It will be a difficult week transitioning back from holiday schedules to regular schedules. Perhaps you are also trying to start new routines as part of a New Year’s resolution as well. Do your best not to get overwhelmed by what you are facing and take a few moments to breathe every now and again!
Now that we are off to a fresh new year, one of the to do items is to refresh our calendars. As I was going month by month through some planning for the year, I thought it would be helpful to give a short preview of how 2010 lays out with regard to holidays and other matters.
Perception of time is a complex issue and in fact there is a whole science of the “philosophy of time.” No one knows exactly how time is represented in the brain.
“[T]he perception of [time] is crucially bound up with memory. It is some feature of our memory of the event (and perhaps specifically our memory of the beginning and end of the event) that allows us to form a belief about its duration.”
–“The Experience and Perception of Time,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The above fascinating article (which I confess I don’t completely understand) addresses such complex questions as how our brains process events in time and why we don’t perceive the future.
It seems possible that perception of time could vary from person to person and that we all have strengths and weaknesses with regard to working with time. Take for example, the numerous formats of calendars and planners available. Some people like a monthly paper calendar, others a full year viewed simultaneously, others weekly or day-by-day checklists. Some need a combination of all of these. Others eschew all paper calendars and rely on electronic methods instead.
When I am working with time, I find it essential that I look first at the long view of what time there is to work with and then focus in progressively smaller, from years, to months to weeks to day-to-day tasks. Other people I know find looking at the long view overwhelming and just want to focus on day-to-day, week to week or month to month. Both approaches have their limitations. Long-range planning has to be adjusted frequently to adapt to the inevitable changes of life. Short-range planning, while flexible, can be limited in its effectiveness. Decisions we make in the moment today may be “wrong” when viewed on a longer time scale.
First things first, when is our next vacation? 2010 looks to be a near perfect year from a holiday scheduling perspective. All of the major U.S. holidays fall at or very close to a weekend so there are many 3 and 4-day holidays to look forward to and no awkward one-day-off-in-the-middle-of-the-week type of holidays. You can save your precious vacation time for a good long summer vacation or split it up throughout the year for numerous mini-vacations.
- Martin Luther King Jr. holiday comes two weeks from today on Monday, January 18.
- President’s Day Holiday comes on Monday, February 15, which happily coincides with Valentine’s weekend. There are sure to be a lot of romantic vacations that weekend. School celebrations of Valentine’s Day, however, will probably be pushed up to Friday, February 12. The Winter Olympics in Vancouver start that weekend as well.
- Easter, although not a work holiday, comes Sunday, April 4. Spring Break for many schools comes the following week, April 5-9, although it varies quite a bit. If you have children in school, now would be a good time to find out when this break occurs and include it in your planning. If you are planning a spring vacation and have some flexibility in your scheduling, you might want to avoid traveling during spring break weeks to save some money.
- Mother’s Day comes Sunday, May 9.
- Memorial Day comes May 31. There are five Mondays in May this year so it will seem like quite a wait for it to come.
- Father’s Day comes Sunday, June 20.
- Independence Day comes on Sunday, July 4th with the federal holiday granted the following day on Monday, July 5th. We get a built-in 3-day weekend as a result!
- Labor Day comes Monday, September 6th and Columbus Day, Monday, October 11.
- Halloween falls on a weekend again, Sunday, October 31 (which usually means it is celebrated on Saturday night in many places).
- Veterans Day is November 11 and falls on a Thursday this year so if you take just one vacation day on November 12, you get a 4-day weekend, followed by another 4-day weekend two weeks later for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25. If you celebrate Hanukkah, you might need both of these long weekends to get prepared as Hanukkah comes early this year, December 1-9. If you celebrate Christmas, you could get a jump start on your preparations as well.
- Christmas Day falls on Saturday, December 25 with the holiday falling on Friday, December 24 and we kick of 2011 on a Saturday as well so 3-day weekends for Christmas and New Year’s as well!
Now that we know how much time we have off, when do we get paid? If you are an employee paid according to the most common biweekly time schedule, paychecks start on Friday, January 15 and end tidily on Friday, December 31.
One budgeting tip that has been helpful to our family is to figure out when the “bonus” paychecks occur. Even if you don’t receive a bonus as part of your pay, there are two built-in “bonuses” to your regular 26 paychecks. Most of us effectively need to subsist on 2 paychecks per month since 10 months out of the year, we only receive 2 paychecks. If you can work your home finances so that you are always subsisting on 2 paychecks per month, the “extra” 2 paychecks can be your “bonus.” In 2010, the “bonus” months are July and December. This timing is also fortunate to help with holiday spending at the end of the year.
So, many positive things for 2010! What other scheduling or budgeting items are you looking into at the moment? What type of calendaring system do you prefer to use? Please share in the comments.