Thursday, July 5, 2012
The Juggling Act
Can you juggle time?
Think about it...
We may think we do, but in reality, we juggle stuff. We balance, cram, and coerce tasks, from the necessary to the exciting, into our days. The goal is to keep tasks airborne, like a juggler, to create the illusion that we are getting it all done.
Are we? Getting it all done, that is?
I'm not, and have been rethinking my strategy. As a writer, my goal is to be productive. What helps me get there? Well, for starters, I can get more done if I:
1) Ignore the internet. It's like a magnet, isn't it? Trying to write an article with my email window open is a tangent waiting to happen. I get more done if I close the window or make a pact with myself to ignore the pull. This usually involves a bribe with chocolate.
2) Ignore the phone. Or at the very least, screen calls. That way, if Publisher's Clearing House calls to tell me that I won, I won't miss it. I also mentally set aside "working time" and don't answer the phone. These interruptions can hijack the day otherwise.
3) Ignore the chores. Don't tell everyone I said it was okay to ditch housework. I don't mean forever, just for stretches, even small ones, if it means getting that project or chapter done. I'd wager authors on the bestseller list might have a cobweb or two lurking about. Okay, or maybe they can afford to have someone clean, but you get the idea.
4) Ignore the must-do-now distractions. You know the ones, like the bookshelves that scream to be alphabetized, or the overflowing file cabinet that's mocking you from the corner of the room. Or the buzzer on the dryer signaling that the laundry is dry and needs to be folded, pronto.
These are pretty basic, I know, but they are factors that hinder my writing if I let them. With a good balance of flexibility, self discipline, and determination, though, they help keep my writing on track.
Does your life mimic a juggling act? How do you balance your writing time with other commitments? What tips and tricks help you stay focused and get things done?
Have a great weekend,
Image credit: Stock Exchange