“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin
I’m about to dive in to the busiest time of year again, and no, I don’t mean the frenzy of National Novel Writing Month which kicks off at midnight (though I do enjoy that annual treat!). I’m talking about that blessed time of year that people love to hate: The Holidays.
Personally, I love the holiday season. I’m a sucker for the window displays. The more nostalgic and whimsical, the better! Bonus points if the window displays are animated! Anyway, even though I may end up mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted by January (yay for spa days!), I always look back on the Thanksgiving-through-Christmas rush with a feeling of ‘Whoa!’ Another mountain conquered, another wave I rode out, another notch added to my belt.
But before I dive headlong into the thick of things, I need to give myself a few ground rules/reminders. After all, I juggle multiple roles, and I want to ensure that I balance all aspects of my life.
1. Before I can be take care of others, I need to take care of myself. I’m not going to lie, I feel BLESSED to have my strong immune system, and I’m sure that my positive outlook on life is directly related to my health. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been sick, and I want to keep it that way. So. When do I schedule my work outs? What foods do I need to keep in stock to prepare my meals in advance? What does my routine need to look like so I can get a good night’s sleep?
2. Don’t Mistake Activity for Productivity. Instead of scheduling All The Things and prioritizing them, I just need to schedule my priorities. Ask myself, ‘Does This Thing require my attention Right Now or can I manage this later?’ Focus on the Few Things that will give me the biggest return on my investment. During the five weeks of holiday, those few things are: exercise/nutrition, family time, writing time. Everything else is a luxury.
3. Be Here Now. To me, all of the above planning and prepping is to set me up to be 100% present, whether at work or at home. So, where do I need to invest my time so that when I’m off the day job, the switch stays off and I can enjoy being with my family when I’m with them? When can I schedule time to write, so that when it’s writing time, I’m writing my novel and not tweaking a work schedule? How can I invest in my family time so that I don’t carry any emotional baggage with me to work?
So, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines this year. There have been too many changes in my dayjob to spread myself too thin. Besides, I’m still revising WIP2, and my writing time will be devoted to finishing that.
Do you have any tips to keep yourself grounded during hectic times?