Part of being at home means that I’m available to my family. Whether that’s for sudden household chores or help with groceries, I’m expected to pitch in with my time. It’s not unreasonable and I don’t complain about it because as a member of the house I need to contribute. It just makes scheduling my time difficult because I can never assume I’ll have a large block of time without interruptions.
To combat this I’ve come up with a new method for getting things done and it’s working very well for me. Instead of thinking, “I’ll write for an hour!” And be interrupted halfway through; even if I only leave for a few minutes, it messes up my entire flow. I’ve discovered that I’m working better setting smaller goals that have more variety. Instead of hours I count in chunks of 15 to 20 minutes. With those times, even if someone catches me off guard, I can say, “Give me ten minutes then I can help.” It’s never an unreasonable wait for the other person and it lets me finish my thought.
I can also set a timer, which I find really useful because it keeps me from getting distracted. I know I need to be writing or reading or whatever I’ve allotted my time to do. It’s really good for those times I don’t have my creativity flowing. Really helps me jumpstart into the right mood to be productive.
Which brings me to another reason I’m liking this type of “scheduling” (what a nice transition I wrote there. You should definitely compliment me on that). It forces me to put words on the screen. I have to put something down in that time, no excuses. Already a couple days I’ve gotten into a groove and been able to write beyond my time-frame. With the short limit I know I have to get something down and often once I start I can do a lot. It doesn’t happen every time but it’s awesome when it does. Sometimes I can’t continue it past the time I gave myself but I can be content in knowing that I’ll be able to get to it soon because of how I decided to split up my time chunks.
I have a chunk for editing my ebook, a chunk for writing something new, a chunk for writing something old, and a chunk for reading a novel. Some of these chunks are larger than the others so they end up being split up a little more but some are just a single time a day. My ebook, obviously, because I want to get it done and republished so I can try to make money on it. Writing something new to keep my brain moving forward and maintaining my skills. Writing something old to make sure I don’t forget about my past work and continue to make it better over time (or complete it even if I don’t plan on publishing it). And finally, reading a novel to keep my brain fresh and working. I wasn’t able to read a lot for fun the last couple years in school and I think it was detrimental to my writing. Making sure I spend time reading every day keeps my imagination working and gives me new ideas to work with. Indispensable for a writer.
This method won’t work for everyone. I actually know someone off the top of my head who does a lot of her work in very large chunks of time (like she’ll write or do intense research for 5 hours straight). That works for some, small chunks work for others. I will say that if you’re having a hard time getting into your writing then small time chunks are what I would recommend. It gets you moving and it doesn’t require an insane commitment from your busy day.