Sunday 6 January 2013

What my Christmas decorations have taught me

I hate taking down Christmas decorations. It's boring, fiddly, depressing, takes ages and gets messy. And reveals a load of dust and dirt that needs cleaning up in its wake. And signals very definitely the end of Christmas.

Normally it looms large like this huge daunting task in front of me and subsequently gets put off until beyond 12th night (one year I even convinced myself it was best to leave them up until Candlemas. (Yes, in Feb). This may or may not have contributed to events in my life that have led me to feel the need to write a happiness blog.

Problem  with leaving a big fat task like this one is that, unlike paying the bills or calling your aunt or whatever, it isn't just the elephant in the room but the 6 foot flashing multicoloured adorned tree and associated paraphernalia in the room and is therefore quite hard to ignore and the longer you (erm, I, classic dissociation) leave it, the worse I feel and the harder it seems to start.

Well, that's how it felt yesterday. Today, once it was already too late (not my fault, I was convinced 12th night was last night and mother convinced me otherwise), I had a bit of an epiphany. Which is nice, since it's also Epiphany today.

And I thought to myself that there were very many parallels between my decoration procrastination and life lessons in general.

Nothing major, but it went a bit like this:

1. Today is my last opportunity to take my tree down. After today I can't even pretend I was confused over which night was 12th night and I'm far too busy from tomorrow to do anything about it.  It becomes non-negotiable, like (for people who still have a job) getting up and going to work.  What if we made all those tasks we need to achieve non negotiable as opposed to know, like going to the gym or putting money into savings? Sounds like an interesting tactic, no point trying to talk yourself out of something you have no choice over anyway.

2. I already have a lot to do today. I had pretty much nothing to do yesterday which somehow seemed to take me all day and made me knackered. Today I'm a whirlwind of activity and positive action so one measly bit of tree removal is nothing. That reminded me of something I learnt a while back when I first started my photo a day challenge...that being disciplined and achieving in one area of your life spills over into others. I can confirm, on today's evidence, this is true. If you want to get something done, get something else done. Or if you want something doing, ask a busy person.

3. I was feeling fed up and down yesterday so everything felt like hard work. Taking down decorations felt miserable. I'm feeling a bit more buoyant and optimistic today and so have more energy for the bits and bobs I need to do. I've also been able to re-frame it as, rather than the end of something, the beginning of something else and look forward to a nice clear, clean house rather than dread the act itself.

4. And most of all, I've done it bit by bit, little by little across the day. Every time I got up or walked past something, I plucked it off the tree or down from the wall.  I didn't mean to do it that way, it just sort of happened but I realised what I'd done was not only break the massive task down into more manageable chunks, but also to just get on and start. Rather than mull it over or put it off, I found myself just sort of doing little bits here or there and by the time I knew it, it's pretty much all done.

I say pretty much all done, because what I did next was write a blog about it instead of finishing it. Oh well, Candlemas it is then.

So there we go, the things that performing the simple if tiresome task of taking down my Christmas decorations helped me to remember about getting things done.

Now to apply them to the rest of my life!

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