Friday, June 11, 2010

Stealing time

How can we fit everything we want and need to do into a day? This is something I've been struggling with for many years. And I still have no real answers. The housework can only be ignored for so long!

I am guilty of stealing time to do the things I want to do. Ten minutes stolen out of my work day to write, five minutes stolen while cooking dinner to reply to those last minute work emails, half an hour stolen from the time I should have been playing with the kids to polish and submit that short story.

Stealing time creates guilt and I don't believe you should feel guilty about doing the things you love, the things you need to do. And writing is the thing I need to do.

Earlier this year I took on the challenge of writing an entire novel in a month. When I started, I had no idea how I was going to find the time to write the requisite 2000 words a day. In the end, I decided to get up earlier, spend the hour before the kids got up writing. This hour at 5.30am has become my most productive hour of the day, and is something I don't think I will give up. I think having a goal in mind helps too. I try at the beginning of each week to plan what I will work on, so I don't get distracted. Last week I went over the entire manuscript of Assignment 9 again, polishing sentences and phrases and just making sure it is as good as I can possibly make it. This coming week, I plan to finish a short story I started and do some editorial work on Prayer and Prey, the novel I wrote in that month.

The same goes for my work time. I like to spend ten minutes at the beginning of each day planning what I will do. Most of the time that list does not get completed - people call me, come and visit, staff are sick and can't do their shift, equipment breaks down - but at least I begin my day with a plan.

There are all kinds of pockets of time you can borrow from too. Multi-tasking is not only possible, but invaluable. Read while you eat, while you ride the bus, in the bath. While the water boils for that cup of tea, research venues for that short story. It's amazing how much time you discover you actually have when you try to wring every possible moment of its full potential.

No comments:

Post a Comment