Reducing Stress when You’re Busy Busy Busy

After many weeks of not hitting my ROW80 goals, I’ve finally nailed one! Well, I nailed last week’s too, but I purposefully set the bar very low, after not hitting it for so many weeks. This week’s was a challenge, especially with all of the extra holiday stuff to do, but I did it!

One thing that helped immensely was to let go of guilt and “ought-tos” and just do what was really necessary. For example, maybe you like to wrap elaborate, beautiful gifts. I used to too, but this takes time. And it just gets torn up anyway! So several years ago, I decided to just let myself do what the rest of the family does, and wrap it, and stick a bow on. That’s it! The best thing? No one seemed to care! Oh, they used to notice the beautiful, beribboned packages and appreciated them, but it’s an extra, not an expectation. So I let it go!

Same thing with gift tags. I used to make my own, out of recycled Christmas cards. Fun to do, cheap, and boy did they look nice, but it took a good couple hours! Now, my family gets store-bought stick-on labels. And they’re OK with that!

This year, I decided not to make a food item for my RWA chapter’s holiday party. In the past, I’ve taken beef rollups, mini quiches, and other goodies – none of which were difficult to make – but all took time. The kicker was that I always seemed to have a lot of leftovers to take back home! Some things didn’t go over that well at all, even though they were tasty (IMO and my family’s). I also noticed in past years that the food was all appetizers and desserts, yet the party was held at noon – lunchtime. I figured something more “main dish” would be appreciated, so I just called in an order for footlong subs at Subway, asked them to cut them in quarters, and picked them up on the way to the party. Even though someone else also brought mini-sandwiches, my subs were a hit! I had two quarters left over, and my husband quickly took care of them. For the gift exchange, I “gifted” a book on Amazon, and chose the printout option. I chose a craft book that I personally love – Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic – that can be useful to a writer at any point in her career. It was for a Kindle book, and I don’t know if the woman who received it has a Kindle or smartphone, but an Amazon Kindle gift book can be exchanged for anything, so hopefully she’ll get something else she likes if  Create a Plot Clinic isn’t for her. A thoughtful gift, and another task made easier!

So that’s how I got the type-in done for six revised chapters this week, even though I’m learning this is a task that takes longer than I thought when the book needs a lot of work.

This week, I want to get Chapters 10 & 11 typed-in, and off to the beta readers. Then I’m going to dig back into the markup, and get through Chapter 18 & 19. This will get me through the big black moment.

How are you doing on your goals, whether or not you’re participating in ROW80? Got any tips on reducing holiday stress? I’ll share some more here on Thursday, so check back!


By the way, thanks to all who joined in Samantha Warren’s Blog Scavenger Hunt! I had fun participating, and hopefully a lot of readers found a lot of fun books!

23 Responses to \

  1. Wow, you got a lot done. It’s wonderful when you take control of your life and just say ‘No’ and stick to it. It’s like the weight of the world comes off, especially after you realize it was you all along that was keeping the world up there.

    Great thinking with the subs. You can’t go wrong with Subway.

    I love your website! nice colors. Visually appealing and set up very nice. Good luck with your goals next week and I’ll see you around on Wednesday! Happy writing.

  2. Congrats on being able to pull back from holiday details to see the big picture! What’s most important, I think, is simply spending time with people. I figure if I order the food instead of making it I’m doing my own little private part for the economy. I used to do the wrapping thing too, but now I use bags. It looks festive and takes 30 seconds! ;-). Plus they are re-usable. And Congrats on making your ROW goal…I need to get busy on my own!

  3. Thanks, Ryan and Melinda! I love gift bags, too! I use a bunch of them – and always for my brother’s gifts. He has this weird quirk of having to carefully remove every piece of tape from a wrapped gift and not tear the paper, so he takes For. Ev. Er. to open a present. It drives everyone nuts! So gift bags are a sanity-saver in more ways than one. Now I just need to get the shopping done!

  4. Thanks, Jenny! It’s so true that many of the stresses are self-imposed. It’s great to let them go, especially when the alternatives are just as good to others!

  5. It’s hard to pare down, isn’t it? Someone said (wish I could remember who!) that the key to success is not what you yes to, but what you say no to – thus freeing yourself up to focus on your goals. I also had a better ROW80 week. Planning to cross the finish line with a smile on my face no matter what, but it would be great to finish strong. Good for you, Jennette!

  6. Julie – saying no is really where it’s at, isn’t it? The trick with the holiday stuff is saying no to things that don’t really matter to others, but are must-dos we heap on ourselves. Thanks for the ROW80 wishes, and good luck on yours!

  7. I’ve been cutting back on things like that, too, but I’m still scattered all over the board, trying to play catch up constantly. It’s just a crazy time in my life, and the holidays make it that much crazier. But inch by inch, I’m making progress, which is better than nothing, right? Good for you for making such great headway. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

  8. you did well there – cutting back on inessentials so you can step on whats important and also as a bonus this time of year free up time for writing – its so hetic this time of year esp. for those with families that it is a bonus to be able to keep on with the writing

    all the best this week keep smiling

  9. It’s funny because I’ve had that magician from Frosty in my head for the entire past week! I like your suggestions to simplify. Everyone is busy, so I actually think our expectations for things like home-made goodies are LOWER at this time of year.

  10. Lynn – even cutting little bits out, it’s still hectic, but a little less so, and less stress is better!

    Pat – LOL – now you know, Subway next time! Another person in my writers’ group always brings nuggets from Chick-fil-a. Those are always a big hit!

    Julie – I think people like the homemade stuff, but having a good mix of good foods is what they like best – and most of all, good company!

  11. I love homemade gift tags and used to recycle cards for that purpose, but you are so right–the stick on ones are so much easier!!! 🙂
    And I’m saying, “Busy, busy, busy!” in my head right now!

  12. Wow, you have done a great job of getting things done! I know I need to let some things go, it’s just so hard for me. I’m still fighting the “I have to do it all” idea. Problem is, sometime when you try to do it all you only do part of it well and the rest not so great. I’m going to try to take your advice and focus on the important stuff:)

  13. Kara, it’s the whole we have to do it all – and do it this way – attitude that makes us heap stress on ourselves, often for things that don’t really matter to anyone else. Good luck finding what you can say no to, and lessening your stress!

  14. Years ago I used to take things off the walls and shelves and put up Christmas decorations in every room. Not anymore. The lone tree, my village, and a few wreaths look pretty good to me now. I do have the hubby set out the luminaries and outside tree. One year instead of ornaments I just stuck poinsettias in the tree branches. A classic, quick, easy way to decorate.

    The one thing the family won’t give up though are those homemade cookies that take the better part of the day to roll out, cut and decorate. It’s a tradition that goes back several generations. They would riot if the cookie tin wasn’t filled. I’m trying to pass the tradition onto our daughter, but I still get to help.
    C.D. Hersh

  15. LOL… I love the poinsettias in the tree! I’ll have to try that some time if I just can’t find time to put the ornaments on. Thanks for stopping by!