I tend to be a little scatter brained. I’d like to blame it on my children, or my schedule, or pre-pre-menopausal hormone fluctuations. But in reality, it’s just how I am. I’ve learned to compensate for this aspect of my personality by making copious lists. As if in retaliation for my inability to remember anything, I try to be uber-organized. I have labels on my refrigerator shelves. I store bed sheets inside the matching pillowcase so they can always be found together. The clothes in my closet are arranged in order of color, then sleeve length. And yet, even with all this, I never seem to have the right ingredients to fix a meal, the linen closet is a disaster, and my closet looks like a crime scene at T.J. Maxx. It’s not pretty.
Still, I cling to my lists and shudder to imagine what apocalyptic nightmare would occur if I didn’t at least TRY to keep track of things. And every day I ask myself why can’t I get MORE accomplished?
I have the dubious honor of having three wonderfully prolific, dedicated critique partners. I would be in the fetal position beneath my desk without them. They are always encouraging. But they are so damned productive that it makes me jealous. And it makes me feel inadequate.
They all have young children, and two of them have jobs outside the home. They all exercise, read, and cook real food. And still they crush me with their daily word counts. If I didn’t love them so much, I would be inclined to despise them. Because other than the kid thing, I’m at home with time to “spare.” I have a housekeeper. I exercise during every other solar eclipse. And meals around here usually come in a package with the word “microwaveable” on it. But it takes me twice as long to draft a manuscript as it takes any of them. I hate always being the slow one in the group. It’s gym class all over again!
So I’m trying something new. Before I can figure out how to get more done, I need to figure out where my time is going. Because it’s slipping away somehow while I’m not paying attention, and I want to learn to be more productive ASAP! For the next week, I’m going to write down what I’m doing and how long it took. Just like keeping a food journal makes me accountable for what I’m eating (and what a shock that is!) a time journal may just show me how it gets to be midnight before I’ve gotten my laundry folded. (I’m thinking Facebook plays a role here!) I’m also going to try a “block schedule,” which I used back in my “office” days. I’d block time for different aspects of my job, and during those periods, I pushed away thoughts and tasks that didn’t relate. It kept me focused and just might work for me again.
I’ll have a block for things like blogging, for editing, for housework (because even with a housekeeper, it’s still a daily task around here!) I’ll block time for family, too, so I’m not shooing my kids away but rather spending focused time on them. Maybe I’ll even put my iphone away. *gasp*
I hope to find pockets of time that I am truly wasting and use those moments to get more writing done! Wish me luck. And if you want to see my progress, maybe I’ll post it on my own website. If a get around to it.
Tracy is currently touring with her book, Highland Surrender. A review is posted below, along with an excerpt and the links to buy it, which I highly recommend doing!
Do you struggle managing your time? I know I do! Share your thoughts with us...