The short of it is this-anything, I mean anything you can do ahead of time (esp. during your school breaks) to be prepared down the road will not only ensure a much smoother and more organized year for you and your students.
What do I mean by that? Well, if you have a project like I do, covering the states-that requires much printing and cutting of components to be sure it is ready to go into the box as I pack them (nothing more frustrating and annoying when you go to fill it, only to find you have to stop, hunt down the resources, print, cut and then load them into the said boxes! Talk about a time stealer and big reason why folks stop using the WKBX or any system-they get overwhelmed and slowed down by the details) you need to be prepared...so by being PRO-active in your planning-you can save your sanity with just a few dedicated hours BEFORE you get anywhere near that point of the lesson.
That means you will have to some pre-planning of the things you will want to cover (I say do the first 1/2 of your year-don't get crazy-as it will be too much to figure out). Then decide what you will need for those projects, find your resources and print anything you need (cut/label and put into Ziplocks-then file in a safe place) so that when you come to that point in your studies-all you do is pull out the goodie bag and place it in the workbox. I did the first 15 states and all their little pieces we would need for my son's project. I then kept them in a safe place and pulled out the parts I needed as we went along-HUGE time saver and it kept us on track with our lessons. Talk about a major blessing. Yes, I had to devote a good couple weeks of my summer vaca to this but in the long run it kept my schedule in the fall flowing beautifully. During the Christmas holiday, I did a bit more of my cluster planning/prepackaging so that we could continue on in the new year seamlessly.
Even if you work on it a day here and there, in the long run you will have a nice pile of material all set and ready to go. Heck if you know another mom who is going to be doing the same/similar study, why not turn it into a group effort? You can make it more fun and interesting when working together, the time will go much more quickly and you will have some bonding time too. I suggest that you get yourself a mother's helper to keep the kids busy so that you can devote chunks of time "focusing" on the projects at hand.
There is my wisdom on being "Busy as a Bee" in preparing for your future studies. Planning doesn't have to be a chore and it most definitely will save you much more time and energy down the road!