So. Several months on from Christmas the kids are already asking - how many sleeps till Santa dad? And I’m busy telling them we haven’t had Easter yet! (Despite the hot cross buns and Easter eggs being in store since January first). Then they say - why can’t we have Christmas more often?
A stupid question? Or a legitimate request? As a parent. Maybe it’s legitimate - you can hold the naughty and nice list over their head regularly. That’s an amazingly powerful thing to use when you need action from the kids (or lack of action as the case may be). In exchange they get gifts more often. I could do that. Clothes or toys they get during the year could be held off in quarterly intervals.
What about adults? Could we use Christmas every quarter? I’m not so sure. The parties, food and drinks might be a bit much.
Prior to Christmas itself I had at least three different people express how much they like the pressure Christmas brings to their work. The theme was common.The deadline of Christmas made decision making easier. It made prioritisation easier. They got more done in the same amount of time. The parties etc. ensured they finished work on time or did not work longer hours. Even though one might be able to mount an argument that a work Christmas party is work time – not personal time.
If we are truly honest with ourselves, there are very few real deadlines. Periods after which your ability to do something is totally lost. Or at least lost for a long period. Christmas is NOT one. Yet we treat it like one. Projects need to be finished by Christmas. We need to be in our new house by Christmas. I need to write the report by Christmas. But work goes on between Christmas and New year and then on again in January. In many cases the people we are writing reports for, or getting work finalised with a not around in January. So whatever the next step is, is not complete until February or later. Turns out it could have been done in January. Turns out Christmas was not really a deadline.
We’ve all been involved in work that was meant to be complete by Christmas, but was not. And we’re still working on it in March. In-spite of the pressure we put on ourselves in December.
In reality Christmas as a deadline is one we impose on ourselves. Not one imposed upon us. It is not a deadline. Historically a deadline was a very literal one. A line drawn around a prison, beyond which prisoners were able to be shot (and killed). And as discussed above, most times for most people and most projects, Christmas is not a deadline.
If setting such a target improves our productivity. If setting such a target facilitates decision making, or delegation; perhaps four Christmases per year would not be too bad?