Managing My Time and Setting Realistic Goals

a cardboard box with a lot of packing tape
This Box Takes Over My Life in December

Lordy, I've Been Busy--and Therefore Absent from Here


This time of year, when winter begins and the calendar year ends, is a good time to reflect on things. And one thing I have decided is that I need to be more intentional about plans for the weeks, days, and minutes during this time of year.

Where Have I Been?


You see this box? Of course you do, because it's right there and I haven't explained it yet, and so you're like, "What's in the box?" Don't worry, I don't have a macabre answer, referencing a 90s psychological thriller starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Inside is merely a stack of paper. But the work and effort it takes to make this meticulously stacked and perfectly compiled box of papers is mind-blowing--and mind-numbing; therefore, I didn't have the brainpower to write much during December.

And even though the election was in early November, my political activism hasn't slowed! I've been involved with intense work for the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women's Caucus. Participating in the Nominations Committee has been a lot of work, but I like being involved and meeting more people in my still relatively new home state.

And, of course, on top of all of that, there are the many family and friend gatherings for the holidays, and for my two nephews, who were both born in December. And while those are fun obligations, they do take up any free time that could possibly have gone to writing.

So What Am I Going To Do About This?

I've realized that next year, I need to be more intentional about my time for this part of the year. I cannot, nor do I need to, do it all. But I still felt badly that I wasn't meeting writing goals I set for myself. The solution is: don't set them in the first place. Be more realistic about my energy and what I can accomplish in a given month. I want to write on a regular a basis as often as I can; every day if not every other day. But, I also want to be amazingly stupendously impressive at my salaried job. Most of the time, I can do that. However, in December, I have to focus on my salaried job, and just allow writing work to go on a vacation for a month. What I didn't like about how things occurred this time around, is that I just stopped doing writing work, without "signing off" for the month. I want to make it a planned and well-executed thing. It will make me feel less like I'm failing at goals and more like I am being realistic about my time and letting certain things take precedence over others for a period.

This Is Just To Say: I Rule


By the way, that box represents a 97% success rate for my objective for this part of the year at work. I am up one percent from last year. I want you to know: I am very good at my job. If you ever are faced with a project that seems like utter chaos, and you need it really well organized, I'm your gal.

Take Aways


My plans for next December, to help with a good balance between friends, family, writing work, salaried job, political activism, and the all-important rest and self-care:

Health

  • Use an SAD lamp
  • Take Passion Flower tincture
  • Drink oatstraw tea
  • Eat oatmeal as much as possible for a meal
  • Get a humidifer for the inevitable colds and sinus infections that wipe me and drag me down further this time of year
  • Prepare ziplock bags of smoothie ingredients for all weekdays from Thanksgiving to Yuletide

It starts in November

  • Leave on time every night leading up to Thanksgiving week. So many nights afterwards are going to go really late.
  • Take a full lunch hour with a walk every day leading up to Thanksgiving week. The time to do that after will be scarce.
  • Limit plans or no plans the weekend before Thanksgiving and of Thanksgiving.
  • Get major chores done before Thanksgiving week, especially full cleaning, lots of purging of extraneous stuff, and a big grocery shopping trip
  • Buy as many healthy and convenient snacks and meals as I can fit in my fridge & freezer. I will have no time nor energy to cook, and I don't want to spend so much money on, often inadequate, convenient fast food
  • Get all my "grooming" done: hair dyed, manicure, eyebrows, trim bangs, all that stuff. Will not have time/effort to it in December
  • Decorate for the holidays Thanksgiving weekend. It's not too early and if it's not done then, it won't happen until Yule. (That's right: two of the last five years, the decos went up on Dec 21 :^/ Oh well)
  • Wrap up writing projects and goals the week before Thanksgiving and announce a Holiday Hiatus, with potentional for some posts, if I feel like it. But note to readers & followers that come December, things will not be on the regular.

December

  • Move up dates for everything, so there isn't such a time crunch at the end. Everything about the work I do at my salaried job takes twice as long as I think. I keep making extra time for tasks, and I sometimes I still don't have enough time, because some weird freak thing will happen that sets everything back. One day this past December, I didn't get home from work until 4am. FOUR IN THE MORNING. No wonder I felt so bananas!
  • Don't set any writing goals for myself. If I do get any writing done, that's a bonus
  • Create all my Bullet Journal Spread sfor the month at the beginning of the month (instead of week to week, like I usually do)
  • Remove the Facebook App from my phone and log out of the site on my computer. Let everyone know I'm unplugging for a bit and not to expect regular posts.
  • Do holiday shopping the Friday after I send out my Precious Box of Papers. This is usually two weekends before Christmas, and I found that shopping while in a good mood, with a sense of accomplishment, on a Friday night during the holidays, was both fun AND a chance to find ton of good deals--just as good if not better than any Black Friday nonsense.
  • Don't join extra committees or plan to attend extra meetings--I always think I can manage this, but I'm wrong. I joined a committee outside of work that met a lot in December AND a committee AT WORK that met a lot in December. I needed Hermione's time turner.
  • Don't schedule shifts at my second office. Work from the main office only (I have two offices; shrug)
  • Limit availability for other types of responsiblities in my job - I cover a busy area soometimes, I create a lot of the communications, I update the online staff calendar, and I work on the budget, in addition to the thing that takes up all of December. I have to really limit my availability to do those other things.
  • Get more extra shifts for the assistants who help me with my work
  • Make as few social engagements on weekends as possible in order to have some down-time to recharge

While this list is really specific to me, I think it's good to share because I have a feeling I'm not the only one who's head spins from all the activities of The Holiday Season. We all have a lot going on and it's good to see how others process all their goings-on and plan for it.







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