From Dread to Delight: Get Creative and Take Control Of Your Holiday To-Do List

Posted December 9, 2012 by Melissa Foster in Features

During the holiday season, there is a tendency to feel dread for the things that either a) need to be done or b) we just FEEL have to be done, but they don’t really.

And the crazy thing is…we don’t typically attempt to think outside of the box and figure out a way to get it done without experiencing the DREAD and RESISTANCE associated with these holiday tasks and projects.

Sometimes we can’t even motivate ourselves enough to start the project/task. So this incomplete “stuff” just lingers in our head as a stress inducer and is the source of an energy drain.

So, here you will find some very simple solutions to eliminate the dread that you may experience around the holidays.

Pinpoint the Dread-Inducing Triggers

Create a to-do list for the day or for the holidays. (If this task alone sounds daunting…look at it this way: you’ve got this stuff swimming around in your head anyway. You’re not hiding from anything by keeping it in your noggin. Get it out of your head and onto paper.)

Look at each item on the list, think about doing it, and notice how you feel in your body. Do you feel a degree of heaviness, or sinking, contracting…anything that feels SHACKLES ON (like you have a ball and chain attached to you)? Or do you feel SHACKLES OFF (light and free)?

This part about checking in with your body is very important and often overlooked. The more you check in to see what that perfect machine (your body) is telling you – the better. Always move towards a sense of FREEDOM (Shackles Off) and away from the Shackles On sensations.

Now, go down your list and rank each item according to your physical response from 0-10.

Zero = pure delight to complete the task. (Shackles Off)

10 = you’d rather swallow Clorox Cleanup. (Shackles On)

Choose the most aversive item on your to-do list and ask yourself the following questions to see where you can apply one of the Three B’s:

Apply One Of The “Three B’s”


Can you BAG this activity all together?

Oftentimes this one FEELS like a big NO. I want you to step into the mindset that you don’t HAVE TO do anything. You may CHOOSE TO, but you don’t HAVE TO.

Can you feel the shift from disempowered to empowered? Now, ask yourself again: Can you bag this activity or do you choose to keep it?

If you choose to keep this item on your to-do list, then go to the next B…


Can you BARTER this activity by trading or delegating some or all of the elements that you are dreading? Who needs something you can give or a service you could render in exchange for doing the thing you most dislike?

The other option here is to pay someone or a service to help you get the job done. Your time is valuable. Would it be worth it to pay someone to help out with this?

And don’t look to what other’s might say or think…this is your happiness and sanity we’re talking about here!

Or there’s the third B option…


Can you BETTER this activity by adding elements that create your own spin? Can you jam out to a mixed tape of your favorite tunes while wrapping gifts? Or play an interesting book on tape while you are baking the holiday cookies for the party?

Get creative here! What could you do to make your dreaded activity or task BETTER?


If you believe that there is nothing you can do to Bag, Barter, or Better your worst responsibilities – you are lying to yourself (not deliberately, but it’s a lie nonetheless).

Take responsibility for your happiness and raise your joy-meter! Bit by bit, little by little. It all adds up.


About the Author

Melissa Foster

A productivity consultant for startups founders and entrepreneurs, Melissa Foster is on a mission to help her clients and readers create flow in their lives... and get big things done. A certified life coach, Melissa's hyper-focused, energetic approach is coupled with wisdom, warmth, and wit. You can get more from Melissa by visiting her website.