How to Simplify Your Thoughts this Christmas

November 22, 2023

what’s your go-to journal


I'm a professional organizer, wife, mom, and South Carolina native passionate about making women's lives easier. I'm so glad you're here!


There are a million thoughts running through our heads all the time – at least that’s how it is for me. I’m always thinking about all the things that I need to get done. Sometimes I spend so much time just thinking about everything that I don’t actually get anything accomplished.

That’s when I’ve started writing down all my thoughts, figuring out my priorities, and choosing a certain number of things to do every day.

Sometimes my thoughts keep me up at night, so I keep a notepad on my nightstand. This way I can get those thoughts down on paper and go back to sleep peacefully knowing that my thoughts will be on there in the morning.

Do you find yourself in the same space as me? Follow along on the three practices that help me get centered this time of year (and who am I kidding, every time of year!).

But remember, you don’t have to find the perfect silver bullet that makes your life 1,000x better.


Try something to reduce your stress and increase your joy and repeat and tweak until you get it right. 

At Upstate Organized Living, we call that “refining.” We are always in the process of refining. Don’t be afraid to fail. As Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail. I just learned 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.”

This Christmas, steal my ideas for organizing your thoughts and let me know what sticks! 


Are you a journaler? Personally I love a brain dump on a graph paper. This notebook is my favorite!

Are you a doodler? Try a blank notebook from a craft store, bound or spiraled, like this one from Michael’s.

And there’s always a traditional lined journal. This is a gorgeous one from Rifle Paper Company, but you can get great lined notebooks EVERYWHERE.

Budget solutions? Composition notebooks and cheap spiral notebooks are hard to beat in a pinch. 

Something else? Lots of people love whiteboards for organizing their thoughts! 


Stream of consciousness. Bullet points. Get it all out. 

Once you get all those thoughts down on paper, >>> the next step is to figure out which ones are most important and which ones need to get done first.

I like to circle the top 3 things I want to get done because I feel like that’s a good number to start with that’s not too unrealistic.

What’s taking up the most real estate in your brain? Is it to-do items? Circle the THREE that need to get done first. Is your list made up of interpersonal relational concerns? Circle the top THREE that receive most of your brain space. 

3. Prioritize. 

It’s easier to figure out what order you need to get things done in if you know what your priorities are. Your priorities are the things that are most important to you, WHY you do what you do, no matter WHAT you do. Make your priorities your building blocks for to do’s.

A BOUS STEP: If you’re really feeling this process, you might also try categorizing your thoughts. It’s the same thing we do when organizing a physical space: we take it ALL out then group things into categories. 

This can help you if you’re stuck on identifying those stressors or your priorities. See what patterns are jumping off the page. 

Your categories might be

  • Fears
  • Stressors
  • Family stressors
  • Gifts
  • Meals
  • Spiritual wants/needs
  • Wins
  • What worked in past years
  • Hopes & Dreams
  • Food allergies
  • Guest Lists of who’s coming to stay
  • Sales
  • Your personal list
  • Bible verses that encourage you

Ok one last thought… if you’re the type of person who likes to see things in a chronological order, consider getting yourself a whiteboard and start numbering your to-do list. This will help you see what order you are doing things in, which will help keep you from wandering around in circles wondering what to do next.

I hope these help you this holiday season, just learning and loving and trying new things. Life is always going to be challenging, but there IS HOPE that we can try new things and build new habits to give us some margin for peace. I hope this dump & prioritize habit helps you this Christmas season. Cheering you on over here.

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Upstate Organized Living creates real-life solutions for your everyday needs. Serving Greenville, Greer, Easley, Taylors, Traveler's Rest, and other Upstate South Carolina communities. 




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