The last quarter of the year is an incredibly busy time for most people. From holiday gifts to annual goal-setting, Alice shares her 4th quarter Bullet Journal and planning strategies.
How to Prepare Yourself for the Last Quarter of the Year
The last quarter of the year is an incredibly busy time for most people. October is a transition month. After back to school season, in fact, we start to wait for the holidays and think about all the things we have to do before the end of the year. I used to feel overwhelmed by that. I ended up forgetting to send holiday and birthday cards, or I would rush around at the last minute to get gifts, only to find I was still missing a couple. I also ended up throwing away all my goals, stopping my journaling habits, and neglecting some “me-time” (a very important thing if you’re an introvert like me).
Luckily, this passion of mine for planners, apps, and productivity taught me a thing or two during the last few years. Today, I’d like to share some tips and tricks to prepare yourself for the last quarter of the year without stressing out at the last minute.
Plan Your Tasks
First of all: Tasks. I have a Bullet Journal, and I use Google Calendar on a daily basis, but for tasks, I rely on Trello.
If you remember my previous post, I have a board dedicated to my master plans and long-term goals there. To tackle the last quarter of the year, I decided to ditch the “This Month” and “Next Month” lists. Instead, I created one for each month. Then I started moving tasks and important dates, like birthdays and holidays. You may use your existing calendar for that, but it actually helps me to see the big picture. Again, my labels color-code my tasks, and I use the same colors of Google Calendar, so it makes things easier for me.
Create a Gift Log
I don’t know about you, but the majority of my friends were born during fall. We even decided to group 2 to 3 people together to celebrate each weekend starting at the end of October! This means gift brainstorming and party planning. I’m the only techy one, so we only use WhatsApp to organize things, but I like to keep a record of the various gifts. After so many years with my friends, we risk repeating ourselves. I have a handy dandy note on Evernote for that purpose (I don’t like spreadsheets and I prefer to be able to easily update the note on my phone). Please, forgive me for not using the original note, but, you know, I try to avoid spoilers! 🙂
As you can see, my set up is very simple. A column for the name of the person, the kind of celebration (I log Christmas presents there, too), the gift, and the price. Another reason why I love to keep it on Evernote rather than my journal is that the note is easily searchable, and I can keep it to reference next year. My journals, on the other hand, tend to finish and be archived pretty quickly.
Perform a Brain Dump
I have to mention that during this process (setting up my Trello board and the Evernote page), I usually start everything with a brain dump in my Bullet Journal. Digital planning is a life saver, but nothing beats pen on paper. It helps me to clear my mind and understand what my next actions have to be. I usually list my “unfinished business” (to quote Kara of Boho Berry) first and then all the things I will have to do that I remember. This messy list will be merged with the stuff I already have planned in Trello.
Check Your Goals
At the beginning of every year, I like to choose a word to guide me. My 2017 word was Magic because I wanted to reconnect myself with my own geeky passions. University was keeping me so busy that I just wanted to watch Netflix during my free time.
I have a list inside my Trello board (scroll up for the photo of my Trello boards) where I broke down my goals into manageable actions. The last quarter of the year is the best time to check my achievements and decide what I’d like to accomplish before the end of the year.
Once I declutter and update my goals list, I drag and drop the cards (wherever I can find time to accomplish them) during October, November, and December. For example, I really want to do a Harry Potter movie marathon, and I’m glad I waited so long since Fall is the perfect time to do it, in my opinion.
Create a Self-care Bucket List
Last, but not least, I like to think about my self-care. No matter what season of life you’re living, I’ve learned that self-care is very important. To make things more fun, I decided to jot down a list of things I’d like to do during this quarter. This is my favorite time of the year, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but I think having a little guidance is essential to not lose track of my me-time.
I’m not a planner decorator nor a talented artist, so my list is pretty bare. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a great reminder of what’s important to me.
I hope you enjoyed my little tips and that you have a great time during this beautiful season! I’d love to hear about your end-of-year planning. What’s you most stressful part of the last quarter of the year? How do you prepare for the New Year?
Don’t be shy, comment below!