Are you frustrated at the holidays with just too much on your plate? Welcome to my world. A new reader wrote me last Friday inquiring how I can do so much. I blog, I teach, I advise yearbook students and chess players, all the while I am wife, mother, pet owner, friend, and family member. The young man who wrote me actually has no idea what my current life entails. In part due to the holiday season, my life has become a numbers game.
How many presents still to buy and wrap occupy much of my thought processes when not at work. How many yearbook pages to complete, books to sell, and essays to grade occupy many of my thoughts while still at work. How many clothes still to buy, appointments to make before my winter vacation starts… the list goes on. That typically describes this, and every December, I’ve ever had, until now. This year is different because this year there is blogging.
I feel like I have became the man in the movie “Oculus”. Rory Cochrane, who plays the father in the movie, continually stares into a mirror in his office. He isn’t a productive sort of dad. When his children beg him to buy them food and get their ailing mother medical help, his response, as he stares into the mirror, is “It’s on my list.”
That’s how I feel as I stare into my laptop screen. Appointments to make? Papers to grade? Clothes to buy? Errands to run? That’s right, Rory. It’s on my list, too.
Life has become a numbers game in which I ask myself round the clock important questions like how many views my blog is getting at any given moment. If my views aren’t up, why aren’t they up, and where is my traffic coming from when I do get some hits? When I’m not staring at these WordPress stats, I’m wanting to be.
So, readers the point of today’s blog was not to whine, but to help you, and help I have. I have three pieces of advice to help you avoid holiday burnout.
Step 1 Pacing. I have always had an adage I passed on to my children: In life we do what we have to do before we do what we want to do. Over Thanksgiving break, I brought home 160 essays to grade. I wouldn’t touch my laptop until I’d graded ten. I wouldn’t gift wrap a present until I’d graded five more. My daughter Rachel was an excellent student who was constantly on Facebook. I asked how she could do both. She explained she focused on what was important, school, but took breaks to do what was fun, socializing with her friends on the Internet.
Step 2 Prioritizing. In How to Get Over the Death of a Family Pet ( ) I mentioned that I play Farmville 2. As I write this post today, the truth is I used to play it. When blogging became a priority, in addition to everything else I had to do, something had to give. I still think about my crops and my farm animals who must be starving by now. One day, when my blog traffic is up and the amount of papers I must grade goes down, I will return to them.
Step 3 Scheduling. Holiday gifts are needed bought and wrapped more than two weeks from now; my vacation is weeks off as well. However, my Yearbook and report card deadlines are both next week. I will, of course, get to the other important items but after the upcoming deadlines are over.
In closing, I’m not the only one in our home for whom life has become a numbers game. My husband, who sells cruises, constantly checks his number of sales against last month’s totals. People compete with themselves to have a personal best all the time. Life is a numbers game.
Do you agree with me viewers? I used to believe in the right brain/left brain dichotomy, but no more. Despite my penchant for history and English, numbers are a huge part of my life, are they a part of yours? Also, do you have additional suggestions for avoiding holiday burnout?