Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

Quote of the Day:
Every human being has exactly the same amount of time, and yet consider the output of Robert Louis Stevenson, John Peabody Harrington, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Goldman, Neil Simon, Joyce Carol Oates, Agatha Christie, and John Gardner. How did they accomplish what they have? They weren't deflected from their priorities by activities of lesser importance. The work continues, even though everything else may have to give. They know that their greatest resource is themselves. Wasting time is wasting themselves. When people ask them, "Where do you find the time?" they wonder, "Where do you lose it?"
~ Kenneth Atchity

Time management is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I'm one of those people that has a hard time concentrating if the house is too messy or if there are too many things I know I need to be doing. So, I've set up a schedule for myself. We'll see how it goes. I tend to not stick to these things very long. But I have eternal hope :D

I am a stay-at-home mom. I know I have the hours in the day to do everything I want (most of the time). And two days a week, both of my children are in preschool for about 3 hours. So I should be accomplishing a lot, right? I mean, I should be churning out a new novel every other month and my house should always be spotless, shouldn't it?

So why is everything, including my novels, laying around half done? Honestly, I have no idea. I will admit, that despite my best intentions, I often find myself during those 3 child free hours twice a week, simply staring off into space, or cuddled up on the couch with some hot coco and one of the many shows I've recorded over the week but haven't gotten around to watching. Often, even writing just sounds like too much work and all I want to do is vegetate.

And I really need to stop beating myself up over that. Heck, everyone needs a break...especially stay at home moms :D But, I could be managing my time better. And since I have two projects that I really REALLY want to get done in the next month or so and be querying this summer, I have put myself on a schedule that should, if I follow it, allow me to accomplish what I want to in my personal endeavors, and still enable me to take care of my home and family in the way that I want.

I write best when I am alone and it is quiet...but I have also discovered that if I get all the house chores done first thing in the morning, my day goes much smoother...I seem to have more time to do everything else, and I am much less stressed going about the rest of my day. So I have decided to sacrifice a bit of my "me" time every morning to get the things done around the house that need doing. If I can stay on top of things, the chores should only take an hour or so a day...which leaves me two hours to write or watch tv or just stare off into space until my children come home on Mondays and Wednesdays.

And Tuesdays and Thursdays, my daughter is usually pretty good about playing quietly by herself, watching a princess movie, or reading alongside me. With my notebook writing process, I can write outside or on the couch while the kids play, so, if I get things done in the morning, I should, theoretically, have a nice chunk of time to doodle a few lines here or there. And I can work on my non fiction when everyone has gone to bed for the night.

So, that is my game plan :D I will manage my time wisely so that I can fit everything into my day that I need, and want, to do.

Ooo, I just remembered that this is the last week of preschool.

That's okay...this will still work...I'll just have to get up a bit earlier and go to bed a bit later if I want some alone time :D

Hey, don't laugh...It could work ;-)

Don't forget to head to the QueryTracker Blog today!! My game, Anagram Anarchy, begins this morning and I will be taking entries until Wednesday May 27th. Remember! Entering this game also enters you in the grand prize drawing for the FREE CUSTOM DESIGNED WEBSITE! (I just love putting that in caps) :D Click the Carnival Tent below to take you to the online entry form, or click HERE for details on the contest.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I think you are doing great!!! It's hard to fit everything in ALL the time, especially with preschool aged kiddos....

Good luck!

Robert Plank said...

Michelle, have you tried a countdown timer? I used to balance a day job and freelancing and just having an egg timer counting down the time left to finish that book chapter or article was a great motivator.

It didn't work at first, but if you set that timer to 5 or 10 minutes as soon as you sit down, and get up from the computer as soon as that timer goes off, your brain will eventually get trained to see your computer at a hot seat instead of a place to sit and waste time.

Anyway, I agree with Christine... don't be hard on yourself... no one's perfect.

Bethanne said...

I'm in your boat. Four kids and summer is here early. I need to get better about managing my time. That's the only way this is going to work. I sometimes get irritated with the kids, but I should be doing more while they're occupied rather than seeming to work whenever they are around. Ugh. LOL Great post.

Michelle McLean said...

thanks guys :) I'm not really as hard on myself as I probably seem ;-) I just have my moments :D Robert, the egg timer is a really good idea. A couple times a month some writer friends and I have a mini write-a-thon, where we will write for 15 minutes and chat for 10. And it really does get the creative juices flowing when you know you only have a certain amount of time to get those words out. I should start doing it when I'm writing by myself as well. Great idea, thanks!!

Michelle McLean said...

Bethanne - I do the same thing - when I find myself getting irritated the most is when I'm usually on the computer and they are bugging me. But as they won't be clammering for my attention for too much longer, I'm trying to do computer stuff when they aren't around.

Writing my book in my notebook instead of typing has helped a lot, because I can take it wherever (I suppose a laptop would work as well but somehow that still presents distractions) :D The notebook has nothing but blank pages to occupy my time and the kids don't seem to mind me scribbling away while they play nearly as much as me pounding the keyboard. It'll be handy now that summer is here and we'll be outside most of the time :)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Good luck with your new strategy. It's always tricky finding time to write. It's not like cleaning the bathroom, which has steps and can get done in pretty much the exact same amount of time every day. Sometimes progress comes in thirty minutes and sometimes it takes three hours. If you find what works for you, stick to it. And don't get down if you don't get your writing done for the day! Make sure you take time for yourself.