Written by Kara Candler
Tips From a Personal Concierge For Managing Holiday Madness
I was a budding entrepreneur, even in high school. I started a small home and pet-sitting business that was very successful. It matured along with me, and as my life changed, my business evolved into a streamlined personal concierge service.
In my line of work, organization and the cultivation of relationships are key, but there are countless tips and tricks of my trade that you can apply to your own life. December is the most wonderful time of the year, but for most of us, it also happens to be the busiest and the most stressful. Between shopping, meal preparation, gift-wrapping, parties, and visiting friends and family, there is hardly a moment to actually enjoy the season.
My business begins to spike at the start of November, as clients focus on important holiday preparations. I run around like one of Santa’s elves, doing anything and everything to make their lives easier and less chaotic. I stay busy, so they don’t have to. Because if you are like so many of the guests I work with, you hardly have a moment to go to the grocery store, let alone complete all of those holiday-related tasks. So I’m pulling back the curtain and showing you some of the tricks of the concierge trade to help make this month both memorable and manageable. Take it from someone who has to stay organized in order to make a living. There are loads of ways to streamline your To Do List. Here are some of my favorites:
Kara’s Seven Steps to Streamline the Season
1 Create a technology toolbox.
Technology is both a blessing and a necessary evil, so try making it an asset rather than a liability. I love my Apple Watch. I use its Apple Pay function to expedite my process at checkout.
2 Conquer your calendar.
By automating reminders and to do lists, you free up your brain to concentrate on other things like your family and friends (or maybe a long overdue Netflix binge).
3 Embrace the Internet.
Ordering household expendables online, like cleaning supplies, is another great timesaver. If you order a bit more than you need, you’re less likely to run out when you have a few spare moments to tidy up. And speaking of cleaning…
4 Eliminate all or nothing thinking when it comes to household chores.
Rather than tell yourself that you have to clean the whole house on a single day, schedule those tasks throughout the week. For example, I choose to clean one room per day. That way, by week’s end, the whole place is in good order, and I’m ready for those unexpected seasonal drop-ins.
5 Stay healthy.
I try to keep my exercise routine consistent: cardio for the heart; yoga for the mind and spirit. Exercise moderates my stress level and helps me stay focused. I take lots of vitamin C, zinc, and drink hot tea, too.
6 Create a support network.
I couldn’t get through my company’s busiest time of year without my family. They pitch in by walking my dog, running errands, and even assist with my grocery shopping. Believe it or not, even a professional concierge can’t do it alone, so don’t be a hero, ask for help!
7 Try not to sweat the small stuff.
I remind myself daily that this time of year is crazy for everyone, but it is temporary. January comes just in time for everyone to re-group.
If all goes according to plan, my clients’ holidays will be stress-free and meticulously organized, thanks to my careful planning and execution. But my own Christmas tree will probably look more like Charlie Brown’s than George Vanderbilt’s. There really are only so many hours in the day after all. Some of my shopping will be last minute, more than a few of my gifts will be in bags, and many a hurried meal will be catered rather than home cooked. Who has time to plan a menu when I’m dashing to the post office to overnight a last minute gift? I’m okay with it. I love what I do for my clients – and welcome the opportunity to bring peace of mind to the people who allow me to live out my dream of being a small business owner in the city I have known and loved for so long.
Kara Candler is the founder and owner of Tick-Tock Concierge in Asheville, North Carolina.