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


  1. You're so practical Karen, I like that. I juggle all the time :), although sometimes I just unplug everything, so it's just my laptop and me... and force myself to write.

    Yes, basic tips, but very helpful. Thank you.

  2. I excel at ignoring chores! Otherwise, yes, I have to ignore the Internet when I write as well.

  3. Super practical, tips. Thanks, Karen.

  4. Wow, I really needed to read this today! I have been juggling (struggling) too. I was thinking this morning about my schedule today.Trying to put things in perspective.....had it figured out. THEN my hubby woke up....has a fever, chills, aching all over.
    Oh, gotta go, I think he just rang his little "call the wife" bell.

  5. Yes it's a juggling act. I have a list by my computer and my goal is to cross off everything by the time I go to bed.

  6. Marja,
    Thank you. :) I know this is obvious, but I need to remind myself all the time!

    I do too sometimes! Procrastination follows me around sometimes. :)

    You are welcome! :)

    Hope your hubby feels better soon! Will pray you get your head together. We'll do it together! :)

    Sounds like a good plan! I need to get back in that mode. :)

    Blessings all,

  7. Hi Karen...

    I think most people juggle. I juggle big time (jiggle, too. ha ha)

    The internet is a HUGE magnet. It has to be OFF if I'm writing something other than my blog, e-mails, Facebook, and eBay. ha ha ha
    And that's not easy to go CLICK. You're off.

    I love to write longhand, with my favorite thin-tipped felt marker and long legal pad. I can even do it on a lounger in the backyard.

    Thanks for your post and have a super good day! Susan

  8. Karen I keep trying to Ignore the internet, but If I did my comments wouldn't be posted on here or anywhere,lol. But I am making an effort to spend a little less time on line overall. I'm not a phone kind of person anyway so that one is pretty easy, I just keep my cell phone handy for emergences and Its an old school phone with no Internet. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon,pa

  9. I can ignore the chores easy enough! I must be on my way.

  10. Oh, great tips! I don't do any internet stuff until I reach my writing target for the day. It's the only way that works for me.

  11. Hi, Karen. I reward myself with Internet breaks - unless I'm using it for research. Words with Friends is like a coffee break. Chores, now what are they??? Great post! Susan S.

  12. Richard,
    This is true! lol Well, no matter what we do there can be distractions, right?

    I think you probably are! We should start a club. :)

    That's a good way to do it. I may adopt that policy. :)

    Thanks for coming by and commenting. It's nice to meet you. :) I appreciate your input!

    Happy weekend,

  13. The internet one is huge for me. That's the main reason I've cut back on blogging. It's amazing how much writing I've gotten done since I was more intentional to limit my time online. :)

    Have a great weekend, Karen!

  14. From the past two days I am ignoring my writing, Karen. I need to refocus.

  15. Super tips, Karen! This is why I keep coming back to your wonderful, I guess we should write?

    Bless you!! ;)

  16. I grapple with this all the time. Thank you for this needed reminder. I mean it. Have been thinking about dialing you up again and picking your brain on related issues (again). You must've read my mind.

    Thank you, my friend.

  17. Sarah,
    I know, me too. You can get lost for hours online, can't you? Glad you are writing more! :)

    Cheering you on! I am sure you will be able to refocus soon. :)

    LOL! Yes, time to get back to writing! Here I go...:)

    Yes, it's a wrestling match for me too. Lots of things pop up, plus other responsibilities too. Keeping lots of plates spinning here too. :) Call me anytime.


  18. No, I'm not that coordinated.I have to do one thing at a time. Right now, supper is calling me. See you later.

  19. I'm juggling so many things that I'm late reading your blog. Sometimes that just happens, things need to be done for others, myself, my sanity. I used to fret some, but not anymore. Stuff will get done when it gets done. Time to smell the roses. I spent more time on our front deck today than I have all year. It was heavenly. I saw 6 eagles fishing, a lone loon, and my son out boating. I feel marvel.

    But it's back to juggling tomorrow for sure. Haha.

    Great post, Karen. So helpful.

  20. Oh Karen, you're speaking my language, too :-) I've tried all of your tips and still find myself juggling. And what about the retired husband? Is there a way to balance the coffee times and lunch breaks with him as well? Ha!

  21. Cecelia,
    You know, in many instances I think that multi-tasking is just no good. I think we cease to do any one thing well, you know? Hope dinner was good! :)

    There's never a "late" here. I prefer to think of it as "come if and when you can"! I can totally relate to busy and juggling. So glad you spent a leisurely day on the deck. Aiming for more of those myself. Thanks a bunch for your unfailing support. It means a lot.

    I am glad you can relate, not that I wish you hardship of course! Yes, the retired husband, I can see where that would be something to enjoy, but also be creative in working around. My hubby is not retired, but on days when he is home, it can be some creative juggling. :)

    Blessings all,

  22. Great tips, Karen. I get distracted by emails that arrive while I'm working, oh, and the Internet, too, and chores around the house, and . . . :-) I find it helpful to go someplace quiet, away from home, and just write.

    Thanks for another though=provoking post.


  23. Karen, you are a wise woman. Thanks for the inpsirational tips.

  24. Jean,
    You know, I always mean to do that - get away and write, and I just forget. You've shared on your blog how you do that and I think it's such a great idea. I need to get going and actually do it! Thanks for the encouragement. :)

    Thank you. :) I'd be wiser still if I took my own advice. Planning on doing it this week. Have a good one!


  25. Hi Karen,

    I like your suggestions, especially #3!

    One thing I do is use snippets of time. I turn my computer on, then dash into the kitchen to start breakfast. I also set my clothes out the night before, as well as cereal bowls and utensils.

    Susan :)

  26. It seems lately.... no, no, no, no and no!!! I have not been able to ignore much in order to get to my writing.

    Hugs and have a great week!!! :O)

  27. Great tips, especially turning off the internet. That's my BIGGEST distraction and time eater.

  28. Susan,
    Ah, i thought maybe you would! lol I am good at multi tasking too sometimes. It just depends what I must do. :)

    I know, me too. Must be something in the air. Glad the temps are to be cooler this week!

    Oh I know it, the internet should be banned from my day when I really need to buckle down.



Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!