How to Find Time to Write during the Holidays

December is probably the busiest season of every year, unless you’re an accountant. Between decorating, baking cookies, buying presents, attending Christmas parties, and visiting your family, you probably have a hard time finding time for yourself, much less time to write a book. Maybe these tips can help.

Multi-Task Effectively

You must do a lot of things during the holidays, but you can try to combine them as much as possible. If you’re already out and about buying a gift for your co-workers, you might as well buy one for everyone else, too. Get it all done in one day by preparing a list of ideas and recipients beforehand. If you want to avoid crowds, and most writer prefer the solitude of their office, you could also just shop online and get some writing done afterwards instead of sitting in traffic.

Did your child need you to make cookies to share with the class? Make an extra batch and call it dinner. Your kids will love it, and as long as you don’t do this all the time, they’ll be fine. Or you could make some extra cookies to take to work with you to get instant co-worker approval. That might make you feel better about not helping out with the office holiday party.

Learn to Say No

Did someone ask you to make a treat for the office, organize the children’s annual Christmas performance, or host a dinner party for your extended family members? It’s okay to say no, it really is. The person who asked will find someone else to do it, and soon they’ll forget you said no. Until the next time you say no. At some point, they may even stop asking. How wonderful would that be?

Okay, so you can’t say no to everything, but maybe you can find a compromise. If you have the biggest house to host your annual family get-together, then you should host it. But you don’t need to do all the work yourself. Since you’re hosting, you have to clean the house. That means your relatives need to pitch in and bring food. Make a list and have everyone sign up for something to bring. If your boss asks you to bring a lunch, and you just can’t say no, buy the lunch instead of making it. Or hire a caterer. Yes, that’s more expensive than doing the cooking yourself, but think of how much time you’ll save not cooking and cleaning.

Cut It Short

You have to sit through the entire Christmas play if your child is performing in it. That’s what supportive parents do. But you don’t have to stay for the entire Christmas party with your co-workers, unless it’s a sit-down at dinner event where your absence will be noticed immediately. If you can, talk them into doing a buffet style setup and sneak out after you’ve had your favorite treats. If you have to, you can fake an emergency that requires you to go home early.

If you’re hosting a party at your house, you must specify an end time to get people to leave before midnight. That’s not true for all families and friends, but if it is the case for yours, you should let them know ahead of time.

Enjoy the Moment

Time always feels like it’s flying by, but this is more so the case when you’re running around trying to get things done. You need to power down, relax, and enjoy the moment, even if you’re at a Christmas party you don’t want to be a part of. It helps to turn your phone off, too, because that always makes you think you have to work on other things.

You must also take time to care for yourself. Exercising may not be your highest priority, but it could make you feel more refreshed and allow you to tackle all your projects, including that unfinished novel that’s calling you. Even going outside for a brisk walk can help you clear your head.

Do the Important First

This tip is still true during the holidays. You must prioritize your to-do list and start with the most important thing first. Everything that has a deadline will get done, because it has to. But the important things that aren’t urgent, like writing your novel, must take a backseat. If you get in 30 minutes of writing time before you start your day, you’ll feel better and have more energy for the other tasks, too. Give it a try!