Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Time Management Tuesday: Let's Take A Moment To Complain About December

I am taking a break from my Dan Harris arc to complain about December, an almost annual event here for at least ten years.

As I said in 2017, 

"My control of my time is so tenuous that anything new that enters the playing field, like a holiday that requires hours and days and weeks of preparation, like two of them coming a month apart, is overwhelming. December/the Christmas season packs a double whammy, because in addition to being very time consuming, it involves an emotional toll. Christmas the secular event is supposed to be magic, whatever the hell that is. We're supposed to be creating magic. Yeah, we're talking a whole other level of time with the magic thing." 

Last year things were a lot better, something I put down in a blog post to being a practicing minimalist so I didn't have as much cleaning to do and my Christmas spark book. My conclusion was:

"The best I can offer for writers who observe a labor-intensive holiday of any kind at any time of the year is to get your house in order. Get rid of as much as you can and write everything down."

Things were better last year for another reason, too. A couple of years ago I stopped working on big, intense projects during the month of December. Instead, I spend the month just starting a short piece each day, humor or flash. The ideas are pulled from my journal. A number of last December's starts became published pieces this year.

Success Ruined Me

I remembered last December so fondly that I looked forward to it this year. My recollection of last December clearly became glorified and inflated. For the last six months I've believed that when December came this year, I'd be able to do so many things, because last December went so well. Why, in addition to all those starts I was going to do--coming up with something to do a few sentences and jot a few thoughts on every single day, without fail, you've got to do this, Gail-- I would be able to:

  • Research all these agents I've been thinking about.
  • Plan agent submissions, actually get them written up and ready to send next year.
  • Get all these ideas I've been emailing myself into my journal. (I use my email as a to-do list.)
  • Clean up my three email in-boxes (because, as I just said, I use them as to-do lists.)
  • Do some extra blog posts.
  • Clean my desk.
  • Get some planning done in next year's bullet journal.

On a personal level, I would be able to:

  • Get ready for Christmas.
  • Sew.
  • Write some emails/letters that I've owed since summer.
  • Contact some contractors about some work we want done in the house next year.
  • Bake cookies for a church event for the first time in, maybe, ten or fifteen years.
  • Restart my daily yoga practice. 
By the 4th or 5th of the month, I realized things weren't going well.

Too Much

I planned too much for this month. I had seriously unreasonable expectations. I was living in a fantasy world, something I don't think of myself as doing.

My first thought while writing this was to say that all I can do now is slog through and keep on keeping on. But, no, the month is not even half over. Come on, Gail, pull yourself together, woman.

What I Can Still Do

I can still grab the unit system lifeline that has helped in the past

Again from 2017:

"...if you think in terms of forty-five, twenty, and even ten minute units of time, suddenly work options appear. Forty-five minutes at least a few times a week will work for editing a draft or maybe even progressing with  a new one. Twenty minute sprints each day can help keep you in a new project, even if you can't make a lot of forward movement with it. It can make a dent in blog posts or take care of some professional reading. Ten-minute sprints on a laptop set up in whatever room you're working magic in can allow you to knock off all kinds of work." 

I've used a couple of units of time this morning to jot down today's (and yesterday's) humor start, delete a couple of emails, and finish this blog post. I'll spend the rest of the day on creating magic. 

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

If it makes you feel any better, I'm fairly pleased that I get dressed and go to work every day. If I read a book or two a week, huzzah. I do like how you have goals and a plan to achieve them, but sorry it's not going quite the way you want. Best of luck as we hurtle towards January!