Monday, July 10, 2017

The Value of "Pockets" of Time

While brainstorming about how to use my time more efficiently, I was reminded of a tip I gave my three kids back in our homeschooling days. I'd tell them to look for bits of spare time, or "pockets of time", and to use them to their benefit. You see, on occasion, there were bouts of lollygagging and numerous wasted minutes. Imagine that!

(If you aren't familiar, lollygagging, a term my parents used when I was young, means wasting time, procrastinating, sometimes at its most extreme level.)

I'd encourage my gang to use those pockets of time during the day, for example, to read, review spelling words, study for a test, or work on projects. It wasn't all about being a hard taskmaster, I simply wanted to raise their awareness of how they spent their time, and of course, to encourage its wise use, building good habits that would last a lifetime.

Like the kids then, I have plenty of unused pockets of time now, (on hold for a call, waiting for a haircut or dentist appointment, or just hanging out at home, to name a few). And although I like to think I use time efficiently, I still often waste much of it - getting sucked in to social media, etc. So I'm talking to myself here too, just so you know. :)

What items can be accomplished in these moments?

General tasks might include:

  • Sort mail.
  • Plan a menu. 
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Delete unwanted emails.
  • Make a grocery or to-do list.
  • Clean out a junk drawer. (Skip this if going to the salon/dentist or similar. Hauling the drawer along is usually frowned upon,)

Or how about these writing related tasks:

  • Write a book review. 
  • Draft a blog post calendar.
  • List character traits/a sketch.
  • Brainstorm about...anything! 
  • Pen an outline for your next article.
  • Research potential writing markets.
  • Create questions for an author interview. 
  • Conduct research for an upcoming project.
  • Make a list of interesting or unusual words.
  • Review a chapter/article/blog post rough draft.
  • Read bookmarked articles or an online writing newsletter.
  • If out, observe and note the surroundings/people/activities. 

While tasks might not get finished in that particular span, it can lay the groundwork and offer a great head start to new and ongoing projects. I've found this to be an extremely helpful habit, often fitting writing in on the busiest of weeks.

Bottom line - it's about an awareness of how we spend time. It's about balance, too. No need to go overboard, filling every spare minute. We need time to devote to family, friends, and commitments, to think, decompress, daydream, and rest too. These daily segments merely provide opportunities for heightened general productivity.

Have you ever spent time lollygagging around? How do you use your pockets of time? Have any exciting plans for the rest of the summer?

I'm taking a break to work on projects and regroup. Will return on September 18. Have a great summer! :)

Happy writing,

Monday, July 3, 2017

Sparkling and Celebrating

The plan was to share a sparkling and thought provoking post this week. (Humor me - it would have sparkled in my head, at least for a moment, anyway!) However, I got swept up in the busy tide of activity recently, helping someone move, among other things. I realized late Saturday night that I still needed to do Monday's post. Oops.

Hoping to rest a bit on Sunday, I needed an alternative plan. Since we celebrate the 4th of July, aka Independence Day, this week in the United States, I thought a "Sparkling and Celebrating" theme would make a good substitute.

As for the Sparkling part - our writing can shine upon learning the craft and polishing skills. Do you agree? I enjoy observing, stretching, and implementing techniques during the process.

And as for Celebrating - we have abundant blessings, don't we? There's always something for which to be thankful, and to celebrate. I'm grateful for the saving grace of Jesus, my family, and in particular my husband, whose birthday falls midweek.

Now it's your turn to jump into this theme. :) What makes your writing sparkle? What are you celebrating and thankful for this week?

Happy writing,