“One Bite At A Time”

"To do" list with ornamentsby Noella Noelophile™

“Aaaaah, it’s seven twenty-two?  Eeeeeeek!

Believe it or not, I just heard those words come out of MY mouth!  And we’re talking about seven twenty-two a.m., not p.m.!

Then, my loving spouse contributed, “You’ll look up, and it will be Christmas!”  Thank you, dear…

It’s amazing how busy everyone is, anyway, in everyday life.  Then, if you’re anything like me, the Christmas season “officially” arrives…and, POW!  It’s crammed full of places we blithely agreed to be, and things we need to do.  All these plans, of course, have been made for some future fictitious era when we’ll have lots of time.  And that time will, without exception, consist of hours that magically expand to accommodate us, so we can accomplish everything!

I haven’t yet figured out how to get enough time to do all the things I’d like to, at Christmastime (or indeed, any other time!), and still have time to enjoy it all.   Here are the best tips I can offer:

  • Lists, lists, lists.  Psychologists say just the act of writing something down gets you that much closer to accomplishing it.  Works for me…
  • Look ahead in time.  If it were now five p.m. and you had only accomplished one thing today, what would you want it to be?  Fine–come back to the present and start!  When you have a big project, it’s easy to fall into the trap of, “after I get these few emails sent, it’ll just take a few minutes, THEN I can start (editing, writing, painting, choreographing, etcetera)!”  You know what happens next.  Those  “few emails” expand into the Email Monster–that eats your morning in one gulp!
  • Begin your day as you intend to continue.  For some reason, if the first thing you do is something related to your project, the whole day follows that tone.  Silly as it sounds, I tell myself that the “price” of my first cup of morning coffee is three minutes of edited audio.  When that’s done, java is waiting–and I’m much more productive throughout the day.
  • Know that it’s going to take longer than you expected–and that’s OK.  And budget your time accordingly, for the unexpected.  (This one’s a lesson I’m still learning!)
  • This one’s tough–but you have to step away, when you’re working on a major project.   Taking breaks makes you much more productive.  Henry Ford is said to have learned this the hard way, by working his employees seven days a week on his Model T–only to have to spend all week repairing the mistakes they made on what would normally have been their day off!
  • Remember the kids’ joke: “How do you eat an elephant?”  “One bite at a time.”  Sure, a huge project can be daunting when you first look at it.  If you start with something, anything, that’s a step closer to completion, THEN–it’s too late to consider the project unapproachable!  More often than not, one phone call to a list of contacts, or one first sentence written of a Christmas letter, is like the first potato chip.

And especially–remember what’s most important to you.  It’s easy to misplace the importance of friends, family and what’s special in your life in a sea of “busyness”.   My sweet little year-old kitty has a strange tendency to, “Purrr…mieuw,” for attention at the exact moment things get frenetically busy in our home office.  Maybe she knows something I don’t.

May your Christmas be filled with all the things you love most–and may you take the time to enjoy them.