Ah, the holiday season. I have to admit, I absolutely love this time of year. I’m crazy about everything from Christmas to New Years, especially the beauty of the Christmas season.

But the holidays can lead to frustration when we’re trying to continue our creative work while juggling the increased demands of the season. The time available for creativity dwindles and you start to feel behind and get stressed that you’re not meeting your goals or deadlines.

So I propose that today, or this weekend, you take a few quiet moments to make a Holiday Plan. Let’s face this time of year with a strategy that will take us through to January 2nd with the least amount of stress possible.

How should you create your Holiday Plan?

  1. Take a look at the next six weeks on the calendar and try to accurately assess how much time you’ll have for your creative pursuits. Then, divide that in half, and assume that’s how much time you’ll realistically have.
  2. Set reasonable goals for this time period. Is it a certain number of social media posts each week? Is it a number of hours spent in marketing activities? Is it simply to have a certain amount of time each week to enjoy writing, without having an expectation of results? A good goal for some people is “I will put away this work until January 2nd, at which time I will come at it with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of energy.” Set goals that are attainable given your situation.
  3. After you’ve set your goals, make a plan of action for how you’ll meet them. Schedule writing time on your calendar (or put Post-It notes on your desk reminding yourself NOT to write!)
  4. If you have deadlines during the holidays or immediately after, then your Holiday Plan is even more important. You may need to cut back on some activities, or delegate more of your usual holiday tasks—cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping. Most importantly, don’t go into this season simply assuming that “somehow” you’ll get it all done. Make a plan! (Kathi’s book Get Yourself Organized For Christmas is an incredible resource.)
  5. I also find it crucial to exercise this time of the year — you’ll feel so much better if you do. Even if it’s just getting outside for a 20-minute walk, make time to move!

Let’s go into the holiday season with realistic expectations about what we can accomplish. The holidays are stressful enough without adding to it with impractical goals.

Tell us about your Holiday Plan. How will you handle the balance between your work and your life? What are your goals? Put your plans in writing and share them here!

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Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books & Such Literary, looking for authors with long-term publishing potential. She represents Christian fiction and non-fiction, with a particular fondness for strong spiritual memoirs and books that address contemporary issues in Christianity. www.rachellegardner.com

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