Routine Blog 2: Testing Phase
I’ve spent the last couple weeks playing with my schedule to see what works and what doesn’t so I can establish what passes as a routine for me. If a nefarious individual or organization wanted to track my schedule in order to kidnap me or figure out a way to pass me a message clandestinely, they’d be disappointed. I’ll never keep a schedule. So I probably should say I’m trying to determine my way of work, the thing that I can maintain to keep my productivity high.
What isn’t working:
- Waking up without a plan in place.
- I have to decide the night before what tomorrow should look like. If I leave that for tomorrow Kelly, she’ll make no decisions and get nothing done.
- Multi-hour stretch of any one activity.
- I simply can’t concentrate that long on any one thing. I don’t care if I have a looming deadline or I’m really, really, really excited about the thing, I can’t maintain the panic or the enthusiasm for long stretches.
- Continually attempting to do a task when I can’t seem to focus on it at the moment.
- Lists are my friend, but if I’m staring at my screen or searching for videos or music to distract me so I can do the task or am so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, then I need to move on to the next thing. Whatever that item on the list is, it’s gonna have to wait. It’s not like it’s the last thing on the list; there’s always more. I need to pivot quicker so I don’t waste so much time trying to win against my stubborn brain.
What is working:
- Walking to Starbucks.
- I suck at walking because it’s good for me. I’m a destination walker, which isn’t usually feasible since I live in the suburbs. I do love to write at Starbucks though, which is 1.45 miles from my house. Weather permitting, I’ve been walking to Starbucks, writing and editing for a few hours, then walking home. I don’t know how long I can do this before it gets boring, but maybe I can find another place that I could walk to? For now it’s working and I need the exercise; so I’ve added it as a slot in the plan.
- Intertwining two tasks.
- Again, I live on lists. I found it quite useful to do one thing off of one list, say household chores for this week, then doing a task off another list, say back of house work for the publishing company. And back and forth until I’ve made pretty decent dents in both lists. The constant switch in gears every time I cross something off helps keep my brain entertained and maintains productivity.
- Time with friends and family.
- Sometimes I forget how important this is. I get so bogged down with all of the work responsibilities I need to fulfill, I can’t see taking time off to go out. Yet, I love to explore new things, cook for people, spend time outdoors, and volunteer. By making sure I’m spending time with friends and family, I get the recharge I need to keep my brain focused (as focused as it gets) during the work week. And being there for them helps me remember why I’m working so hard to begin with.
What’s the plan?
With these lessons in mind, the next few weeks will involve designing specific patterns to see what works best. I want to try specializing on something and using the intertwining deal to work my way straight down the highest priority project.
For instance, I need to finish the draft of The Twins so I can get it edited and out to my proofreader by the end of May. So I want to try a sprint (or killing a monster since I’m using 4thewords to draft) then something off of the household list, then another sprint, then editing for CDS, the another sprint, etc. until the day is done. One day the priority could be to finish a CDS edit, so I can edit 5 chapters (that’s the usual stretch for me in one sitting) then do a writing sprint, then another 5 chapters, then walk to Starbucks, then another 5, then etc. until I cannot see the screen anymore. This might very well be the best way to maximize my productivity.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!