3 Ways Writers Can Survive Holiday Cleaning

Welcome to Thursday3Some.

We're in the month that begins the holiday rat race or as we call them: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

Just having those 3 holidays in the next 8 weeks is stress enough what with the cooking, cleaning, gift shopping and giving, and the partying. So I thought I'd share with you some of the secrets of getting all these tasks done without going completely insane.

At the same time, I'll give you some tips on how to maintain your productivity as a writer and your sense of perspective as a human being.

Make Executive Decisions

As a writer, you have to be organized and set priorities in order to accomplish your work and achieve your goals. Take that executive decision-making ability and apply it to cleaning the house.

1. Examine your house and decide what really needs to be cleaned.

Will the entire house be viewable during the holidays or just certain rooms? This may sound lazy, but I exist in a plane where time is extremely limited. If you also have that problem, then the solution is to clean only what will be seen by others. Give the unseen portion a "lick and a promise" as my Mom would say. That means pick up all the clutter, clean anything obviously dirty, and ignore the rest.

2. Enlist the entire family in the holiday cleaning project. Don't groan. Just sit them all down for a family meeting and tell them what needs to be done. Tell them that if everything is done on the promised date, that you will reward them with something they really want. Yes, I believe in bribery when it comes to getting the family to do chores.

Devise a list of rewards that might range from a new video game to dinner out at a favorite restaurant to. . . . Hey! You know them best. Make a list of rewards in advance. Then ask them which jobs they want to do. With a reward in mind, you should have no problem getting volunteers.

Grab a calendar and schedule the task and the person responsible on your calendar so that what needs to be cleaned will be done. If you start now, you can do the deep cleaning in stages. By the week of Thanksgiving, you should be finished. Then it becomes a matter of just keeping everything clean until after New Year's. Maintenance is much easier than the initial cleaning.

3. Prioritize. Postpone if necessary and possible. Take a good hard look at the writing that must be done during these next 8 weeks. Even if you're not a calendar/day planner kind of person, now is the time to use one or both.

Plot out your writing schedule as carefully as a book is plotted. Take on only the writing that can't be postponed so you don't find yourself in Deadline Hell when a 25 pound turkey needs to be brined and pumpkin pies need to be baked.

Takeaway Truth

Holidays should be fun for everyone, not just for a writer's spouse and kids. Take steps now to give yourself the time to enjoy this holiday season.

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