Once upon a time, not too long ago, I was punctual in every sense of the word. It didn’t matter if it was for an appointment, for assignments that were due, getting renewals done on time, paying bills and taxes… I was always, always, always on time!
The fact is that I am not the kind of person who works well under the pressure of a short deadline. I like advance notice. Frankly, the more the merrier. I like the time to organize, plan, think it through, give it time to “ferment”, execute, review and to try to make it my best work possible.
I have always been like that even as far back as high school and university and it still applies in my day-to-day work life too. Unfortunately in today’s reality, you don’t always have the luxury of time to provide your absolute best work when you have 50 other things to do before 5 pm. I never feel that the last minute stuff is my best work, but I am often told that my “good enough” is pretty good! So compromise can be good, at least I am not spending days working on something that can be “good enough” after a couple of hours’ effort.
Anyway, this applies across the board, including Christmas. You would think that with a set date every year, it should be easy for me to pull out a templated project plan, reset a few dates and voilà, I should be ready for Christmas long before the date… Unfortunately, that USED to be the case.
It just seems that after Halloween is done, you think you have a couple of weeks to catch your breath but before you know it, November flies by and you’re in the crowds of holiday shopping wondering where the time went. Then you’re up after midnight on December 21 decking the halls. Baking went out the window, so you’re heading to bakeries. You’re checking the mail service deadlines and sending out your Christmas cards on the last possible day and driving to the postal plant to make sure they make it out on time. Wrapping went out the window days ago, so you’re tossing gifts into gift bags before you are leaving for the festivities… or something like that!
Inevitably, December 25 comes and goes, ready or not, and on the 26th it didn’t really matter if you started planning on September 25, November 25, December 15 or December 24… Christmas happened. As long as you spent quality time with family, friends and colleagues through the festive season, that’s all that really mattered.
The root cause of the rush and lack of time is justified – it’s life when you have a lot on the go! And most of us do. But was it really necessary to take days to design the perfect Christmas with all the trimmings? Maybe “good enough” can apply here as well! After all, it isn’t about the food, the gifts, and the decorations. It’s about striking that right balance between living the traditions that are meaningful to you, making new traditions (if that is what you like) and not running yourself into the ground to make them happen!
In any case, it is with the best of intentions that I would like to be finished at least a week ahead so that I can actually enjoy putting on a red sweater, getting a mug of hot chocolate, light a fire in the fireplace, put on the Christmas carols, put my feet up, take a deep breath and take a moment to reflect on the many joys and blessings of the season.
… and not freak out at the last minute unexpected stuff!