Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time management revisited

Brenda posted earlier about the necessity of leaving time for leisure in your schedules. That can be tough, that's for sure. I work full-time, often more than 40 hours a week, but sometimes less. I'm online at work at least 50 hours, monitoring email and answering questions if needed, but I'm not chained to the desk.

When my parents were still alive, I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to help them. 250 miles one way. I got a lot of "writing" done because I dictated scenes while I drove. After they died, I really missed that chunk of time dedicated to driving and writing. Now I telecommute full-time, so I don't even have commuting time. I'm still working 40-50 hours a week, but now my commute is my work office to my home office, just a few steps. Not good for Thinking Time.

Luckily, it's Garden Season. I can go out, pull some weeds and think through plot points, etc. That helps a lot. And I've also taught myself to sit, close my eyes, and just focus on what I'm doing. Then I open my eyes and get writing.

My leisure time is in chunks now. I get up really early (insomnia can be our friend) and do a 45-minute run on the treadmill and stream a TV show as I do. I consider that a bit of leisure. Streaming old episodes of West Wing is a great way to wake up.

Then my next chunk is an hour or two a day when I switch from Paycheck Work to Fiction Writing, usually around 4 or 5pm. I take a break between the two parts of my day.

My other leisure time is when I knock off my writing at 8:30 or 9 at night. For the next hour, I listen to books on tape and do needlework, or watch a movie with the Spouse, or occasionally flick on the TV. I'm usually jotting ideas while I sew, but it's a time for me to relax at the end of the whole day.

Weekends are really variable: sometimes I just write all weekend, other times I'm doing family things or going to a play or whatever. I consider my "leisure" time to be that two hours a day, between jobs and before bedtime. That's sufficient for me.

My view may change when I retire and look back on this (how did I manage with only 2 or 3 "free" hours a day?) but for now, it's working. I enjoy my chunks of fun.

Speaking of fun, I have a book coming out soon -- in a few days, as a matter of fact. I'll talk all about it next time, but for a sneak peak at the cover, check my web site.

Until next time !



Leah St. James said...

Your schedule sounds similar to mine, JL -- except for the part where you actually spend time writing! (I wish I were joking.) By the time I get home from the "paycheck job," I'm too exhausted to even think and am usually asleep on the couch by 8:30. You must get very little sleep! Good luck on the new book. Looking forward to learning more about it!

Rolynn Anderson said...

JL, I can't wait for you to retire, because you'll find that writing and leisure time are a good mix. Wherever we travel...and you know we travel a lot, writing is always part of my day. My hub likes to sleep late; I'm up at 6:30. So even if we're traveling, I write in the morning. Settings we've visited now ground my novels...they are part of my some of our wandering has purpose-research! Being away from home eliminates a ton of home/garden chores along with social obligations, so I actually have more time to write and focus more during this 'leisure' time. Writing, like your knitting, travels well...lots to look forward to, JL!

Diane Burton said...

I admire your dedication to writing. Your article is a good reminder that we all need that down time. Vegging out or doing something different, like gardening or sewing, is essential to keeping things in perspective. Best wishes on your new release.

Jannine Gallant said...

That cover is awesome! As for your time management skills, you should give classes. You're a total pro!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I'm a late sleeper. If I had to get up early, I'd be too busy yawning and grumping the rest of the day to be productive. I took an early retirement when I married Calvin because he wanted my company during the day. I'm spoiled. I listen to your schedule and Leah's and shudder. I do it with admiration because it's something I couldn't do. I'm on a schedule, but it's a late day schedule since Calvin and I don't start to get ready for bed until one am.

Brenda Whiteside said...

JL retired is a scary notion for the writing world. Considering the number of books you publish now with your schedule, I can only imagine what you'll do when retired.

Margo Hoornstra said...

That is a beautiful cover. I'm with the others. Based on the amount of writing you do while working full time, your production when you retire will no doubt be phenomenal! I'm in awe of a morning run, before coffee too. Amazing!

Alicia Dean said... sound like you have about as much leisure time as I do!