Distracted faction

I started tracking! Or, well, I started to start. Except I forgot some categories I wanted to use (like “social” and “personal”), and I stopped tracking after I actually started getting anything done. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

So what did I spend the rest of my day on? Discussing Oreos on Twitter, working on different ways of looking at the data from the SFWA survey (like which member categories have more females than males), and going to the open house at our son’s school.

After that, got home, talked with our daughter about her homework, got her to bed, and wrote 252 words. Still not where I want to be, but better than the last few days.

Slowing down again

Last week went even better than I’d thought, with several days over 1,000 words. This week is being more of a struggle — not sleeping as well, trouble focusing, barely eking out a hundred words or so each day (119 today, for those keeping score). As I said in my newsletter — which went out today, a couple days late — I’m considering tracking my time to see how much I’m spending in the different areas of my life. If you’ve got experience or anecdotes about your own time tracking methods, drop them in the comments. I’m interested!

Meanwhile, I’ll be working on enjoying fall and watching the changing seasons around me. Here, one of our holly bushes is covered with berries, but they haven’t begun to redden yet.

And here we have the sedum, the flowers just starting to open.

Good intentions

I didn’t get my nap today. (Yes, I know it’s after midnight, but in my head it’s still Wednesday night.) Busy day, and by the time I could try to catch a nap, my brain wouldn’t settle down enough to take one.

So then I was going to go to bed “early” — a bit after our son goes to bed, say, 10:30. But then I realized I’d written NO WORDS yet, and that had to be corrected. Which I did, barely.

But I was slow because being tired causes that, so I didn’t get done. And most of the things I did before that didn’t take a lot of thought — spatchcocking and roasting a chicken, taking our daughter to Brownies, reading the last four chapters of The Menagerie with our daughter (oh, I should add that to my total!).

The most creative thing I did today was to start a new notebook. I keep seeing people using Bullet Journals and talking about them, and my response is always the same — that wouldn’t work for me because I’d never keep it up. They say it’s a feature that it takes time to copy tasks over from day to day because you get the chance to decide if it’s really that important to you; I say if I don’t have time to get to a task, making me lose even more time to write it down over and over is counterproductive. However …

I like notebooks. I like the pretty layouts. I like to-do lists, and I love the idea of gathering everything together. So my new notebook isn’t a Bullet Journal or GTD or any specific planner I’ve run across, although it draws ideas from them. (And I did a table of contents in my lab notebooks, so that’s as much an influence as Bullet Journal’s “index.”) It’s a project journal, where every project starts on a new page, and all the things I can think of — next actions, decisions to make, references, notes, etc. — related to that project go on that page, with little checkboxes so I can track my progress. It doesn’t help with deciding which thing to work on at any given time, but it should help me figure out where I am with each.

Also, I have a lot of projects. Just getting them into the notebook may take a while.

Words written today: 105
Words written this month: 21,285
Words written 2017: 77,912
Average words/day 2017: 885
Books completed 2017: 1
Pages read: 4 chapters
Books read 2017: 6
Exercise reps: 0

New start to the morning

I apologize for being scarce around here this month. It’s been a rough month, and if we’re connected anywhere else, you know this. I summed up in my latest newsletter, and if you’re not a subscriber, I strongly suggest you do subscribe!

I read lots of newsletters and mailing lists (probably too many, to be honest — time spent on them is time not used in writing), and I want to mention one of them today: Benjamin Hardy. He recently republished an article on Medium, 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 a.m.

When I read it (and downloaded his checklist), I hoped it was going to be just easy tweaks. Not a challenge. I feel like I have enough challenges in my life, you know?

And some of it seems obvious — get enough sleep, focus on what you want to be doing, move your priorities forward.

But …

I’ve found myself making excuses for why I haven’t even tried. I get up between 6 and 6:30 and spend the time until almost 9 getting kids fed, making sure lunches are made, and seeing them off to school. His routine looks like it would add another couple of hours, and I can guarantee I’m not getting up at 4. And I’m tired, and it hasn’t been a good month, and and and. Lots of excuses.

The thing is, I do want to, as he says, get out of survival mode and live on purpose. Make changes that will help me focus more in the morning and get things done.

Some changes I may not make — I know that exercise in the morning makes me worthless for the rest of the day.

But I’ll start with two, similar to things I already do, and go from there: journaling each morning when I first wake up (instead of waiting until 9 a.m.), and a cold shower (or at least a warm shower with a cold rinse at the end) each day. This is my public commitment to doing this for this week, next week, and the foreseeable future.

Anyone else want to join in?

Three random things

Two-headed monster

(First thing)
Last week, I told the kids we’d do what they wanted for the last day of summer. They opted for the Da Vinci Science Center, so that’s where we spent the afternoon. (Morning was library, comics and gaming store, and ice cream shop for lunch.)

Which means that the kids are back in school now. Huzzah! This, of course, is what I’m grateful for. Continue reading

Counting up . . . (15 things)

1 Really Cool Thing

I’m on the Andre Norton Award Jury this year! Official announcement

(Hey, look, I didn’t bury the lede!)

5 Things to Put You in a Better Mood

Happiness, confidence, optimism, meaning in life, and success — Eric Barker talks about notes to write yourself to give yourself a boost

9 Things

This actually falls into the series of productivity tools I’ve been talking about. It’s a simple take on the to-do list that I picked up from Jamie Todd Rubin, and he got the idea from the 27 GoodThings blog. Being a paperless ambassador, he advocates Evernote and Penultimate, but you can do the same thing with any notepad. And rather than duplicate his explanation, I’ll just link to his original post. I find this a very useful tool to keep myself (mostly) from trying to do too much on a given day. Getting “9 Things” Done

What interesting things have you found recently?

Using your time series: An overview

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

If it’s Tuesday, this still must be France

Or, I’m still proofreading. You may have noticed I didn’t get my weekly gratitude post up yesterday. That’s because my computer was busy crashing and corrupting files, so I had to do some disk maintenance, run a virus/malware scan (just in case), and repair disk permissions. That didn’t leave a lot of time for things like blogs. Continue reading