By The Home Mover Property search agent in Surrey

I love a good deadline – there’s nothing like a good deadline to focus the mind and stop any procrastination.

However, for some it is exactly the opposite – it just adds stress and hassle and takes all the fun out of life.

Let’s take Christmas as a good example – it’s on the same day each year, so by now I could be completely organized and ready. However, if it weren’t for the last minute rush, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas to me. But are you like me and relish getting it all done in a tight timetable, or are you like my friend who is now in a blind panic and can’t wait for it to be over as the mother-in-law is arriving, the presents need wrapping (and in some cases still haven’t been bought), the kids are due home with 10 of their closest friends for the weekend and there’s no food in the fridge?

It doesn’t actually matter because it’s the same plan of action for both of us – except she’s probably further along than me. So can we do it with low stress and some enjoyment?

Smile as much as possible.

Start by smiling and taking time over a cup of coffee/tea/glass of wine to write a list of everything that needs doing:

By person – their Christmas present, its’ wrapping and delivery status

By day – quantities of guests and food and drink for each meal

By room – what needs doing (beds made, decorations put up)

And then turn it into bite size chunks and smile – loud music helps too.

Last minute Christmas present shopping can be the most fun – every shop is playing tinned Christmas music, most of them have sales on and if you walk around with a smile on your face (no matter how un-smiley you feel), it’s amazing how quickly it makes you feel festive. And if you can’t face the shops – buy Amazon gift vouchers where you can upload a photo of yourself on the card, print it off yourself and send it first class. And smile.

Food – if you love cooking, great – my favourite cook books of the year are Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg – decide what you’re going to cook for each meal, write a shopping list and get someone to deliver it. Don’t get the delivery for Christmas Eve as there might be vital ingredients missing and you don’t want to be shopping when everyone else is enjoying a drink together. And smile.

And if you don’t like to cook – go straight to your local Cook shop and buy it ready done. They’ve got your complete Christmas meal in a box ready and a wide selection of other meals – I highly recommend their Lasagna Al Forno and every single one of their puddings. And smile.

By room – get ahead, or get help. Sort one room at a time and then shut the door. It might not be perfect but it’s fine and you can always come back to it at the end if there’s enough time. And smile.

So – have a wonderful Christmas. The day will come; getting stressed about it wont help but smiling through it all will.