Have Your Cake and Eat It Too:  How to Stay Productive During the Holiday Season  

 

© Cheryl C. Malandrinos
- All Rights Reserved.
 

 

 

I’ll admit it.  As much as I love the holidays, they wear me out.  Shopping, baking, wrapping gifts, and sending Christmas cards, on top of everything else I have to do, makes me want to crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head until after January 1st

 

But I need this little thing called money that keeps the roof over our head, so I keep writing.   

 

While writing is usually the first thing to be pushed aside when the rest of your life gets busy, changing your expectations and staying focused on your writing goals, will help you survive the holidays and still be a productive writer. 

 

Expectations 

 

Many of us have this Currier and Ives, picture perfect Christmas in our minds and we kill ourselves trying to achieve it.   

 

Stop a minute and think back to the Christmases of your childhood.  Did it bother you if Mom burnt the cookies or if the house next door had more lights hanging from it than yours did? 

 

Probably not. 

 

Here are a few ways you can simply your holidays: 

 

* Focus your energy where it belongs:  on your family and friends.  Instead of rushing around to make everything perfect, be okay with good enough, and take those extra moments to spend time with your family and friends.   

 

* Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Your family will be more than happy to give you a hand if they know it means getting to spend more time with you. 

 

* Trim back your Christmas card list or consider sending out postcards.  I used to send out over fifty cards a year with handwritten notes inside; but one year I just couldn’t do it.  Luckily I save the cards we receive.  I went into my hope chest and pulled out last year’s cards and only sent out cards to people who had sent us one the year before.  I reduced my list by at least fifteen. 

 

Postcards are great when you want to send a quick holiday note to someone you don’t see very often.  Their small size doesn’t allow you to include too much information and they’re cheaper to mail than cards. 

 

* Many online retailers offer free shipping during the holidays, so you can shop from home while taking a break from your writing.  You save gas, don’t have to deal with crowds, and can easily get back to your writing schedule. 

 

Focusing on Your Writing Goals 

 

It’s easy to lose track of your writing goals while preparing for the holidays.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to write out a to-do list each week.   

 

Be realistic and plan ahead, knowing that you have more on your plate this time of year.  Cutting back a bit is expected, but it also makes it much harder to get back into your normal routine.  So, try to keep your routine as close to normal as possible.  I don’t take on additional assignments and I cut back on the number of books I review toward the end of the year.  This leaves me some wiggle room for those added holiday chores. 

 

Now is also a good time to review what you’ve accomplished this year.  Give yourself an extra pat on the back.  It will motivate you to keep focused on your writing. 

 

Start planning for next year.  Take some time between Christmas and New Year’s to figure out where you’re headed.  Write down your S.M.A.R.T. goals and prioritize them.  This will make the transition from your reduced schedule back to your normal workload easier. 

 

Preparing for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t find the time to write.  Simplifying your life and staying focused on your writing goals will find you writing even during the busiest times of the year. 

 

About the Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. Cheryl is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website at http://ccmalandrinos.tripod.com/  

 

 

 

 

 

120x240_Ad5_Orange.gif

 

 

Writer's Guide to Time Management