At the beginning of the school year I took the Clifton Strengths assessment, a kind of long survey that asks you to rate what you prefer between two choices or what you think about two options. I wasn’t shocked when my top strength came up as “Achiever.”
Achievers like to write lists and check things off, get things done, and not only work long hours but work hard. Based on how I see other people spend their time during a work day and a work week I just thought I was a crazy person when it came to work, but it made sense after I read the description. It sounds like me. And in some ways I now understand why, in the past, I drove many of my co-workers crazy.
I’m learning to manage my achiever tendencies at work, and I’m trying to see other areas of my life as arenas where I can achieve — like Christmas!
Oh, and I’ve done it this weekend. From Friday night after work when nothing in our house seemed Christmas-like or Christmas-ready to Sunday night at 9pm when I write this, things are a near 180. Christmas presents for everyone on the list? Check! Tree up and decorations out? Check! The numerous holiday cards and matching postage are ready to go — just waiting for some friends and family to get back to me with their addresses. Oh, and have you heard? We talked it over and we’ll be hosting Christmas Day, maybe up to 25 people! I guess I just have to send out those invites…
You see what I did there? I crushed it! But wait — is that the way the holiday season is meant to be done? Are we supposed to crush Christmas? Yeah, probably not. But as an Achiever, the to do list is both anxiety-producing and addictive to get done, and except for a few loose ends and waiting for Christmas Day to come, most of it is done. And the loose ends that are hanging? It’s taking all my might not to stay up till midnight tonight and do them — the lesson planning and grading that’s due tomorrow be damned!
That said — I’m going to take a deep breath and try to let the list and all the doing it entails go. Because what’s the point of a holiday season if I’m going to try and crush it all into one weekend? There’s fun and enjoyment in letting a few things stay undone, saving them for next weekend, or even a spontaneous weeknight between now and December 25th.
It’s hard for me to not want to turn Christmas and the holiday season into another whirlwind, 12-hour day, accomplishment. But I’m going to try my best to let things linger and last. And maybe that will be my achievement this holiday season, pushing myself to allow a few things be undone — or spontaneously done — rather than listed, scheduled, and checked off at breakneck speed. After all, I’m not Santa: I don’t have to get it all done in one night.