5 Time Management Tips for a Less Stressful Advent

Think back to when you were a kid, and the countdown to Christmas was filled with excitement and anticipation. Maybe you had an Advent calendar, and each day that was closer to Christmas brought a fresh burst of joy. Christmas just couldn’t come soon enough! Now that you’re an adult, do you have that same sense of joy and anticipation? Or does each day that gets closer to Christmas bring a fresh burst of stress?

It’s easy to let the tasks and activities of the holidays (on top of your daily responsibilities) make it a season of stress rather than a season of joy. Lisa Mladinich, a Catholic author and life coach, stopped by Morning Air® to help you manage your time this Advent so that you can recapture the joy and anticipation of this beautiful season.

Mladinich explained that she’s not up on a pedestal scolding people for succumbing to the stress. Time management is something that she struggles with too. “I’m the worst, and that’s why I’ve made such a study of it,” she told Morning Air host Glen Lewerenz. “I’m just one of those people who is pulled in too many different directions. And I think most of us can relate to that.”

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Mladinich shared that she found a lot of wisdom in the book Time Management: A Catholic Perspective by Marshall J. Cook. Drawing on tips she learned from Marshall’s book and her own experience, she shared five time management tips to help you have a more peaceful Advent.

It’s Not Always About a Lack of Time
This one I relate to on a deep level. Sometimes we are simply averse to certain tasks, and those create stress for us because they are just not getting done. And that’s what makes us feel mentally cluttered and overwhelmed. So what Cook says is to schedule the tasks that you usually avoid, and just stick to the schedule. Just keep getting them done. It’s really empowering, it’s very stress relieving, and then you don’t have that constant feeling of panic.

Positive Reframing
If all that decorating is overwhelming, think about just doing the things that truly reveal beauty to your family. Because God speaks through beauty. Most families are a little brokenhearted about the people who no longer practice their faith, and beauty speaks to our hearts and our minds in a way that nothing else can, especially during a busy season. So little things that are beautiful around the home can make a big difference, instead of trying to make our homes look like the Macy’s windows.

Make Time
Where is our time going? This is really important, and it can be hard to develop this kind of self-awareness. It’s one of the truths out of Marshall Cook’s book is that it’s about making time. He says that when you make time for a task you don’t actually create more time, you take it from something else. But the way that we can make time is to really be more conscious of how we normally spend our time during Advent that causes us to be so stressed.

Identify What’s Important
Every year I ask my family the same question. What’s the thing that’s going to make it feel most like Christmas for you? And we make sure to do that one thing, at the very least. For me, it’s going caroling with friends, for my daughter it’s opening presents on Christmas morning with Grandma, for my husband it’s a particular gathering with friends.

Multi-task in Fun Ways
Listen to music or watch a great Christmas movie while you bake, or do your cards, or decorate the tree.  Try to pull some things together that are a blessing to you and your family while you are moving that ball forward on your many, many tasks.

Listen to the full conversation below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/4:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.