Saturday, January 26, 2008

Working Hours

I shifted my schedule enough last night that I went to bed at about 1 a.m. and got up at 10:30 a.m. (with allowances for a two-hour interruption between 3 and 5 a.m. where I woke up from the mattress being uncomfortable and remembered I'd promised to send an important email to a group I belong to. Time sensitive stuff, so I couldn't delay it or it would have messed up somebody's plans for the day. My schedule has never been stellar, and time management is my Achilles' heel. I'm always working hours when I should be sleeping, and sleeping hours when I should be working. Comes from having started my adult working life on a night shift, I guess, but even now, years later, it has still carried through and done me no favors. I beat the 20-somethings for crazy hours. Well, now I need to change it for good and work hours that are more...ah...normal.

Another obstacle for me is the homeschool. I need to work with my kids for a certain amount of time each day, and even when they're supposed to be working independently, they need more structure in their day. So I'm trying a new system--or maybe it's an old system. Anyway, it involves visual aids and, literally, working hours.

I have two hourglasses. Today, I put one in the kids' homeschool office and one in my office. I got the kids started working and turned their hourglass over, then went upstairs to my office and turned mine over. When my sand ran out, I went down to check on them and see how much progress they'd made. As this is a Saturday but we're playing the catch up game, if they make enough progress they get to go to a movie tonight. And the hourglass in their office lets them know exactly how much time they've got left until Mom appears to lower the boom. The hourglass in my office keeps them from cheating the time on their hourglass.

This means I have to write in one-hour increments, which is hard for me. At the end of an hour, I'm just getting warmed up. But I don't have a choice at this point. I'll just have to learn how to get into flow faster, and be grateful that I get any time at all to write during the day. After all, some writing is better than no writing. Problem is, none of this takes housework or errands into account...but no system is perfect, and this is just a starting point. We'll see where we can go from here. From what I see today, we've all made some progress.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

Sounds like you're making real progress tackling the practical side of the writing life. It's always a struggle.

After writing daily for a couple of months, I finally learned to make a mental "snapshot" of where things stood as I stopped writing. I found I could sit down the next day and just glance at the last half-page and remember the mental image of thoughts and get right back into the story just like I had never left it. I kept the story with me, and nothing happened in the interim that would completely distract me (no major crises). It does work.

I used to spend an hour or more rereading before I could finally get back into it. Now, I can keep the mindset and immediately open it up and dive in. It just comes with practice, and concentration, and focus. Sounds like you're naturally acquiring that skill and doing well with it!

Good luck!