Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas, One Thing at a Time!

These days, everyone always seems to be doing many things at once.  Even without a holiday, we're all multi-tasking.

I'm reminded of a quote from Gandhi, "There's more to life than increasing it's speed."  You might want to check out information about him...during this "season of peace," reading about his life it always a good reminder of what we could all do, not only this time of year, but year round.  Here's his bio from Wikipedia:

Apart from the part of not slowing down and smelling the roses, trying to do several things at once might be bad for you. 

I read an article that pointed out that multi-tasking may have some downsides, including health issues, decreased mental clarity and productivity and, therefore, less efficiency.

Here's the link if you want to check it out yourself:

During the holiday time period, it amps up.  Along with the job, the family (those you live with every day and those who join you for the holidays), housework, the cooking and cleaning, children, school, weather, sports, job searches for some, reading, writing, and the doctor and dentist visits that pop up at the most inopportune time, we also add in figuring out how to pay the holiday bills on top of the regular ones, and the last minute rush to get holiday cards out (and the guilt for ending last year with a promise to do it on time this year).

There are added arts and crafts projects, homemade gifts, cooking and baking, wrapping and decorating, tree shopping, going out for parties and meeting friends for drinks and meals, and a myriad of other things.

We all really know that we should slow down and focus on one task at a time, and savor the experiences.  Just today I received an email from "Daily Retreat and Renew," highlighting 9 De-Stressors!  Only 9, I can  handle can visit their website where you'll get all sorts of tips about how to slow down, breathe, take in the immediate moment, and relax...try this link and you can get a daily reminder about being present in the moment (that's different from getting a present every moment, which is nice, but I digress):

I do try to remember to slow down, but lest you think that I've gone over completely to the "calm side," read on...

On Saturday we went to the local Christmas Tree Farm.

My sister-in-law and a friend of hers join us each year, it's become a tradition, and we head out to cut down our own trees.  We were determined to find one quickly, as our guests seem to find a tree each within six minutes of arriving at the place, but our pace slackened as we, once again, ran into "The Goldilocks Syndrome."  This one is too big, this one is too small, this one is too dry, this one is too prickly, this one has a snarled trunk, this one has all of its branches on one side, this one...well, it goes on for quite a while until one of two things happen...and it's most likely a co-joining of we're sick of looking at trees and our standards being lowered (along with getting tired after tromping around the fields for two hours), but all of a sudden a tree calls to us...and one did.

Once my wife said, "This one," I dropped to the ground as quickly as I could (no, I didn't faint because she chose one) and sawed that baby down.  We got it baled (that's where they tie a big string around it to make it easier to deal with) and threw it in the car, tied two on top of my sister-in-laws car for her and her friend's trip home, and we were back four hours after leaving to get the tree (we only live six minutes away).

We put ours in its base and stood it in the house, in the approximate area of where it will be for the next six or seven weeks (yes, we keep it up a long time...makes that cold month of January a little more colorful and my wife swears it's February before you know it, because we do leave it up).

I also think it's better to leave it up that long as, by the time we take it down, all of the needles will have fallen off, the thing is as dried up as a prune, and it weighs practically nothing...real easy to toss out of the house!

The tree is actually a very good looking tree, sans decorations at this point.

In days gone by, I would have strung the lights on it, gotten out the decorations and by bedtime we'd have been done with it.  Not this year.  We're not multi-tasking any more.  Taking in the moment...basking in the glow of being present in the moment.

The tree stood bare for the got a drink of water before bed, but that was it.

Sunday night, I put the lights on it.  Five strings.  Starting to look good.  We had been out shopping, had a late dinner, (we did those things at a time) and after I got the lights in place my wife asked me, with a look that seemed to beg a negative response, "Are we decorating tonight?"  "No," I said, "We'll do that tomorrow night or Tuesday if we have something else to do tomorrow."  No rush.  We might even wait until Thursday, if something else comes having to turn the TV on, or a load of thing at a time.

Given my new take on efficiency, I decided to make a list of things that need to done for the holiday so that I can attend to each one, one-at-a-time, with a calm presence, in order to maintain mental clarity.

However, before I started the list, I found I had seven minutes with nothing to do and I opened a rather large bottle of Shiraz.

One might now argue that something else may be affecting my mental clarity, yet I proceed with my list of things to do this week, one at a time.

     1.  Buy Christmas Cards.  I did spend three hours looking for cards I'm sure I bought last year, but now must focus and move forward, and go out and buy new ones.  I'll do that when I have time to drive to I don't live near a sidewalk that allows me to walk to a store to buy them.

     2.  Sign Christmas cards, address envelopes, affix stamp and send out last week!  I guess noting that they should have gone out last week isn't good karma, building negativity...they'll get out in plenty of time.  Don't forget to include holiday newsletter!

     3.  However, while thinking of it, invest in time machine technology so that those cards would have been out last week, as I planned.

     4.  Write family holiday newsletter to have to send out with cards last week.  I keep           slipping back...sorry.

     5.  Shop for butter, sugar and eggs for Christmas Cookies, to replace those same things I bought last week...the ones the the boys decided to use to make Egg Nog Beer....yuck.

     6.  Clean up the basement after the great Christmas Egg Nog Beer explosion...the house does smell "seasonal," but the stuff is starting to curdle on the floor.

     7.  Make Christmas Cookies.  Sixty dozen decorated sugar cookies, using Christmas      themed cookie cutters.  Mix dough, bake, roll and cut, make sugar icing, decorate each cookie, one at a time, breathing three times deeply after each cookie cutter application!

    8.  Unwrap two dozen gifts that I got a head start on earlier in the year...the ones that I
forgot to put tags on that I know have to open to find out what's in the boxes and who they're for.

     9.  Return three gifts I bought for the boys after they went shopping over the weekend and walked into the house to show me what they bought for themselves.

   10.  Re-wrap recently discovered gifts and replacement gifts!!!

    11.  Take down the outside Halloween decorations (what's left of the pumpkins might just
slosh away in this rain that we're getting) and search the house and shed for those darn outdoor Christmas Decorations.

    12. Which reminds me, call electrician to the have outlets that burned out last year

    13.  Or, buy bigger fuses!

    14.  Cut pine branches to use in outdoor decorations and remember that the line that runs between the trees, about ten feet up in the air, is not a guideline to follow through the woods, but the main source of electricity to the house!

   15.  Decorate outside of house, when it stops raining.  Decorating and getting wet are two things, which lead to several more things, including a change of clothes, drying said wet clothes, and chancing electrocution.

   16.  Remember, one thing at a time!

Given my new attitude, that should keep me busy 24/7.  I re-read some of the de-stressor tips, and one of them indicates I should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Now, I've never had 8 hours of sleep at one time, and I think this practice is going to cut into my production time, but slow down I must so I just have to review what needs to be done and re-calculate when I'll be ready for the holiday.

In looking over my list, I find that several things are missing, but I don't have time for that right now as I am planning on having a cup of tea.  Focusing solely on boiling the water, pouring, steeping, savoring, and washing the cup, it appears I'll tied up for the next hour or so.  Normally, I would be thinking about what's next, but that's not on my list.

So, before I put that water in the kettle, I'll take a moment to provide a rough guess that I will be ready for the holiday without a problem, if we can keep this tree up till the 4th of July!!!

Oh, and a last minute cousin just sent me this nice, calming Christmas video...enjoy!

More later...happy pre-holiday!

No comments:

Post a Comment