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Staying Focused During Vacations and the Holidays

Nothing is quite so sweet as seeing that block on your calendar that says, “Vacation,” or “Holiday.” Of course, it comes with some stressors, but oh, that time away.

One of those nagging items that accompany time off may be your writing. Hopefully, you have set a schedule or timeline for when your next milestone needs to be completed. The holidays in particular can present both opportunities and pitfalls. The key to determining which path you will go down is having a plan.

Many people once the time off starts will need a day or so to decompress and turn off the noise of work or the office. Completely understandable. But the goal is not to let a day turn into three days or into ten continuous hours of Netflix or….

Yes, take the time you deserve to recharge. As the famous philosopher Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

But remember your writing project will still be there when reality intrudes. As the holiday or vacation approaches, map out a plan. Set aside that time to decompress or even for that new streaming show. Don’t shortchange your time with your family or friends. But also set aside time to write, edit, research, or whatever needs to keep your project moving forward. Try to schedule specific days and times that you will work. Mornings, for many people, are the most productive. Or schedule time to go to a library or coffee shop, even if only for an hour, to separate yourself from the distractions.

You may also need to ‘fess up to your family and friends about these blocks of time. They will surely respect you carving out a bit of time to ensure your project stays on track. These times can also be a bit of a breather from intense family time that some people desire.

Creating a schedule and holding yourself to it is an important trait of successful writers and academics. Be kind to yourself with the time off, but also be aware of the importance to you of keeping your commitments and advancing your writing career. And happy holidays!

Reprinted with permission from TAA:


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