What’s behind the door of Day 16 of the Build a Better You Advent Calendar?

An Internal Family Systems (IFS) method to stay organized during the holidays.


Your 3-Step Plan to Holiday Organization

Yesterday I wrote about parts or the little people inside of you that form the orchestra of your mind. The Internal Family Systems (IFS) framework thinks of everyone as having a family of parts of inside of them. When your Self is in charge, everything runs smoothly inside of you.

When it comes to the holidays we know we are walking into a disruption of routines. This is unfortunate. Because believe or not, we thrive on our habits and our routines. When we have them it frees up our working memory to do other things and have more fun. When we have good manager parts our life runs smoother and we have fewer messes to clean up from not planning or organizing.

Who are these manager parts, according to IFS?

IFS describes 2 types of parts: protectors and exiles. We’re only going to talk about one type of protector part today: managers.

When we look inside ourselves and see what different parts are in charge of ourselves we can see that we have specific manager parts that get us out of bed and out the door to arrive at our destination on time. If they didn’t manage our lives we probably wouldn’t have a life.

You do have this manager part although yours might not be as trained or in shape as your siblings or friends. It is not too late to start training your manager part(s) to show up every day with a plan.

It is time to intentionally invite them out during this holiday to help you out but in a more organized calm way and not a frenzied too much to do way.

Put your manager parts to work so you can relax during the holidays

Plan Do and Review is a tried and true method of creating order out of chaos and contentment from the dissatisfaction of having too much to do.

Having a specific doing plan using your brilliant managers actually does give you more time to “be” in any way you prefer. It frees up your time to relax and enjoy being in the holidays.

An example of putting Plan Do and Review in action would be mailing holiday gifts in time to meet deadlines. When you don’t plan, the consequences hit hard on your wallet. Priority and Express shipping don’t come cheap.

So instead, plan do and review.

First step: Before going to bed tonight, make a plan to do 3 of those extra holiday tasks the next day.

  • Make, wrap, and send presents by noon on Saturday.
  • Arrange a place and make a reservation to meet friends for lunch next weekend. (It’s always good to know you’ll be stepping into something fun in the near future)
  • Extend help to a family member or friend today.

Second step: Wake up, do the plan, and of course be prepared that the plan will change. Maybe the post office is closed, or your friends are busy. Plans fall away or adapt.

Third step: At the end of the day, review. How did the plan go? What changed? How will I adapt a plan for tomorrow? Then plan it. Do it. Review it. And repeat!

Those holiday extras will actually get done. Your managers have it under control.

When we do what was say we will do it builds trust not just with other but also inside ourselves and we feel happier.

Plan Do and Review is a Process, Not a Perfect

To organize plan and anticipate takes skill. Skill that we have gradually acquired over living. Some of us got an earlier start having caretakers with these skills who ran our lives and we observed how it is done and learn ourselves to employ these manager parts.

Basically, the plan do and review is a template to consciously use your manager parts and then watch how satisfied you are with the outcome you consciously helped to create. Not only do you get things done, you feel more content and feel like you can trust yourself to do what you say your will do. That builds inner confidence.

plan do review