A time-management experiment
On Sunday I pre-scheduled Monday’s blog post (round-up) and I worked on my diary for the coming week. I stuck to my original plan of having an hour for morning chores, an admin hour, three hours of writing, three hours of client work and an hour for dinner (lunch).
On Tuesday and Thursday of this week, I also have an hour of yoga scheduled in, replacing 30 minutes of morning chores time and 30 minutes of the admin hour.
But then Monday morning dawned and at 9am, instead of starting the household chores, I wanted to go and sit at my lovely new desk.
My jobs for the writing session included choosing illustrations for the Cadbury book, an hour of Camp NaNoWriMo, write a daily blog post, write up a 52 books in 52 weeks, and hand-write the next Alphabet Adventurers blog post – I write it up so the poet can do his voice-overs during production of the vlog, then by the time the blog is posted and the vlog is complete, I can link to the vlog and include any edited photographs he’s finished.
I wanted to get on with my work.
And so I tried an experiment. I sat down at my computer and started my admin work, setting the Pomodoro tomato for 25 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break instead of the usual 5-minute break. Then, during those 10 minutes throughout the morning I did a household chore or more – load the dishwasher, put a washload through, put a washload into the tumble dryer, put another washload through, collect eggs, collect post, feed chickens, etc.
By the time dinner time arrived, I didn’t even want to take a whole hour. And so I reset the timers and included a 30-minute session instead of the usual 60-minute session.
During that 30-minute dinner break I spoke to the poet on the phone, made and ate my dinner, and started to read a few blogs again – I used to do this all the time, and want to spend my dinner breaks doing this rather than playing card games. I even deleted Microsoft’s solitaire collection from the computer so I had to find something else to do with my dinner break.
Some of the blogs I skipped because they’d not been updated for months, sometimes years. I scan-read one blog, and then started to read Dean Wesley Smith’s blogs.
Hang my head in shame! This guy is in the middle of moving house, from Oregon to Las Vegas I believe, he goes to work during the day and of an evening he runs workshops, self-publishes his own magazines, designs his own covers for some of his shorts and, at the moment, he’s writing a short story each day for the month of April.
That’s thirty stories in thirty days as well as some of the covers. And a day job. And he’s moving house.
If you’re struggling with time management, hop on over to Smith’s blog and see how you feel after you’ve read his posts for the past seven days. (Incidentally, coming soon on 52 books in 52 weeks is a book on time management for writers, with a difference. So watch out for that one too.)
I’m not sure yet how successful my own experiment will be, but by dinner time I’d finished all of the household chores I usually allocate a whole hour to. And I’d completed as much admin as I wanted to. I’d also ended up writing the captions for the illustrations as I was choosing them, a job scheduled in for Tuesday’s writing session.
After dinner I got the illustration work to a point where I could leave it and I wrote and scheduled this blog post as well as a 52 books blog post, scheduled for Wednesday.
By 3pm I was ready to start work for fave client. The first job for these is always to check and respond to or send emails. And during Monday morning I received an email from them telling me a new job was on its way.
At the moment I’m feeling fairly relaxed and on top of things. Let’s see how things go for the week.
How do you cope with time management issues? Answers below, and thank you for reading.