Author Topic: The more time I get, the less time I have...  (Read 4897 times)

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Offline Lindsey B

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The more time I get, the less time I have...
« on: January 01, 2008, 08:51 AM »
So now that the numbers have rolled over to '08, it's time to get my @*%! in order. A lot of things have changed for me in the last six months except for one thing- I haven't finished a single writing project. I have three PBs written and illustrated, but I'm mired in the revision process, and it seems like every step forward is five steps back. Meanwhile, I have FIVE novels from outlined to nearly finished that I have put  on hold until I can get the first PB polished and in manilla.
In September I got to quit my job when my husband was transfered and we moved, and the idea was to take some time off and really get cracking at the drawing board. When we moved, I lost my mom as a babysitter, when I had six full hours of writing and drawing time twice a  week.  Now I could have six hours per day, or more.

Basically, when I was working full time, I got more work done than I do now when all my hours are free to arrange as I please.  Of course, all the added Christmas projects this past month did not help.
I realize I have a problem with basic time management here, and it seems the more I procrastinate, the more "great" ideas I have that go on the list of things to "get to"...

Anyone else??

Offline ghostgirl

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2008, 09:28 AM »
I can totally relate.  When I was teaching high school full time and raising a new baby, I seemed to get a lot more done, though not on my writing.  That came with the second baby!  After a brief stint as a 3rd-grade teacher, I am now back at home (as of Dec. 21) and I have to really get myself together.  I got NOTHING done from Sept to Dec.  I have found that giving myself deadlines helps me set and stick to work times better.    I keep a spread sheet of submissions and projects, which keeps it real.  If I have nothing on the list, I'm not giving myself enough goals or sticking to it.  I have been incredibly lucky to have a DH who gives me time (and sometimes demands that I do it) to go write.  So that is what that time is dedicated to. 

When I used to drop off my youngest at preschool, at least 2 days of the week I would bring my laptop and go to my favorite cafe to work until it was time to collect her again.  I didn't allow myself to run errands or go home. 

You'll get it going!  It's a new year!
 :writing3
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Offline RebeccaL-G

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2008, 09:41 AM »
I can so relate. The situation reminds me of going to a salad bar and heaping far more on my plate than I actually can or should eat.  I'm a teacher and during the school year I can teach all day, attend professional meetings, cook, clean, run errands and squeeze in other tasks during the evenings and handle it all pretty well.  But just before every summer and winter vacation my mind fills with images of writing projects, cleaning tasks, craft and cooking projects. They dance in my head like visions of sugarplums.  The reality of each summer and winter is that usually that I get less done overall than I do when I have a daily schedule.  I tend to overextend myself and don't do well with lots of time.  Also, over the years I've realized my summer needs are different than my school year needs.  I really do NEED more down time to rest, relax and recharge.  

I've found it helpful during my vacation time to write a schedule of tasks in my email Outlook tasks and cross them off as I go.  Rather than concentrating on big tasks in chunks I try to break them down so I do a little each day.  And I reward myself for getting unpleasant tasks done.  I also use virtual post-it notes from Google gadgets on my computer sidebar to note tasks I need to get done.  I also try to schedule "breaks" each summer day for just doofing around.  I miss those recess minutes!  

Good luck.   :typing

Oh my gosh, as I was typing Ghostgirl was posting and how funny our posts are so similar! 

Rebecca L-G
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Offline Diane

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2008, 09:49 AM »
Ain't it the truth! You know what they say, if you want something done, give it to a busy person.

For me, the best way out of this is to make lists. I make a daily list, almost always with more things than I can possibly accomplish. Some things I know I won't do, but I put them on the list anyway, because after they roll around in my consciousness collecting guilt for a few days, I'll finally do them. Also, on hard things, I make easy goals. It's easy to avoid a three-hour task, but if I make a deal with myself to do just half an hour, that might stretch out, or, it will be easier to tackle another half hour the next day.

Anyone else a list slave?

Offline Verla Kay

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2008, 10:26 AM »
I HAVE to use lists or I would never get anything done.  Hmm. Maybe that's why I haven't gotten anything done lately?  Where are my lists? :mail  I bet that snarky mailbox ate them....  :moose

Thanks for reminding me that I need to get my :mooning in gear, folks.  :waiting
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Anastasia

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2008, 11:20 AM »
I HAVE to use lists or I would never get anything done. 

Exactly! And when the internet is down, notice how MUCH work you get done! (LOTS!)

:-) Anastasia

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Offline buglady5

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2008, 02:32 PM »
I've finished very little from September to December, too.  I haven't been making myself enough lists...  Alos, come to thing of it, that's when we switched to high-speed internet.  Anastasia, you have a good point!


buglady

Offline jojohn

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2008, 08:49 PM »
Z-Cat--be sure to cut yourself a little slack, too.  You have two big adjustments in moving and changing your job description.  I've done both twice in the past two years and it takes time to get in a new groove and to get established.  Everything in the normal life arena takes longer when you have to figure out where to go to do it, you don't have friends to watch the kids etc. etc.  Both moves have taken me about six months to "normalize". 

I also agree with the others who say treat your job at home and your writing job as a "real" job by using lists and schedules as much as the age of your kids allows.  I have to have routines or I fall apart--that's why moving is hard for me.  The other thing I use is a timer to keep me from spending too much time on time wasters--even fun ones like the internet.  I can use a timer also to motivate me to complete jobs I hate--I usually find I think they will take a lot longer than they actually do.  I "write" in my head a lot when I walk the dog, take care of the kids, cook dinner  . . . then when I have writing time, it is really for writing.  I hardly watch TV, too.  Hang in there.  Here's to a productive 2008 for us all.    :writing3

Offline Just Jodi

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 07:24 AM »
I'm a list person too.  Problem is, I will make out an extensive grocery list and then leave it on the kitchen counter...So what I do now is use a scheduling book (like a Day-Runner or "At A Glance"-type thing).  I write each day a list of things I must accomplish and then check them off as I do.  Admittedly, sometimes I do not complete everything and then must flip those over onto the next day (I try hard not to do this...or my lists don't hold much weight!), but this shows me when I have bit off more than I can chew.

This may sound like I have it all together.  I don't.  It just helps.  I enjoy reading everyone else's suggestions and am going to try to implement some into my schedule as well! :typing

Hugs, Jodi  :love
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john

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2008, 01:38 PM »
This is interesting stuff. I'm a list person as well, but I'm trying to become an electronic person. Does anyone out there who owns a Blackberry or equivalent know if making AND USING lists that way works? I'm sure you can probably do it, but I wonder if anyone actually uses it. I'm debating if I need to get something like that.

If you know, please share any useful info.

Cheers.
John

Offline Verla Kay

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2008, 01:46 PM »
I have a palm pilot type thing... and I use it a lot for writing notes to myself that I need to remember.  The problem?  I never look at it except when I'm jotting down something to remember.  Once in a great while I remember to look at it to see if something I needed to remember is there. But regular lists on it?  I haven't gotten that electronic yet.  Not at all.  This is a great idea though. I SHOULD be using it....
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Anastasia

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2008, 05:52 PM »
I used a Palm Pilot ages ago (it's in the closet in a box now!) and have to-do lists in email - but what works best is a small pad of paper! I write a flow of the day chart the night before and put it on  a small clipboard by my computer. It REALLY helps!

:-) Anastasia

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Offline ecm

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2008, 09:05 PM »
As a freelancer, nothing gets me going better than having hard deadlines (cushioned by soft deadlines placed at "strategic" intervals). I also found that the right tools make a difference. I switched from some well-known (and expensive) date book systems to something called the "Planner Pad" (reasonably priced) which combines a few very fresh concepts to help with balancing priorities and time management. All of its is rolled into a date book/calendar. It's manual and I love that about it because it's immediate--I get a quick glance at what I'm doing on a given week/month and I also have flexibility in drafting out pages containing timelines for different projects. Here's a link that explains how it works: https://plannerpads.com/concept.asp

For lists and reminders, I have started using this site: www.43things.com
It's a cool way to keep track of short and long term goals. Plus, reminders are automatically sent to you via email. You can list as little or as many goals you want to. Another good thing is the community aspect of it--people cheer each other on and you can find out about people who have accomplished the same things.

Hope some of these ideas help!  ;D
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Offline AnneWritesYA

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2008, 09:22 PM »
Z-cat, giving certain tasks an assigned day may help, too. For example, make Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Saturday laundry days. Instead of cleaning spot areas all through the week, designate one day for cleaning it all (or split it into two mornings). The main thing is treating writing like a must do item, whether it be a full day or two hours every day (I'm from the write every weekday camp). Make yourself accountable and treat writing like a job. Let your critique partners know your goals. Try starting out small, like 'this week I'll write chapter one' and build it up as your schedule and mind get used to a set writing schedule.

Lists help, too. I tend to run all the extra to-do's on one day (and organize my trips so it can all be done in a loop - saves gas and time).

Happy Writing!

Cheryl

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2008, 05:19 AM »
Lists, lists, lists. Without them I wonder around the house doing piddly stuff! Everyday I write a list, several really, in my writing book. It's taken me years to learn how to make my lists an encouragement tool. Too much on the list is too discouraging--I'm a major procrastinator and if the list is too long or daunting, I just ignore it! Now, I make reasonable lists with reasonable goals. Ha, sounds great in theory, doesn't it.  ;D

Offline Lindsey B

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2008, 02:19 PM »
Oh thank you guys!
It's great to see all the suggestions, and even better to see it from people who "get" it. I don't get a lot of sympathy from the friends and fam who think I have all day to do whatever I want. Or from myself when I "neglect" some of the other daily duties to "endulge" myself by painting or writing.
But, Hooray! I have all of next week planned out day by day, and I put together a solid storyboard of the current PB WIP.
Project #1, complete the dummy for this manuscript. No new projects until this is finnished.

Offline chasing my tail

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2008, 12:31 AM »
This is just the thread I needed to read today, too!   :thanks

Okay, now off to make some lists. . . 
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Offline olmue

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 12:46 AM »
Sometimes the lists aren't just for me, they're for other people.  ;) You know--the people who think I have unlimited hours during the day to do stuff for/with them. People needing real help, okay. But sometimes--they don't really. So it's nice to check my schedule and have to regretfully decline because "I'm working then."

I so need to get a spine!

Offline Verla Kay

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Re: The more time I get, the less time I have...
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2008, 07:32 AM »
A spine! That's exactly what I am missing!  YES!  But with me, it's my dear husband who gets in the way of my productivity over half the time.  Before I get up in the morning I think, "I'm going to get the ICL lessons off my desk today and into the mail and then I'm going to work on my China story."

The next thing I know, my hubby is saying, "I just bought X off the internet from Craig's List (a message board where you can find things for sale that are close enough to you locally so they don't have to be shipped -- you just go pick them up and pay for them in person) and we have to <drive into town (a good hour's drive each way)> or <drive over to Seattle area (six full hours each way)> and pick it up -- right now." 

SMASH!  There goes my day. :tornado
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