...because we all have our motley moments!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Note to self...

Seriously, that's what today's blog is about--writing notes to yourself. Let me explain...

Last year's holiday season nearly did it for me--by New Year's I wanted to throw every last piece of holiday cheer into the landfill. The season started badly with an overzealous cookie making campaign, and it ended with all of us so exhausted that we didn't even have our traditional New Year's Eve Christmas together. It was just too much.

After things had cooled down, I asked myself why I was so overwhelmed, and I realized there were several things I could have done differently. Of course, hind sight is 20/20 as they say, but I decided to give future-me a hand with this season.

We keep our family calendar on our Outlook software and it allows me to make appointments well into the next century. Last year I went to the key dates of this year (like the day after Thanksgiving when we decorate) and I left myself strategic notes that would pop up as a reminder. For the past few weeks I've been getting notes about keeping Christmas cookies simple, where to find the decorations I bought on clearance after Christmas last year, and tips on how to make things simpler. Not only is it just plain funny to get notes from myself magically delivered each day, but it's pretty helpful, too. I remember how exhausted-me was desperate to ensure this year was nothing like last year, and I appreciate her efforts. Just when I'm tempted to over-extend, I get a little note and it whips me back into reality.

So, whether you keep a digital calendar or a paper one, I encourage you to take notes this year to help with next year (or next week if need be), and be sure to put them in a place where they will be found. Enjoy the holiday season, and take care of yourself!

If you could leave yourself a note today to make the holidays better for your family, what would it say?


Bryssy said...

I love that you write notes to yourself! I am big on email. I email myself at the end of every work day - a list of items I need to do the next day. I use my in-box as a GTD (getting things done - yes, I am into that cool-aid so to speak). Everything in my in-box is an item I need to do and I only delete or file it when that item is done.

I use my calendar for the previous year to plan out things, too. For instance, last year on the date of the LW Christmas parade I wrote, "sat on front porch w/ hot chocolate - no waiting!" I wrote down deals that I got in person and online that I may want again. I even wrote "that sucked" over one event in particular - we won't be repeating it this year.

So far, my holidays have been much less stressful....we'll see how it goes from here!!

Rachel said...

Bryssy, writing on last year's calendar is a great idea--I especially like that you record deals you got the year before. When you think about it, most of the time deals repeat themselves yearly, especially holiday deals. Why not be prepared? Noting things that DIDN'T work is great, too--sometimes it's easy to sugar-coat the past and end up in the same place not having any fun AGAIN!

Glad it's going well this year! Hopefully we'll make it through and have some fun this time around! :)

Tara said...

this is such a cool idea. I put so much in my blackberry now. I also send texts to myself to remind myself of things. But having notes from year to year is a really neat idea!

Liz said...

I want to know exactly how you write these notes. Did you type, "Dear Rachel," etc., or do you just put something in the subject line? Do you sign it, "Love, Rachel," or what?
You know I'm just being funny. I like this idea a lot. I wish I was so organized! Every day I think, "Wow, I should buy some people some Christmas presents," but I haven't done anything about it yet. :)

fawnda said...

I Love this idea... My hubby has been pushing me to use outlook as our family calendar (instead of the one on the wall) this might be the push that i needed! :) He will be so thankful! :)

I Think most of all I would write myself to start shopping earlier...it always seems like I am doing that last minute.

Donna said...

Me, too, Fawnda! No matter how prepared I think I am, I always end up scrambling for something at the last minute. And my husband would also LOVE to have our calendar on computer...I just haven't spent the time on it yet.

Rachel's notes probably start with "To Relaxed Holiday Me -" and end with "Sincerely, Last Year's Frazzled, Overworked, Overbaked Holiday Me...Please don't do this to me again!"

Love the Notes to Self idea!

Lindsay said...

I have learned over the years that I can't be too detailed in my lists. I keep a written calender (that I can take with me), with the things on it that HAVE to be done, and I write it what we already did. Then I have another list in a notebook that also goes with me, that has the things I would like to do "if I have time". I can't plan out each and every day or it makes me go crazy. This system works great for me. So IF we get to the baking then great, if not there's always next year, but I will remember to bring cookies (even if they are store bought), to that activity I signed up for...kwim?

So two simple lists at my house:
Have to do
Would like to do

Rachel said...

Liz, the nice thing about using Outlook to do it is that I don't have to be organized--once typed, the messages are automatic. Usually I subject them "Please Read"--that's an attention grabber for me, like in a spy movie. ;) How the message is written usually depends on how I was feeling at the time, so sometimes they are pretty comical.

I should also mention that Outlook will sync to Google Calendar, so even though Outlook is desktop based, I can access the calendar anywhere (very important for me because we travel so often). I have the online calendar set to sync with my Outlook calendar every day, so it is always up to date. I love it!