Surviving the Holidays Productively

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(image from Flickr)

Are you the kind of person who runs around during the Christmas holidays like an insane chicken, trying to get that last gift bought, that last card sent out, etc, etc?  Or do you get everything done ahead of time and just relax the week or two before Christmas day, baking cookies and just enjoying yourself?

Either way, the holidays often seem like a fun (or crazy), but somewhat unproductive time of year, other than building relationships with family and friends.  I’ve been doing really well recently, getting at least 100-200 words written a day, sometimes even closer to a thousand words per day!  But, I know that number is going to drop in the next two weeks, especially once family gets here, and I am dreading it. I also know that I will have a very difficult time getting back into a good writing schedule even once everything else gets back to normal.

Check Your Priorities

When things get busy, very often we lose sight of the truly important things.  This is why it is a very good idea to look at your priorities often. It is not necessary to go to every single party or event, but it is important to manage your time carefully and decide how much you can do without driving yourself and everyone else around you insane.

What is your personality?  If you are an extrovert, you may want to go to all kinds of events simply because it is fun and enjoyable!  You will need to be careful not to over-schedule yourself so that there is time for family and other simple things at home which might otherwise not happen.  If you are an introvert (like myself!), you probably don’t want to go anywhere at all, because of the holiday insanity.  But, don’t turn down everything and just hide away until normality returns.  Instead, accept one or two party invitations, go to several events, and spend lots of quality time with family and close friends.  No matter what your personality is though, bake lots of cookies and send them to me!

My writing is very important to me, therefore, I’m not willing to just take a full 2-3 weeks off from it.  If you are willing to take time off from something to enjoy the season, that is great!  But you have to choose whether or not that is possible, or fits into your priorities, and then stick with that.  If you decide to take the time off, don’t be upset when you don’t get anything done!

Don’t Expect Too Much

No matter what your situation is, there are just some things that don’t get done during the Christmas season.  Therefore, don’t expect too much.  I know for certain that my daily word count is going to drop for the next two weeks. I am expecting it, and I am accepting it as well.

Because of this, one of the things I will do is set smaller goals.  Instead of aiming for close to a thousand words a day, I might only do two hundred, and I’ll take more days off, especially days that are scheduled to be busy.

I usually set aside an amount of time a day that is solely for writing.  That amount of time is probably going to shrink, probably to fifteen or twenty minutes, maximum.  Again, though, I am expecting AND accepting it.  It’s okay.

ENJOY YOURSELF

All in all, don’t stress over what does and doesn’t get done during this wonderful time of year! If you have family gatherings and parties, use them as an opportunity for growth and learning new things. I will be looking for interesting ideas or characters I could use in a story, and I will be practicing my not-so-terrific people skills as well.

Remember the whole reason for this time of year: LOVE.  Give the person nearest to you a hug and look for the best this weekend.

 

How do you manage the holidays and stay productive?

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