Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strategies for Minimizing Wedding Planning Stress

I had every intention of planning thoughtfully and deliberately for my trip to Western Massachusetts. I wanted to have a plan for my self-development that included books, my yoga mat, and my Spanish-language learning CDs.

Instead, I found myself frantically and frenetically running around my house at 6:00am the day of my departure. Matt insisted that we leave the house at 6:30, and I didn't want to get up any earlier than 6 because I had stayed up late watching a movie.

Some people work best with high-energy bursts of productivity that stem from periods of procrastination. I just don't happen to be one of them. I don't want to find myself in the same place when Matt and I get ready to leave for our honeymoon or when I get ready to start school this year. Last year, I had a bona fide anxiety attack at 4am when I finally finished my preparation for the first day of school and tried to fall asleep.

I have tons of strategies in my Toolkit O' Organization and Time Management. Unfortunately, I don't always use them. In fact, I oftentimes actively rebel against them.

Don't get me wrong; there is absolutely a time to break free from the shackles of effectiveness and efficiency. There are times to breathe and just be.

However, in order to "breathe and just be" on my honeymoon, I need to make sure that a whole host of stuff gets done before I go. It's time to pull out some of my favorites personal management strategies and kick them into high gear:
  1. Keep a centralized to-do list: I often find myself thinking of something I have to do and neglecting to write it down. Sometimes I am able to re-remember the item and actually get it done. Othertimes, I neglect to get it done and don't realize it until it's too late. Either way, I'm not being as effective as I am if I just write something down (in a centralized place). If we hold things in our heads, we waste mental energy re-remembering them over and over again. I say "centralized" to-do list because if we jot everything down everywhere, we waste a ton of energy trying to corral our thoughts. During my first year of teaching, sticky notes were my preferred system. What a disaster! They were everywhere. They were never prioritized. They would sneak up on me and frighten me. A centralized to-do list can take a lot of different forms: a notebook, Outlook, a website, a binder, etc. The trick is to pick one system and use it consistently. I also keep a centralized list of books to read, gifts to buy people, things I need from the grocery store/office supply store/Target, movies to watch, and things to do someday.
  2. Process e-mail effectively: E-mail can be the bane of my existence. It demands so much maintenance and energy. It helps if I follow the advice of David Allen: if an e-mail will take two minutes or less to respond to, I go ahead and do it. If it will take longer than that, I move it into my "action" folder in my inbox and add it as a to-do item on my to-do list. Also, if I'm trying to work at my computer, I turn my e-mail off. It's so inefficient to constantly flip back and forth. It's better to process e-mail in batches.
  3. Keep paper under control: I have a filing system that helps me keep my piles under control. I have a folder for "action required", "upcoming", and "to be filed." As I open mail or get more paperwork at work, I try to process it into one of these folders (or into the trash). If something requires action, I put it in the folder and then diligently add it to my to-do list (if I don't write it down, it never gets done). If I know I'll need something soon (like a boarding pass, meeting agenda, or directions), I put it in my "upcoming folder" so I'll immediately know where to access it when I need it. Finally, I put things in my "to be filed" folder and--once a month--I file everything in the folder into another system.
My pre-honeymoon to-do list is 33 items deep. I'll work as hard as I can to get stuff done (and then I'll write a post about crossing off entire items on your to-do list without getting them done and forgiving yourself in the process...)

Share |


Marina said...

My centralized wedding list right now is a grid. Across the top the columns are labeled "higher priority" and "lower priority", and down the side the rows are labeled "sooner" and "later". It doesn't necessarily help me get the time-sensitive higher priority items done sooner, but it does help me find a task that fits my mood. If I want to Get Something Important Done I can find it, and if I want a low stress but important project I can find one of those, and if I just want to cross some small tasks off my list already I can go straight to those.

Trey said...

very nice tips for minimising wasteful expenses.

Lisa said...

Google Docs is nice for keeping centralized lists while minimizing paperwork. Especially if you use multiple computers throughout a week.

Ali said...

I LOVE google docs too. There is also the new "task list" that pops up in your email. I work at a computer so it's easy for me to add to the electronic list. Then I print it out for the weekend. It has been especially useful to share lists with my fiance and parents.

Related Posts with Thumbnails