifts on your list if you expect to attend dinners and parties where you'll need to bring some!

Bonus Tip: Consider selecting/ordering Christmas cards (or scheduling the family photo shoot for them) while you're making your list. This is also a great time to update/double check any addresses you'll need before cards can be mailed.

4    Backup Meals & Snacks
I consider backup meals and snacks one of the absolute best ways to build some grace into busy weeks. Whether that means (clean) boxed mac & cheese tucked in the pantry or pre-prepped homemade meals dropped in the freezer ready for a quick reheat, having  good, clean, comforting foods ready to go at a moment’s notice can be a life-saver. A generous stock of healthy, shelf-stable snacks can be equally appreciated amidst busy days.

Bonus Tip: Give yourself some extra grace by keeping a fool-proof go-to option on hand for last-minute get togethers. Make and freeze pies or cookies, stock fruit and oatmeal (frozen or canned) for almost-instant crisp, or find a great recipe you can reliably whip up with little time and no fuss. (My go-to is 20 minute chocolate mousse!) 

Are you still firmly in summer mode, or are you planning for Fall already too?

No comments:

Post a Comment