Tuesday, April 8, 2008

For Writers: Organizing Your Time

Or I could title this, "Figuring Out How to Get Other People to Do your Chores."

The older I get, the harder it is for me to take care of everything in my home like I used to do. I've been paying someone to do my housework for years. Back when I had kids at home, I paid them. Relatives, who need money, have been my later choices.

One thing I've learned, though it hasn't been easy, it isn't necessary to do my chores on a particular day of the week like my mother. Believe it or not, some things don't have to be done weekly. A lot depends upon your personal tolerance for messes. Dust waits for you.

I can't stand to have dirty dishes piled around, so besides using paper plates a lot, I've trained everyone who eats or drinks at my house to put dishes and glasses away in the dishwasher. I only run it when it's full. Then I hope that someone else will put the clean dishes away and often someone will.

My best time for writing is in the morning, so after I shower and dress (yes, I always do that first because I don't like to be caught later in the day in my p.j.'s - just doesn't seem fitting for a great-grandma), I plop myself down in front of the computer and get started. Usually I quit when I'm getting tired but still have more to write. That way it's easy to get right back to it the next day.

I'm interrupted plenty during my writing time - phone calls, hubby or other relatives who have something "urgent to tell me that just can't wait" and I do stop and listen. When the laundry piles up, I take time to do that while I'm writing. After all the washing machine and dryer work while I am. I fold and put away the laundry in the evening when I'm watching TV.

Yep, I watch TV. Love movies and I have my favorite shows. If I've written all day, I'm done by evening and need to give my brain a rest. Sometimes I do other paperwork in the evening - might even do some editing. I'm a champion at accomplishing odd jobs during commercials. (Helps keep me awake.)

Once a week, I take a break and for at least part of a day, do something totally unrelated to writing. Usually it involves a movie and eating out. Reading is also important to me. I read in bed and always take a book with me if I have an appointment somewhere and might have to wait.

For me, to keep my writing fresh, I have to know when it's time to stop and have some fun. Though I don't write out a schedule, I'm always sure to make that part of my daily schedule.

Having a calendar nearby that I make notes in also helps keep me on schedule for upcoming book promotions, blogs, the teaching I do, and the mundane stuff like doctor appointments. I also write myself lots of notes, especially when I'm in the middle of a book.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who loves to go to town so he's stuck with grocery shopping and running errands.

Now, it's time to get back to the book I'm working on.



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