Pine branch with holiday lights

Keeping up during the holidays

Sometimes between the demands of work and the added tasks (however delightful) of shopping, wrapping, decorating, and cleaning for the holidays, it’s tempting to just wish it were all over or to drop everything on one side. I’m certainly guilty of cutting back on my Christmas decorating as the years go by and I’ve become busier (and how does that happen? Isn’t life supposed to slow down as you age?), but luckily I’ve not decided to go all bah-humbug on the holidays.

bokeh closeup of sparklers

Instead I’ve tried to get more realistic about my time and my enjoyment of the season. What really makes me happy this time of year? For me it is being able to stop and watch the snow falling from the sky, and to get outside for a ski or walk in the brisk air. It is wrapping gifts in my signature kraft paper and baker’s twine and piling them up. It is baking cookies and, most years, cinnamon rolls to give away. It is getting more sleep with the shorter days. It is getting home to family and it is decorating with tiny lights and greenery.

Pine branch with lights

All those things that help me feel holiday-ish come on top of an already busy work schedule – no doubt similar to yours. So how to keep up with all the posting and the responding and the research and the writing and the photo-editing? Structure, that’s how.

I don’t know if I’ve always been a list maker, but I know I’ve always been a morning journaler and so I supposed I have a predisposition to having things on paper. And over the past year I’ve discovered and adapted my version of the bullet journal. It, along with a kitchen timer that sits by my computer, has allowed me to be more focused when I’m working and to get more done in my work day. I used to feel frustrated at the end of the day with the amount of things still on my to-do list, but more and more I’m satisfied with my day and more importantly, able to walk away from the computer and enjoy the rest of life.

There are so many resources for being productive, and you have to find the ways that work for you. You also (I’m saying you here but I really mean me) have to scale back this time of year. I find it easier to do when I realize that pretty much everyone else is juggling what I’m juggling and you know what? There’s just not that much time to spend on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest. So for you that means you can post a little less and not worry about it. It’s okay to scale back.

Another habit I’m developing that may help you is called blocking. Instead of logging in and posting throughout the day (unless you are at a live event that you want to post from); schedule a block of time to use to plan, compose, and schedule your posts. Then, forget about it until much later in the day, when you can again log in, check for responses, maybe do a little more updating. That’s it. Leave it alone the rest of the day. Everyone has content that is timeless and can be scheduled. Develop a library over time and use that library. Keep updating it, but don’t be afraid to use it. Free yourself!

close-up of lights on a string

So, we’re now in the post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s period, and I know that next week all hell is going to break loose. Enjoy this brief lull in the noise and use it to rest and rejuvenate so that when January 4th rolls around, you are ready to rock and roll. I’m going to do my best to take my own advice.

SeeĀ  you on the snow!