Sunday, 17 June 2007

Time management

As a writer you need to have good time management. There are always so many things that need doing about the house, or people to see, or places to go. A year or two ago I started timetabling my weekends in an attempt to schedule writing in. Sometimes this works fabulously. Other times -- as seems to be the case this weekend -- there are simply too many things other than writing that need to get done.

OK, to be fair, I did allow myself a sleep-in this morning. Frankly, there's no point trying to write if I'm tired, so I may as well benefit from the fact I don't have to get up go to work. (And on some mornings bed is soooo comfortable and snuggly.)

Anyway, since finishing "breakfast" at about 11:15, I have been on the go, multitasking madly. Two loads of washing have been done and hung-out (including the labour-intensive grey water watering of my garden), my bed has been made up with clean linen, five new CDs have been ripped to wma, the front driveway has been swept of leaves and these used to mulch part of the back garden, software for my new mp3 player has been loaded to the computer . . . I think I've been rather efficient!

But now I find myself pondering the rest of the day and all the things I still need to do: wash a million pieces of new Tupperware so I can fit out my pantry, go for a walk to get some exercise, clean bathroom & toilet, sweep and vacuum the entire house, and, above all, WRITE!

See what I mean?

In many ways I am paying for the sheer indulgence of the con last weekend, when no household chores of any kind were done.

I should add that I had a very efficient day yesterday as well -- although again, no writing. But I was up at 8:15, at Chadstone shopping centre by 9:30, at my sister's for lunch 2 hours later and about $550 poorer, then spent the afternoon in the vicinity of JB Hi-Fi having a new car sound system fitted (to replace my unfixable CD stacker) and taking a tour of the local fitness centre (I might post about this separately later). The evening was spent with friends.

So how does one prioritise writing when faced with such a life? I confess I have no idea how mothers with dependent children do it. I really don't.

One of the challenges is utilising small amounts of time. I suppose that instead of writing this post, I could have slotted in some novel time. But I find it so hard to clear my mind of everything else that needs doing in order to focus on the novel. There's always something that niggles at the back of mind telling me that I have to stop soon to do . . . whatever. Unless I clear my schedule and accept that I am not going to achieve all the other things, I simply cannot concentrate.

So does this make it more about time management or mind management? Or maybe it's simply about priorities. Do I want a clean and orderly house, or 500 words on the novel? Do I focus on my health, or the novel? Kate Forsyth said last weekend that she sits down to write at the allocated time, irrespective of whether there are still crumbs on the kitchen table and dishes in the sink. I suppose, in the end, the stuff that must get done still gets done somehow. So on that score, I should just write and damn the consequences!


  1. I spend my life debating this very thing. Last year when I did my own NANOWRIMO I wrote almost an entire novel in a month. But my house was a pigsty and I have no idea what my children ate or how I managed to get them off to to school, pre-school etc. I do know the then 3 yr old watched a lot of tv (slap my wrist) and that I spent a lot of time looking like crap.

    It's hard to find time to write. I don't know what the answer is but I do know that it's much better for me to write everyday (even for 10 mins) than to not write at all. I often don't have big blocks of time to write in (who does??) but I know my writing suffers if I leave it for days. It takes me ages to get back into the swing of it. So for now I'm writing in snatches of time. I leave my document open all day and whenever I have a few minutes I go back to it.

    Hope you managed to get some writing done.

  2. So far, my "health" goals have won out and I went for a 60min walk IN THE RAIN!

    Your approach sounds great. Sometimes just the process of opening the document file makes a difference. I will go do that now!

  3. Good on you for walking! I have not done any walks over the weekend - I've been an absolute sloth. But I have written 750 words. So I guess that takes us back to the original problem...

    I guess you can't have everything!