Learning to Do Less

I’m horrendously busy right now, and I’ve heard a lot of people say the same. This time of year can be tough. But it’s really just a symptom. We’re all swimming as fast as we can all the time to keep our heads above water. Add anything extra, and we might just go under.

(The main reason I’m busy is not because of Christmas. But it is good news, and you’ll hear more about it on the blog soon!)

So how am I coping?

I’m trying to let go of my own expectations and learn to do less. As a side benefit, this also means I spend less.

My sweetie and I have put up a small artificial tree and hung some tinsel. It’s not a lot — I had high hopes of going all out for the first Christmas in my first house — but the living room looks festive and welcoming from both outside and inside. There’s a stack of seasonal CDs by the stereo. If we manage to put up the outdoor lights, or buy some more decor, great, but if not, we’re still ready for the season. And we did the decorating together, to the decorating soundtrack my family always uses (Boney M!), so we’ve maintained tradition.

Around here, we have a ton of craft sales, concerts, and plays this time of year. But time is a scarce commodity at the moment, and all these events will be back next year. We might manage to take in one thing. Good enough.

I’m not doing Christmas cards this year, except perhaps a very few. Most people  I know have already abandoned the cards-and-newsletter practice I remember from when I was growing up — probably because most of us stay in touch on Facebook or elsewhere. We don’t need the yearly summary of our lives anymore.

I’ve been meaning to buy some items of winter clothing, but haven’t had the time for that either. My existing wardrobe is good enough for one more year. I may not have everything I want (tall boots! LBD!), but I do have everything I need. And hey, if I’m too busy to shop, that means I’m saving money!

As a writer trying to network and keep up with publishing news, I’m extremely plugged into the Internet. I’m trying to disengage, bit by bit — unsubscribe from a few emails and blog feeds here and there, reduce the number of Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest visits, and so on. It’s a long slow process, but at least I’m making a start.

I have the habit of making huge to-do lists and then beating myself up when I don’t get everything on them done. Sound familiar? So I’m working on making shorter lists.

You might even consider making a New Year’s resolution that involves doing less instead of adding more. Or at least work on doing less before you add more.

How about you? What are you letting go of? What do you want to do less of?

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7 responses to “Learning to Do Less

  1. Like you, I spend FAR too much time online. I’m losing my evening writing time. I need NaNo to come back!

    I write long lists of things I’d like to achieve during a week and then try to knock off one or two a day…

    I still havent done any Christmas shopping – eek!

  2. I’d like to do more writing, more hanging out with my family, more time on creative hobbies.

    And less Internet. A lot less Internet.

  3. Sounds like we’re all on the same page regarding the Internet. It’s a struggle for every writer, I think!

  4. I’d like to find more time for editing my WIP, but it’s been tough lately.

  5. Ken, I know the feeling. Maybe once the craziness of this month is over? I guess there’s a reason New Year’s resolutions are so popular!

  6. I like the doing less – slowing down is so hard to do!

  7. Yep! It’s one thing to vow to do less, and another thing to actually cut something out….

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