Writing Life: Working Out the Work Schedule

Like a lot of writers, I have a lot on my plate. This year, in addition to being the primary carer of a child, and the main housekeeper, I am trying to maintain my publishing schedule, fill out the last third of that schedule, finish my university degree, and decide if I’m going to take a year to write before going back to work, find a job, or write full time. Right now, I’m not sure which way I’ll jump, but that last option is looking better as the year progresses.

I’ve tried to work out a schedule that will let me do all this, and I started by breaking down what I wanted to do, and allotting it to part of a daily schedule. It’s taken me a week to see just how badly this will not work. It’s not because allotting things to each day is a bad thing; it’s because I just don’t work like that. I work best in a block.

And this makes it difficult for me to break away to do things that must be done daily. Things like exercise and language practice. Those can’t be done in a once-a-week block; they have to be done on a daily basis. The problem with trying to do everything like that, is it takes me time to adjust between tasks. If I’m writing, I lose the flow. And same if I am publishing—and that is where mistakes creep in.

While I can work on multiple projects at a time, I actually need to work on them in two to three hour blocks, or set aside a particular day of the week for them. Until the week just gone, I didn’t realise just how strongly I needed to work that way, or how my productivity would drop if I did not. This week, I’m going to test working in blocks with only the necessary tasks done daily.

Next week, I’m going to see how well it holds out against the resumption of classes.


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