Hard as it is to believe, the last quarter of 2019 has arrived. Summer passed quickly, and now it is Fall, which seems to have finally arrived in the South. This fourth quarter of the year is full of celebrations. October hosts Halloween, November Thanksgiving, and December Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas. This time of the year can wear us out, especially women, and even more especially, mothers. While it is a wonderful time of the year, it can also be exhausting. But it doesn’t have to be, not if we plan well and execute wisely. It is time to make those decisions now while we can before these months get away from us.
October is filled with pumpkins and goblins. Although Halloween is a favorite holiday of many, it is a holiday that I do not particularly enjoy. I do love to see our grandchildren dressed out in their costumes, but that is about it for my Halloween. While I do have pumpkins and mums decorating our home, October is all about beginning to ready for Thanksgiving, our family’s large event.
November is a busy month for our family. I love Thanksgiving and do not mind the preparations required to host the holiday for our more than sixty family and extended family. (We had sixty-five for the last two Thanksgivings)! And I am by no means the only one cooking and preparing for this celebration. My sister-in-law Dianne is every bit as busy as I am. She and her adult children and grandchildren prepare the Wednesday evening meal, and they are in the kitchen for most of the rest of the meals. Other family members are as well. As you can surmise, the main Thanksgiving meal is only one of the meals that are prepared for our family during these days together. And others in our extended family host meals also, such as the Friday breakfast totally prepared by the Monahans, Mooneyhams, and their parents. Yes, these days our family is together and they are filled with food, family, and fellowship. If I am not very careful, I can find the pounds I so diligently lost these past few months!
December is full of celebrations. The main three celebrations for most Americans are Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is celebrated mainly by African Americans and is a secular holiday. Hanukkah is a religious Jewish celebration. Christmas is a religious celebration that has become very commercialized. Although the secular accouterments of Christmas begin as early as September with the arrival of trees and other decorations in retail establishments, Christmas begins in full swing for many people once the Thanksgiving tables are cleared.
Beginning now, we need to plan how we are going to manage these three months, October, November, and December. While we know that we all have limited time and cannot “do it all,” whatever “all” is for us, it is too easy to get caught up in the throes of the busyness. In doing so, we can lose the true meaning of the celebrations.
Years ago, I developed a Three-Part Process for Effectiveness; Plan, Purge, and Perform, which can be a helpful model for us to use to manage our time during this season. This is a proactive process, requiring that we recognize our priorities and our limits.
Planning involves setting goals and identifying our desired results. I recommend that we limit even this process, knowing that we do not have time for the process to be all-inclusive, or we will get lost in the process and not accomplish our desired results. One way to do this is to focus on three desired results we want to accomplish each month of this quarter. Not ten, not even five, but three. Three seems more manageable. We can structure these into categories, such as Personal, Family, and Financial. Try it. Identify one goal in each of these categories for each month of this quarter. In doing so, we are planning.
Purging means deciding what to eliminate to make room for those things that are more important. One thing worthy of Purging is Perfectionism. Another is Disorganization. A third can be Procrastination. In each of these three categories, it is important to list a specific activity to purge. Purging Clutter is one example worthy of our time.
The third process of this model is Performing. The most important part of Performing is Focus. We all can suffer from lack of Focus, especially at this time of the year when there are so many things to get done. It is important to determine the most important things to get done, so we are effective.
We are still at the beginning of this third quarter, with time available to be proactive. If we are not diligent, we will be facing the beginning of 2020, having failed to make the last quarter of 2019 everything that we wanted it to be.
It is time to stop reading and start doing!