Today’s post is part of Indie Life, a blog hop hosted by the Indelibles. Click here to see a list of participating blogs.
* * *
I recently took a leap of faith, dropping from full time to part time employment so that I could pursue my true calling as a writer. As exciting as that is, however, I’ve already encountered my first major obstacle: time management.
I assumed that with so much more time available for writing, surely I would write thousands upon thousands of words with no trouble. After all, I love to write! Well, it turns out that my job provided a little structure in my day. It gave me a deadline: the deadline of getting stuff done before I left for work. Without that deadline, I’m free to procrastinate well into the afternoon or early evening.
So I came up with the idea of writing a “class schedule,” allotting specific blocks of time each day for working on specific projects. It seemed like a good idea until I actually implemented it. You see, I have medical problems that don’t care what my schedule is. Writer’s block doesn’t care about my schedule either. Also, my three-year-old godson believes I went part time so I could spend more time playing with him; he’s not entirely wrong about that.
FDR once said, “Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.” So I gave up on class schedules. As much as I like the idea, it doesn’t work, at least not for me. I need structure in my day, but I also need flexibility for the sake of my health, my muse, and my godson. Fortunately, I have a new idea.
I’m going to credit this one to my friend and co-worker, Jen. She said that if writing is a job, than I need to clock in and out. My part time job requires me to work a total of 25 hours a week, so I am going to require myself to spend at least that much time each week writing. It doesn’t matter when I do those 25 hours, so long as I do them at some point. If I have to deal with anything medical, I can postpone my writing for a few hours while my medication kicks in. If my muse would rather write at 3:17 a.m. than promptly at Noon, we can do that. If my godson calls, I can make time for him too. The important thing is to stay focused when I’m “clocked in” and make sure I get all my hours done.
This “clocking in” idea is still experimental. In fact, Jen only suggested it to me yesterday. Like my class schedule, I may discover implementing a time clock system is easier said than done. If it doesn’t work, I’ll take FDR’s advise and try something else. I just have to keep trying new ideas until I find a system that works for me.
But I know I’m not the only indie writer who has this problem, so what do you do to better manage your time?