Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Time Management Tuesday: December Continues To Suck Up Time

My big work plan for this month is to make three submissions, two of which involve some revision. Two of these three submissions are ready to go, I just have to get my head around writing a kickass submission letter.
Where I've been living.

I've been putting that off, because I've been sick off and on for a week and a half. I've been on an antibiotic since Sunday, and that's making me sick, too.

Then there's that thing called Christmas, which is hanging over my head like death and taxes. I did very little holiday prep in November, you will recall, because I had committed myself to National Novel Writing Month. I thought that working intensely on that would make some kind of change in my self-discipline/will power/focus. Clearly, I'm going to go to my grave with that fantasy.

Yes, that is a basket of laundry under the tree
As a result of NaNoWriMo, sickness, and a major holiday coming together, I haven't done the gifting thing in any organized way. For instance, I have three unopened boxes of gifts I've ordered, and only a vague idea what's in them. I also have a Christmas tree that has been up since Saturday, but is only half trimmed. Oh, and I have only made six dozen of the ten dozen cupcakes I need for a gift. And none of them are frosted.

To get to the point, at last, I have gone off the time management rails. This kind of thing happens here routinely in December.

What Timely Thing Can I Do Now?

Well, mainly I think I need to just grit my teeth and put one foot in front of the other until the end of the month. But I happen to be reading The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal, in which she starts from research that indicates that people who don't view stress negatively deal with it better than those who are stressed by the fact of being stressed. And this has made me think that some attitude adjustment for what's happening here at Chez Gauthier would be helpful.

  1. Okay, I'm sick. And it's going on forever, and I'm never going to be better, and I had something similar in January, and I'm going to get this over and over again. Waily, waily, waily. We have people dying at Christmastime in this family. Not this year. Yet. But regularly. Stop your whining, Gail. We also have sickness here in December regularly. (Look at your Facebook wall. Everyone does.) I'm taking one for the team.
  2. Christmas. First World problem. Be grateful.

Can I Do Something About Future December Misery?

Well, I thought so five years ago when I began the Time Management Tuesday feature. One of my first posts was The December Time Suck in which I listed a number of ways to control time in December. This year I did not make any use of the sparkbook described in that post. It might not have made a huge difference, but still.

One thing I'm thinking of doing differently in 2018 is to live the entire year with the expectation that December is going to be a disaster. I'm not talking just an attitude adjustment. I mean actually prepping for disaster.
  • For example, having food ahead in the freezer was helpful during NaNoWriMo. (Not that I'm saying NaNoWriMo is a disaster.) I happened to have made a pot of soup just before I took a turn last weekend. That's been great. A fully stocked freezer for next year's December problems could make a difference in my life.
  • Those people who insist on having their Christmas shopping done by the Fourth of July may be on to something. I won't actually do that because gift recipients' needs and interests change in six months and then there is the whole issue about returns. I'm just saying that I no longer think people who have to have their Christmas shopping done before Halloween items are in the stores are out of their minds.
  • It's my year to do Christmas dinner. I'm kind of vague about what's happening with that. Seriously, that could have been planned months ago. It could have been planned last January. A job well planned is a job half done, my father always said. I wish this year's Christmas dinner was half done. 
I'm thinking of making some kind of work goal, preparing for the end of the year's rigors and disasters, so they'll have as little impact on my work life as possible.

Today, though, I'm going to grit my teeth and work on that third submission that needs some revision. And I will be grateful I have the opportunity to make those submissions. And I'll put up a couple more ornaments on the Christmas tree.  I'm also going to put one foot in front of the other and open those boxes in the living room. Then I'll order more because I am unlikely to get out of here to shop before Friday. And I will be grateful I can do that, too.

Hey, Wonder Woman climbed out of that trench and fought her way across No Man's Land. I'm just talking Christmas and some e-mail submissions. 


tanita✿davis said...

Ahahahah, Christmas, what Christmas? There are still leaves and pumpkins on the porch!

Perhaps this year you can celebrate from Christmas Eve onward, and do the whole Twelve Days thing. I mean, it should work, right??? That's what we're doing; no decorations 'til Christmas Eve because I am SO trying to cram these last Cybils books in... and finish one more novel... and write two more synopses...

Gail Gauthier said...

You know, I could get into that. Back in my Sunday school teaching days, I tried to get through to family members that Christmas doesn't start until the 25th and goes on for 12 days. It's a season. But I was fighting an entire culture and not up to the task.

But I can see how celebrating from Christmas Eve until Epiphany Sunday could make life calmer and more restful. Longer to prepare and less pressure over making one day into some kind of magical experience. How many times I went to bed Christmas Eve when my kids were little thinking, You failed.