Christmas is a project. Like it or not, the level of organisation involved ahead of the event is likely to be similar to projects you have met in your career. While others fumble through, as a project manager you are equipped with the know-how to elevate this festive season and achieve the ultimate Christmas Day.
The festive season is a real-world example of where your project management skill set can come into play. A busman's holiday, if you will. Yet, we can’t promise the day will go without a hitch. Families may squabble, and someone may have one too many sherries. But with your talents and our guidance, there will be no burnt dinner or forgotten gifts – not on your watch!
Avoid getting your tinsel in a tangle further down the line with some careful planning in advance. Project managers are by nature very busy people, and the Christmas holidays only add to this. Fit preparations into your schedule to save a bottleneck of tasks closer to the deadline, or in this case, the big day.
Here’s what else you should consider ahead of the event...
While a spreadsheet can be your best friend at work, it may not be the best choice for planning your Christmas. Instead, choose the right tech for the job – banking apps can be invaluable for keeping track of finances on the go. Similarly, your phone is probably already equipped with list making tools, and a calendar for events. Utilise these to your advantage. Make lists and check them twice!
Lists armed at the ready! Just as you do in your role as project manager, assign tasks to others. Get your partner to do half the shopping, or if you have children, get them writing the cards. Just as in the workplace, people feel valued when they have responsibilities, and feel a sense of achievement when they see their hard work paying off. Avoid micromanaging in order to keep morale high.
[Pro tip: Be sure not to delete tasks off your list just because you’ve delegated them. Much like at work, you will need to check in closer to the deadline to ensure they have been completed.]
For some, Christmas is all about having the whole family together, while others may value a quieter affair. Making arrangements with family well in advance will save any wrong assumptions being made by other family members – essentially, risk management.
Location wise, would you love to experience going away for the holidays, or would you prefer to be in the comfort of your own home? Perhaps you need to travel to visit family – would it be more practical to head there a day or two before? Planning any kind of travel and accommodation in advance is paramount over the holidays.
When it comes to planning Christmas Day itself, consider what is important to you. The scope of an ultimate Christmas is perceptive after all.
Take time to map out the day’s activities. Perhaps you’d like to watch the Queen’s speech or go for a walk after Christmas lunch. Be sure to take such things into consideration and schedule around those elements. While some may think you’re mad for even contemplating having a timetable for Christmas Day, chances are you can’t think of anything worse than the chaos that would descend from not having a schedule for the day!
There is no better time for reflection than Christmas and New Year, so cast you mind back to past Christmases and any mistakes made. Just as you would with a project, learn from your failures as well as your success.
Perhaps last year you spent too long in the kitchen and not enough time socialising? Maybe you forgot to source an extra chair for the dining table and had to bring in the garden furniture? It’s important to consider what can be improved going forward.
Be sure not to lose sight of what’s important – Christmas is supposed to be fun after all. Think of your family as stakeholders to this event – they are invested in its success too. Keep motivation up by reminding them of the end goal. All of you and your teams’ preparations are working towards the Ultimate Christmas Day, whatever that might mean to you.
Think of this guide as our gift to you, some simple guidance to help you achieve a well-executed Christmas day. A success you can savour.