Sunday, December 13, 2009

Enjoy the Peace of the Holiday Season: 2009 Virtual Advent Tour

I am so excited to get a chance to participate in the 2009 Virtual Advent Tour. I wasn't quite sure what to write about because I am a huge lover of Christmas and there are so many subjects to discuss; but keeping in mind that this is a blog dedicated to books and writing, I wanted to stay focused on that theme.

In addition to my roles as a virtual book tour coordinator, copy editor, and book reviewer, I also write time management articles for Writer2Writer. These articles are geared toward helping writers increase productivity through time management and organization. While time management and organization is something that has always come easy to me, it isn't easy for everyone; so I enjoy sharing what I have found successful for me as a writer.

The holiday season is wonderful, but it can also be very stressful. With shopping, sending out cards, decorating, working, running the kids around to various activities, and unexpected things cropping up from time to time, it's easy to lose that sense of peace that is meant to fill this time of year.

Here are a few ways that can help you keep this holiday season stress-free and more enjoyable.

Set Realistic Expectations

The Currier and Ives version of the perfect Christmas only happens in pictures. Allowing yourself to be pulled in too many directions will lead to stress and jeopardize your chances of enjoying the holidays.

Write out a to-do list of what must be done. When you write out that list, give great consideration to what "must" means.

Does must mean...

* you need to include a personal note with each card
* you need to volunteer for every event that someones asks you to help with
* you have to clean your house from top to bottom
* your decorations have to be up by a certain date

While all these things are nice in theory, they can add to the craziness that often surrounds the season. Maybe an annual letter will work instead of a personal note to everyone on your list. Selecting one or two events to volunteer for each year will allow you to contribute to worthwhile causes without leaving you tired and overwhelmed. There's nothing wrong with saying "no" or "maybe next time".

I've always been one to stress over how the house looks. I used to insist that all my decorations be up by Thanksgiving weekend and that the entire house be cleaned before company arrives on Christmas Eve or Day. People come to see you and your family, not your house. Do what you can to make it special, but don't worry if the house isn't picture perfect. It's probably going to get messed up with company coming anyway.

Don't Be Afraid to Delegate

For those items that make the "must be done" list, see which ones can be delegated. I know, it sometimes feels like it's just easier to do it yourself, but when you're running from place to place and that blood pressure is rising, it's time to say, however it gets done doesn't matter as long as I don't have to do it.

Your family will be happy to help if it means spending more time with you.

Get the Sleep You Need

If I am guilty of anything, it is staying up too late to finish one last thing. Unfortunately, that makes me irritable and impatient the next day. Just ask my family!

Get the correct amount of sleep you need each night. Not only will your family thank you for it, you'll be much more productive the next day.

By setting realistic expectations, delegating some tasks, and getting the sleep you need, you and you family will be able to experience a less stressful and more meaningful holiday season!


Kerry said...

What a wonderfully practical post. You're right, it is so easy to get caught up in our "to do" list and not be sensible about. I'm especially bad with not saying no when asked to help (and I have health issues that mean I really should). That and the cleaning. That's for some very helpful suggestions.

Kailana said...

Great advice! Thanks for a creative post. :) Happy Holidays!

sprite said...

Good advice! I made myself a reminder earlier this weekend about what NEEDED to be done versus what I WANTED to be done. It doesn't mean that I'm less likely to do those optional things, but it's freeing to remind myself that I'm making a choice to spend my time on them.

Cheryl said...

Glad you enjoyed this post everyone. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

Happy Holidays!


Morgan Mandel said...

My house is never perfect, but sometimes it's better than other times. I had wanted to use the basement for the Christmas celebration, but I'm afraid that would take at least a week to clean and I don't have a week to give. So that plan is out.I'll just try and make the rest of the house look decent. I may even get some decorations up this week.

Morgan Mandel

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Yes, it will be a goal for me next year....Enjoy the moment.

Like right now. Eating my breakfast granola. Drinking hot black coffee. Reading your wonderful blog.

Jenn said...

Great suggestions! I am always writing out "To Do" lists, but hardly ever prioritize them. That would go a long way in helping reduce the clutter.

Aarti said...

I love To-Do Lists, particularly crossing things off of them! What a useful post.