Monday 12 February 2024: Budgeting to faff

I often notice myself disappearing down various rabbit holes. And these rabbit holes can be all shapes and sizes. Usually, they’re research holes. Often, they’re faffing holes, where I start faffing with something, like a new book cover, and then lose the entire day. And sometimes, I’m just being bone idle, meaning to start work ‘in a minute’, but still not being able to put down that game or that book or that whatever.

When I was very, very skint, the book that saved me was THE MONEY DIET by Martin Lewis. Of course, I knew how to budget. But what I wasn’t doing was budgeting for all the nice things I used to compulsively buy. Like books. Or, to be more precise, ebooks. I had no problem budgeting for household bills or shopping or car expenses. But I didn’t budget for nice things.

There was a website that went with the book, and a forum that went with the website. And it was on that forum that someone pointed out to me that although I was in debt and trying to reduce that debt, it was still okay to spend money on books, so long as I included them in my budget.

From that day forward I stopped ‘overspending’ on books. I gave myself a monthly allowance, and I stuck to it. It never rolled over, by the way. That was never something I enjoyed. But at least it meant I didn’t spend more than I could afford.

I’ve started to do the same kind of thing with faffing, only this time I’m starting a Pomodoro off on my watch and allowing myself up to 50 minutes to have a faff. This can apply to falling down rabbit holes – once I’ve realised, rather than drag myself away or stay there for eternity, I’m *allowing* myself 50 minutes to have a faff.

And it was working too. Until this morning. When an idea for a new series of writers’ guides hit me in the face. I had no problem quickly drafting out the various chapter headers, to remind me what to include. But before I went too far, I wanted to have a play with the book cover. And then I decided that each chapter could be an individual ebook in its own right, but I’d need 12 book covers that all went together with the main one.

I had a play in Canva, saw an idea I liked, and then fell down a rabbit hole trying to work out how I could create the same thing myself. And I forgot to set my timer…

First of all I fell down into Canva, then I fell down into searching for suitable images, then I fell down looking for a mockup I could edit, then I fell down into how I might edit the mockup in Affinity, and then I fell down into creating my own mockup in Affinity, and then I fell down into watching videos about how to create or edit mockups in Affinity…

The phone rang, it was the poet checking in after dinner time, and I realised I hadn’t had anything to eat. But at least foraging for food for myself (in the kitchen!) forced me to step away from the Affinity and regroup.

Now I know that if I fall down the Affinity/mockup rabbit hole again, I just have to stop, take a breather, and set a Pomodoro on my watch. It works for playing games and looking at houses. It should work for falling down rabbit holes.


So, after bragging that I was back up to speed with the blogging, I then didn’t post a blog for Friday. Tut, tut. And this time it wasn’t because I was frittering away the day. This time I was actually busy.

I’d already got back onto the nasty edit on Thursday. I’m going through the new pdf, checking it against the old pdf to ensure all the changes made on that one have made it through to this one. A few have fallen through the net, but this job had so many edits, the designer has done a sterling job catching the ones that s/he did.

This job is 500 pages, though, and every single page had an amendment on, and some pages had great rafts of text added in that I’m now proofreading for the first time. Friday was dedicated to cracking on with this job before we had to go out. I didn’t finish the job. I did about 150 pages. But I had to step away from it in order to catch our train.

We drove to the railway station and got stuck in traffic on the motorway. Fortunately, it was moving. It was just really, really slow, and we did get there in good time. We had a train we could catch every 10 minutes or so, and we only had to wait just over 5 minutes after we bought our tickets. But when we got off at the other end, the heavens opened. And by the time we got to the bank, we were soaked.

Two drowned rats, we completed our business in Sheffield and stopped off at Meadowhall on the way back to get some tea and to buy the poet a webcam for his computer. By the time we got home, it was dark and I didn’t feel much like working into the evening on top of an epic drive, train, walk and back.

Saturday was shopping day. We were both aching from walking up 7 hills in Sheffield in the rain, so shopping was the only thing we did. And on Sunday we went for a drive to the seaside, had a very quick, very brisk walk, ate a picnic, and came home.

I’m going to leave it there today, so I have something else to write about to remind me to post a blog tomorrow!

4 thoughts on “Monday 12 February 2024: Budgeting to faff

    1. Oh, it is. Too easy. Especially when one is feeling a tad overwhelmed. Much easier to faff at something rather than actually work. And then the work becomes a bit of a chore.

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