Why yes, I did have a busy week (#SFWApro)

And when I finished up Friday, decided to postpone posting. Besides, I was going out with a couple of my writer friends last night (pizza. Very good pizza) and that cut into my time.
Very little fiction accomplished this week, just three hours. My time was locked up with finishing my Demand article quota, submitting another And column (not out yet), and working on that story for Raleigh Public Record. I actually made very good use of my time for such a disorganized week (any week that involves lots of phone calls and waiting on people to return them is disorganized by definition), but still, not much left for Southern Discomfort.
However, the story finally came together—I have the information and interviews I need, now I just have to put it together. Which will take work because it’s a fairly complex, sprawling subject, but at least it’s all under my control.
So that said, let’s talk about dreams.
Not in the way of “I dream of being a best-seller” but actual dreams. I’ve had a couple later both of which emphasize the importance of being more flexible in managing my time: things are going to be chaotic, so I need to roll with them. In case you’re wondering, any time I wake up, think about a dream and feel it has a meaning, I usually accept that my subconscious is trying to tell me something (and I’m usually right).
Of course the trouble with flexibility, as I’ve mentioned before, is that my fiction gets kicked to the curb as it doesn’t pay the bills. And I don’t want that. And I also don’t want to have any form of flexibility that involves working late in the evening, because experience has taught me that usually falls through.
Reflecting on this, I realized that to keep flexibility within my current time-frame (workday 6:30 to 5 p.m., with time off for lunch), I need to do three things:
•Keep moving. I have a bad habit of slacking off or frittering time away when I’m working on things like this newspaper story. Make the calls, then decide not to start anything in case I’m called back, or get distracted easily. Or decide I’ve finished up task X early, so no need to start task Y.
Instead, the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to do task Y or task Z whenever I finish or get a break in task X. As long as I’m using my time to do something and stay productive, I won’t waste time (okay, I’ll waste some, I’m human, but you know what I mean). I couldn’t really focus on Southern Discomfort between calls, so I did lots of short Demand articles instead. With the extra articles done, that leaves me free to devote next week (until the holiday) to fiction and the big article.
•Keep track of time. I’m not good about using the various widgets and apps that monitor my time, because usually I just work within my iCalendar’s schedule. But to be flexible, I need to track my time—fiction particularly—so I can see I’m getting it done and course-correct. It didn’t help much this week (there simply was no time to make up) but if I’m diligent in using it, it should pay off.
•My schedule gives me 45 hours a week. I’m going to cut that to 42 with the remaining three optional. Hopefully I can use the three to deal with the thousand natural shocks that schedules are heir too: contractors, helping out Mum, running errands and so on. If I don’t need three hours, well I can put them to use.
I think this will improve things. We will see.

4 Comments

Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

4 responses to “Why yes, I did have a busy week (#SFWApro)

  1. Pingback: On the edge of glory, but not quite (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Sometimes frittering is good | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Good week and good news (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  4. Pingback: Learning Curves (#SFWApro) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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