As you may know, I usually take a 10-day retreat over the Christmas holiday. This is definitely a “stay-cation” in that I’m typically working from home during this period and this time is often used for working on writing and other projects.

But this year, I’m doing something a little different with my winter break… I’m planning to have themed “days” to segment the projects that I’ll be working on.

I don’t think it will surprise you at all that it’s actually been really fun for me to create a plan (and has led to some nice feelings of anticipation) for this upcoming retreat period.

Since I’m not actively writing a new book right now, there are a lot of other things I want to accomplish over the 12 days that I’ll be on break. I thought that this method of segmenting my work into “days” would keep me from feeling overwhelmed. It’s also been a good strategy to make sure I’m not overestimating what I’ll be able to do.

Here’s how I went about it:

1) I starting by creating a list of projects that I wanted to work on. This initial list was a lot of things that have been back-burnered as I’ve worked on other projects, administrative tasks for my business, work that would need a good amount of time and/or thought, and projects that would allow me to work ahead a bit for the New Year.

2) Next, since some of these projects were related to one another, I began to sort them into broader themes. Here are some examples: podcasting-related tasks, website design tasks, content creation tasks, business admin tasks, book writing tasks, etc.

3) After grouping the ideas, I then labeled them for specific days (i.e. Podcasting Day, Book Writing Day, Content Creation Day). That quickly gave me a list of 11 different “days” for my 12-day break. (While that sounds like a lot of work, I was also able to include some more fun activities like “Art Day” in the mix, so that the work can feel balanced with some fun and creativity. Also, I know I’ll have a “Family Day” in there somewhere that will provide me with a break.)

4) After reviewing the “Days” that I had labeled, I figured that some of them might actually be half-days or less (or maybe more than one day for the larger projects), so my next step was to create a list of the tasks that I hoped to accomplish for each project. The nice thing about having these task lists is that even if I don’t get everything accomplished over the break, I now have an action plan for how to move each project forward.

5) Once I had the tasks lists, I began to draft a general schedule. With these additional task details, I was able to more accurately estimate how long I would need to devote to each grouping of tasks. Some are going to be more than one day, but others will be less, so they fit together a bit like puzzle pieces.

Now I feel like I have a good plan for what I’m going to work on over the break. I can wake up each day, look at the different task lists, and decide what I feel like working on. Also, since I’m someone who thrives from working with lists, diving into this planning period has been a little slice of heaven.

To think on:

  • Are you planning on taking a break for the holidays?
  • What projects and tasks will you be devoting time to before the end of the year?