Christmas is on Wednesday. Smack in the middle of the week. So, not a very productive week on the surface, right?
Many people scramble to keep up with work, holiday shopping, and plans to participate in family and other holiday events.
It can be stressful.
But if you plan for it, the holidays can also be a great time to be productive in your business. Honest.
I find the last two weeks of December to be my most productive of the year. If I’m organized at the start of the month, everything can be accomplished before Christmas.
December is the one month that I schedule the first 3 weeks in detail (instead of a week-by-week approach I take the rest of the year).
Seeing everything that needs to be done written out early on keeps the stress to a minimum.
Lists, tasks, goals, and the success journal are front-and-center to help, of course, but I also implement another visual tool.
I use a full-size monthly wall calendar for holiday-related tasks and use post-it flags for to identify the tasks. Holiday shopping, groceries, sending out Christmas cards, phone calls to family, attending events — all of these have colored flags and are stuck to the applicable day in December.
The green flags are tasks that can be easily moved (if need be); dark pinks (since I don’t have red) are the events that most likely won’t change; yellows are tasks I can do at home; and orange flags represent the miscellany that involve scheduling/pre-planning.
If an errand can’t be done on one day because of weather, it can easily be moved to another day. If I don’t get to a yellow task on one day, I move it to another.
Knowing I’ll have downtime during the last 2 weeks of the month is motivating. I don’t want any flags on my calendar after Dec 24.
This year, Dec 26-Jan 3 will be quiet workwise since deadlines fell on Dec 20th and most people won’t get back into the swing of things until the first full week of January.
I’ll be spending the ‘quiet’ days wrapping up year-end paperwork, clearing the desk, and getting ready for business to open on Jan 4th.
If you run your own writing (or any) business, you can’t stop working just because the holidays come along. But you can enjoy the holidays and get your work done, too. I takes a little proactive planning (that’s redundant, but makes my point), but it’s well worth the effort.
Next week, my post will be summarizing my 2013 year and giving you a glimpse into my 2014 plans. I’m quite excited about what’s coming up, since this year… oh, wait, that’s for next week!
Have you had experience planning out December in order to enjoy some ‘downtime’ at the end of the month?
I wish you a productive end of the year!
Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.