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The Holidays and GTD

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  • The Holidays and GTD

    It seems to me that this holiday season is exposing quite efficiently my strengths and weaknesses with respect to GTD. We had a series of events last weekend that went fairly well. My wife is only saying "we're never doing that again" about one of them, so that's pretty good. On the other hand, I'm running out of time to do everything I want or need to do. There are many things to do, and most of them have complicated constraints involving sequencing (e.g. you have to shop for gifts before you give them), time (e.g. I can't shop for groceries on Dec. 25th), planning (if we go shopping, what are we buying?), prioritizing (e.g. what's important here anyway?) and more.

    In any case, I'd like to hear about the challenges others have had, and to ask for any best practices people have found for this time of year.

    Happy Holidays!

  • #2
    I've made extensive use of my @Errands list this week!

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    • #3
      Best and worst practices

      The best thing that I have ever done is to shop for small, and sometimes, larger gifts year around. I have two large plastic totes, one for kids and one for grown ups. The best items are books (put in a clear plastic bag first), good quality costume jewelry, some science kits (the kind that does not have stuff in it that expires) hand crafts, and really nice holiday ornaments. Yankee Candles in the jar with the lid will keep a full fragrance for two years, keep upright in case they get a little warm in summer. So they are good, too. I generally get these items on sale and will put a name on if I intend it for someone in particular. This only works if you have the space and can tie up your money. It also helps if you know what makes quality items in these categories.

      The second best thng I have ever done is to donate to a professional development fund rather than give individual gifts to people at an organization I am quite involved with.

      The third best is for friend with dogs I get them a real bone from the butcher and have it cut down if the dog it small. If it is a dog with no yard, they get a plastic bone that can be chewed even on a carpet.

      The worst thing I have ever done is to try to make a data base of names and addresses and print them out as labels. Some worked and others didn't. Now about half are in Palm and I don't think can become labels from that. The rest are either in the phone book, various organizational directories and my roledex.

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      • #4
        Timing issues

        Timing has been my key issue this year. Had all good intentions to start the process right after Thanksgiving but that went away.

        To recover, the following have been a great help:

        Address Book - kept up-to date throughout the year. I maintain a "holiday mail list" (via iCal sub group). Quick review of this list, some additions plus deletions (around 10) and we were off and running.

        Dymo LableWriter - outputted the address labels directly through the labelwriter and the job was done in 5 minutes. Also keep a couple of spare rolls of labels on hand.

        Cards - on hand. The days after Christmas are a great time to stock up for next year at significantly reduced prices.

        Postage stamps - pre brought a roll of 100 stamps. Stick and go ... no waiting in line at the post office.

        Gifts - lots of internet shopping. I control the time I shop, plus I avoid the crowds/poor in store service. Also gift cards are a great option ... Also drop shipping direct to your love ones.

        Holiday party - held a 35 child party. Pre planning. Mapped it out and used as much pre prepared items as possible. Weather also played a big part as we could get them outside.

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