Successful organization ideas are those tips and tidbits of practical information that you don’t really want to talk about, but you secretly put them into play because you realize you need help and they work. Recognize yourself in that? I’ve sure been that person!
As a writer, here you stand staring at a calendar that’s staring back at you while urgently flashing you later and later dates. It’s just days now until Thanksgiving dawns on the nation. (I’m not sure I’m ready for that, and it has nothing to do with how I’ve organized my writing!)
And Christmas seems to come a week after the turkey is a fond memory. Time does go by so fast this time of year. You can feel the end of the year closing in on you. Indeed, it’s true. With 2017 dashing madly for the finish line and 2018 barreling right in behind it…what does your next six weeks or so look like in terms of writing productivity?
Productivity & Holidays
I know, we talk about such big words like organization ideas and productivity while plans and preparations are in the making for Thanksgiving (a week and a day away as I write this). Are you visitor or the visited this year? Do you spend Thanksgiving quietly alone or nearly so, or do you celebrate in a big family/friend way?
Personally, my Thanksgiving has become a quiet and relaxing time over the last few years. Added to the usual dinner and fellowship with a few close friends, the rest of my weekend becomes my foray into Christmas decorating.
Since I have a writing client who comes to visit during the first week or so of December, I enjoy having my tree and decorations up before she arrives. That way, even though we are working, we still enjoy the lights and festive atmosphere. And though we do work hard, there is always time for a bit of Christmas fun and shopping as well!
So, you ask, where is the writing productivity in all this? It doesn’t look like you’re getting much writing done here!
Okay, I admit it; you caught me! But the truth is, there are certain tasks I must accomplish before this year closes. If they don’t get done, the new year will start with Jane being behind the proverbial eight ball. I can honestly tell you with great confidence–Jane doesn’t want that and it’s not happening!
Productivity Versus Holidays
So, here’s the thing. I think writers tend to take one of these paths through the holiday season. Each has its merits. Which one best describes you?
- “Forget the writing. I’ll pick it up again after New Years. I’m busy!” You proceed to enjoy the holidays and never give your writing another thought.
- “The holidays are great, but I have so much writing to do.” You take part in the holidays, but you drag a sense of guilt around with you because you’re not writing enough to keep you on track.
- “Hey, the holidays are fun and I’m going to enjoy myself! And I’m also going to set aside some time to write a light schedule. That way I have fun and continue forward in my writing, too.
I repeat, there is not a right or wrong answer in the list. The only one that bothers me for real is the part about feeling guilty…just don’t go there, and you’ll be alright!
So, do you fit into one of these three holiday paths? Obviously, each one will yield a different level of productivity. Organization ideas, properly used, however, can add to your sense of accomplishment and leave you with a better feeling about the new year before you.
For myself, I do best with the third option. I plan a lightened-up, pared-down writing schedule. Then it is simple to fit writing sessions in amidst all the hustle and bustle of the season.
Organization Ideas: Lighten Up!
For sake of argument, let’s say there are six weeks left in 2017. If you were looking at a six-week span of time, say, in April and May, you could likely accomplish a more rigorous writing schedule than in late November and December. And so it goes.
But the truth is, there is nearly always something coming up to wreak havoc on your time and writing sessions.
- Major holidays
- School starting
- School ending
- Church and/or civic functions
- Family time
The list is truly endless and everyone is affected by the majority of the items on it. In short, life happens. Organization ideas for writers help you maintain your writing momentum while still taking part in all of life that comes to you. Productivity is not always sacrificed when life does happen.
Organization Ideas: Set Your Holiday Writing Goals
I don’t know if you have writing and project goals or not, but if you read after me much, you know that I do. Writing and working without goals is like driving blind. You don’t know where you’re going, what you’re driving, or if you have fuel. You’re in the dark and hoping for the best.
Organization ideas take the blinders off and help you see where you’re going, how fast you need to go to get there on time, and a whole lot of other valuable information. Goals are an invaluable tool to a committed writer.
So, when the holiday season approaches, take a look at your writing goals. What did you expect to have accomplished by the end of the year? What will it take for you to still get that finished? Is that a realistic expectation in light of your holiday commitments? You alone know those answers, but finding them out can be the deciding factor in how you experience the holidays.
True to form, I was more ambitious with my planning and goals for the second half of this year than what I could finish to my satisfaction. So, going into November I already knew an adjustment downward was needed. (It bothers me to do that!)
But I dealt with my personal issues over that, and made the tweaks to my writing schedule. By doing so, I relieved a ton of pressure from myself. And I freed myself up to enjoy my Thanksgiving and Christmas. My projects still move forward and my family and friends will get quality time with me as we celebrate the season together.
Organization Idea: Stick to Your Holiday Writing Plan
It’s one thing to talk about all of this, but it’s quite another to actually follow through with it for real. In my own example, yes, I did cut down my goals on paper so I could put my eyes on it. Then I took the time to commit each writing session to my calendar. Great, I’m all set! Done!
But wait a minute. What I did so far is the easiest part. I just sat down, made a few changes, and reset my schedule. It sounds great, but means absolutely nothing if I don’t go ahead and actually DO what I said I would do. That’s a day-to-day discipline thing. Ouch, that can be hard sometimes!
However, when my schedule for Monday tells me I have a three-hour writing session in the afternoon from 1:00 – 4:00, I have a decision to make that day. I guarantee you, at 1:00 that day I will be in my writing studio working. The phone will be off. The kitty will be quiet or out of the room. Facebook and email will remain untouched. I will be writing on topic, on target, and on time.
That’s the level of commitment you want in order to always move forward in your writing projects. Yes, it is a discipline, but one of the greatest lessons you can learn is that discipline is not a burden. It is your strong ally to help you do what you want to do.
Organization Idea: Plan Holiday Fun!
Since I am an American, I can talk about us a bit. In general, we tend to work really hard; some of us work way too much. I read articles along those lines frequently. For the most part, I do believe it’s true.
Therefore, my writing friends and followers, plan some holiday fun! Does that sound like an odd organization idea for writers? At first glance, maybe, but it’s really spot on!
You know what they say about all work and no play…and what it does for you. It’s true. Too much work can tire you out. It’s possible to work so much that you wear yourself down to a limp pile of empty brain cells. It’s not good, trust me.
What’s the answer to this? Plan some fun! Yes, go ahead and schedule it! This season comes only once each year and is special in so many ways. Take the time to enjoy it. Don’t be a workaholic, and don’t fret and stew over things not getting done. Adjust your writing goals and make those fun holiday plans!
Organization Ideas Make Your Holidays Shine
Final thoughts, the holidays bring you the opportunity to loosen up and enjoy life at a bigger level than the everyday experience. Go for it! Let the season elevate you higher dreams, plans, and goals in the new year.
Take some time to do holiday things that take you outside of yourself. Volunteer to help serve holiday meals. There’s something humbling and yet invigorating in slicing pumpkin pies and handing them out piece at a time to smiling faces. Working with all kinds of charities during the months of November and December is such a rewarding experience.
And take a look toward the new year. What old dreams will you pick up and run with? What new dreams will you hold in your heart and move toward completing? The holidays bring a nice close to the year. Listen on the inside as your heart whispers to you where to go and what to do.
Let the child in you come out to play. And let the writer in you come forth to express all the facets of the holidays. Organization ideas, they’re not for sissies, but they sure do work. Let them work for you!
Thank you & God Bless
And Happy Thanksgiving next week to all!