If I could provide one single tip to encompass all of the fundamental concepts of time management, goal setting and self-mastery, it would be this. Be thankful for what you have and the fact that you have the opportunity to have any circumstances at all. Each day, and even each moment, is an opportunity for you to begin to create the kind of world that you want for yourself.
You have the same 24 hours in each day as every other person walking the earth and who has ever walked the Earth before you. This doesn't mean that you are no more special than any of those other people. It means that you are just as special as all of those other people.
During the holidays it is most likely that you will have a bit of chaos. Things will happen that are outside of your plans. To have the most stress free holidays with your friends and family set your goals for what you actually want as an outcome and then focus on the actions necessary to get you to that outcome without getting hung up on the possible roadblocks and bumps you might encounter along the way. When you focus more on what's actually important, instead of focusing on the little problems, you'll find that you get more done, you feel less stress, and you'll be able to enjoy your time with your friends and family.
Time management is essential for having a successful holiday season, however if there is lack of motivation, time management can be a struggle. Motivation is maintained by focusing on the goals that you have set for yourself about the kind of a holiday that you want. This form of time management and goal setting doesn't have to be formal, but you should at least make a list of the things that are important for you to achieve this holiday season. Then you can put actions in your to do last that lead you to the completion in the achievement of those goals. Remember: a goal is not a to do list item. Your to do list is for the actions that you should be taking to achieve those goals.
If you are planning a big meal for friends and family, try changing some of the habits that you normally have for keeping track of your goals and to do list items. Clear off a section of your refrigerator door and put up a magnetic whiteboard. Or get different colored sticky notes and color code different to do list items and post them in locations where those actions are most likely to happen. If there are holiday tasks that another friend or family member is going to complete, partner with a friend or loved one who can help keep track of those tasks and come up with backup plans in case that person is unable to complete it on time. This way you're not focusing on managing other people's tasks as well as trying to take action on your own.
But again remember how lucky you are and be thankful that you do have friends, family and loved ones to share these holiday times with. Sometimes it's the chaotic events and little mistakes that make the best stories in years to come. So cherish all the moments you have and focus on the many, many things that you have to be thankful about this holiday season.
Dave Saunders is a professional lecturer, and enjoys creating life-interconnections through his writings and lectures. You can find out more about time management at http://www.the-time-management-guy.com An audio version of this article can be found at http://www.the-time-management-guy.com/Time_To_Be_Thankful.html