I poke at time management now and then. Try new systems. Look at sites on-line. Try to increase my productivity. Recently, I’ve realized I’ve gotten lazy — I’m too inclined to sit down and putter instead of looking at what’s on my to-do list and doing it. If realizing that one isn’t being productive were enough to make somebody become productive, it wouldn’t be a multi-million dollar industry. So I’m embarking on the journey again, trying to do more — and this time, I’m blogging about it, with reference to things I’ve read and what I’m planning to try. Feel free to chime in on the comments of these posts with your own ideas and problems! Continue reading
Why an hour? Because it’s a chunk of time I often have. In the mornings, after I make my son’s lunch and tidy up the kitchen, it’s about an hour before he heads off to the school bus and I get down to work for the day. In the evening, it’s about an hour between when I get my daughter to bed and when I need to get my son to bed. After that, it may be one or two hours before I head to bed. Just as some examples. And, of course, there are all those hours on the weekend that might get ignored and frittered away.
In an hour, I can . . .
- Hand piece one quarter of a quilt block.
- Index 5-15 pages (depending on the text).
- Write 1,500 words.
- Read 2 or 3 chapters in a book (been a while since I timed my reading, so this is a WAG).
- Weed and mulch a flower bed.
- Do the week’s grocery shopping.
- Cook and serve dinner, maybe even squeeze in the clean-up.
- Watch an video lecture for an online class or do the associated homework so I’ve got deeper background for future stories.
- Go for a run, then stretch and shower afterward.
- Read a stack of books with my daughter.
- Go outside and blow bubbles and draw with sidewalk chalk with both of my kids.
- Bake a batch of cookies.
- Clean all 3 of the bathrooms.
- Play cribbage with my son.
- Pay bills and clean clutter off the table where they’ve been stacked.
- Watch an episode of an SF show on Netflix with my husband (We went through the new Battlestar Galactica earlier this year, and Netflix has various flavors of Star Trek as well, for example.), possibly plus an episode of a comedy like Arrested Development.
Sometimes, it’s not an hour; I only have 15 or 20 minutes — but I can still get a chunk of a lot of these done.
What about you? What can you do with an hour?
I’m behind in listening to the I Should Be Writing podcast, but back in . . . episode 199, maybe? . . . Mur Lafferty suggested writing down all the things you do that take time. She wasn’t saying you have to actually write down how much time you spend on e-mail or playing computer games or reading with your kids, just that anything you spend significant time on (personal grooming excepted) should be on the list. The idea is that your top time priorities (family, work, whatever) are probably not going to change, but as you look at things lower down the list, that’s where you can find more time for writing (or drawing or quilting or crocheting or whatever your own interest happens to be).
It’s a scary exercise. Sure, obviously, I’m going to put down time on the computer — but to be completely honest with myself, I have to divide that up because some of that is work (copyediting, proofreading, indexing, marketing my freelance business), some of it is writing or writing-related (writing, research on markets, e-publishing my works, submissions, research for stories), some of it is social interaction (Facebook, Twitter, blogging, reading and commenting on blogs, on-line chats, Forward Motion), and some of it is just plain goofing off (and sometimes, research and social interaction belong here, along with any computer games, reading Webcomics, following random links, looking at the new free books available for Kindle or Nook apps, and so forth). I’m not really good at drawing the lines there, and to a certain extent, I need both the social interaction (my husband being the only adult I see on a regular basis) and the puttery aspect of not having my brain going full-blast all however many hours I’m awake.
At least I know where I need to work on things. Writing needs to take precedence to Facebook and Twitter. Puttering should only happen after I’ve worked or written for the day. The work/writing duo is something I’m not sure what to do with. I find it hard to work on my own words when I’ve been devoting my brain to somebody else’s for most of the day, but because the freelance work represents actual (rather than potential) money, it has to take precedence. Maybe, practically speaking, I can’t work and write on the same day. If true, that’s just one more reason to make sure writing happens before puttering. *sigh* Guess that means I won’t be checking out what Agatha’s up to first thing Monday morning.
This doesn’t even take into account the off-line things I do with my time, from running errands to weeding and planting to quilting to reading and so on. And a lot of days, it’s one of those or writing, not both. (There’s a reason my son complained the book I handed him earlier today was covered with dust. Housework generally isn’t high on the list.)
What about you? Where are you spending your time?
I come from a family of readers. My parents’ living room had a bookcase my dad had made to cover one wall. It must have been twenty feet long and ten to twelve feet high (cathedral ceiling), and even so, there were shelves where the books were two deep, plus other bookcases scattered around the house. I married into another family of readers, and books flow back and forth, borrowed, returned, recommended.
With this family background in mind, it should come as no surprise that our kids love books. I would have been surprised by any other result, in fact.
Our son at three could recite Green Eggs and Ham from memory. Our daughter at nine months would sit up and carefully turn pages in books, babbling with varying tones as if reading them. For a lot of the summer, bedtime was mostly an advisory number, with the understanding that if our son got into bed by then, he could stay up reading pretty much as long as he wanted. Now that school’s back in session, he generally only gets to stay up late reading on Saturday nights, and even then, not indefinitely.
So it should not surprise me that our daughter wants to go to bed with a book and have me leave the light on. She doesn’t have school (although she does get up early for daycare); thus, my feeling is that if it keeps her in bed and quiet until she falls asleep, I’m all for it!
Yes, my attitude is almost certainly influenced by the fact that my parents never let me stay up to read, whether I had anything to do the next day or not. I’d sneak out of my room and read by the light filtering down the hall. I got caught, of course, but it was worth it, just to get a little farther in the book. So much time wasted on early bedtimes when I could have been reading!
Now, of course, I rarely have the energy to stay up late reading, so I have to sneak it in at random intervals, and I just can’t read as much as I used to. How about you — do you stay up to read? Or do you make time elsewhen in your schedule?