WRITING, FAMILY and FINDING JOY
One of the most important things in my life is my family. I see my family all the time and I love spending time with them but sometimes it’s difficult to carve out writing time. It’s a tricky balance, trying to find ‘me’ time while also making sure all members of my family feel loved and appreciated. It’s not just for them, either. They all, individually and collectively, feed something deep within me. But there’s still my writing—something that is as necessary to my happy existence as the people who are part of it.
At this time of year, with holidays coming up, it becomes even more difficult to maintain that balance. The children are out of school, I’m off work, Christmas is at my place this year, and I’ll be travelling a bit too.
Christmas at my place means I have to clear out the detritus of a very busy few months at work (that means I haven’t cleaned beyond the basics or put anything away in nearly 3 months), plan a menu, clean, cook, shop for gifts, wrap them. All those things. It’s a huge celebration of all things family and fun.
So what’s the solution? How do I make sure I fit it all in?
I would normally jump into a spreadsheet and schedule the **** out of the problem, but I’m out a lot over this time of year and it’s not so easy pulling up a spreadsheet on my phone and checking where I’m supposed to be when. Instead, I use the calendar on my phone.
Everything I do is added to my calendar, including when bills are due, and things I need to do around the house.
Everything has a deadline to make sure I get it done on time.
I set multiple reminders to make sure I have all the prep needed done when I need it. I’ll admit that, sometimes, this operates a little like a snooze button.
I use multiple calendars too, each of which is shared with different people. This makes sure the people who need to know where I am, or need to also be there, know about it.
When I’m at home, I use a list-of-things-to-do, to make sure I don’t miss anything. The lists come out when I have a lot of things to do in a short amount of time. Normal day-to-day routines don’t need them.
I can almost see some of your faces, frozen in a horrified visage. I can almost hear the thoughts. I thought they were spending time with family. Everything is scheduled to within an inch; how can you enjoy anything?
For me, if I take the time to organise my time first, to make sure I won’t miss anything, I can then relax and enjoy every single minute I have with my family and friends. My brain won’t be trying to tell me I’ve forgotten something or haven’t done something yet. I won’t worry about the things I haven’t done yet because I know I have a time available for them coming up. I can switch off and give everyone important to me 100% of my attention. This brings me joy.
This is my penultimate blog for the year. The next blog will be on the eve of the new year, another clock-tick away from the next beginning.
However you celebrate this time of year, even if you don’t, I hope the last days of the year fill you with calm and contentment. I hope there are many small lights of joy you can tap into. I wish for many good things for you.