Monday, July 8, 2013

Everything in its time...

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I've realized something about myself: if I don't have a lot of things to do, nothing gets done.

It's not that I like the drama of deadlines, or the pressure that comes from knowing I have a lot of tasks on my to-do list.  It's more the fact that I make it a point to organize my time when I am busy, and when I'm not, I don't.

It's so easy to push off doing something when my schedule is open.  "Oh, yeah.  I'll get to that later."  Except I don't, and I look back at the end of day with the sinking realization that I wasted time that could have been spent doing something productive.

Don't get me wrong--I know it's important to take breaks, and to spend a day or two relaxing and decompressing.  But do I really need to play Bejeweled all afternoon?  I think not.

My biggest fear is that I'll reach the end of my summer break with nothing to show for it, writing-wise.  That's why I'm making it a point to prioritize my writing every day, even it I only get a few sentences down.  I would dearly love to have a draft of book 3 complete by the time I go back to work, but I know it will only happen if I make it happen.  If that means tricking myself into being busy, so be it.

What about you?  Do you work better when you're already busy, or are you more disciplined than me? :-)

20 comments:

  1. I SO relate but honestly this is the first time anyone's so clearly labeled the pattern. On busy days when I have a very long to do list I often look back at the end of day thinking "How 'bout that? I got it all done!" whereas on days when I have a whole afternoon wide open I more often than not end up looking back and going "Man, I'm so lazy- I didn't get anything done!" And then of course the guilt and internal criticism starts up.
    It's like when I have the luxury of time, I’m more likely to let myself off the hook. "I can watch a little TV" I tell myself, or "I can play a quick game of plants vs. zombies". Then far more time than I expected later I’m scrambling to get at least one thing done before bedtime.
    I haven't figure out how to break that pattern with myself yet. When you figure it out, you be sure to let me know!

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    1. I'll do my best, Beverly. But you've really hit the nail on the head with the 'luxury of time' statement. It's so easy to take it for granted! :)

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  2. So, um, what's up with you reading my mind this morning?

    I have the exact problem. I have written VERY little this summer. I think it's because I know I have plenty of time and there is no urgency to it. There's got to be something wrong with that!

    I definitely work better when I'm completely swamped.

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    1. I guess you could start to work on multiple projects at the same time, which would, in theory, make you feel busy! :)

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  3. I never lack for things to be accomplished even before my stroke. My week tends to be planned out weekly and monthly...and sometimes six months in advance. I never put more than three Go-and-Do per day otherwise I'm worn out. Now in-house I rarely lack for things to do either.

    Writing on the other hand, in a nonactive job when I'm "resting." Right now, I'm doing very little writing but plan to before the summer is out. But then I don't have a "job" to hold me back from writing either. Ah, the joys of forced retirement.

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    1. I generally try to plan my days, but I only organize my time on a weekly or monthly basis when it's got something to do with the day job. I admire your organization! :)

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  4. I do tend to be more focused if I've got a lot going on. I know I don't have much time so I don't waste it.

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    1. Exactly! Harder to fritter away the day when you know you've got something else to do...

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  5. To-do lists are a good focus, but sometimes I get bogged down on them and don't see opportunities that couldn't have been foreseen. Each day I have to assess if a specific target is best or if I need to go with the flow. Makes this process a bit more difficult, doesn't it? ; )

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    1. It certainly can complicate things, but being open to new possibilities is also very important. :)

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  6. I am definitely NOT more disciplined than you. I find I work very much the same way.

    I wrote three whole sentences at work today. At least they were compound sentences.

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    1. Three sentences is better than no sentences! Keep going! :)

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  7. I perform well under pressure. If I am not under pressure, I am very good at goofing off. I look back at vacations and think, "good grief! All the things I COULD have done1"

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    1. Ah, the guilt of opportunity cost... :)

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  8. I'm like you. When I was working mostly full-time, I blitzed through all sorts of things, hosted family dinners and BBQs, even managed the kids sport's teams. Now I'm lucky if I shower and dress before noon. Mind you, I've been on the road quite a bit and suffering a low-back/leg problem, which slowed me down. A lot. Hoping to recover lost ground over the next few weeks before the next road trip. Good luck and good scheduling with your routine! :)

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    1. Sorry you've been having health issues--it's hard to do anything when you don't feel well. Hope you're doing better soon!

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  9. I'm exactly the same Lara. I prefer having more to do, because it makes you prioritise.
    I haven't done much of anything since my exam but, like you, I don't want to waste my summer. It's so easy to put off writing when someone invites you out somewhere, or wants to make plans with you. You just think 'ok, I can write the next day.' But then it never happens.
    I must learn to say no, and get back on the writing horse.

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  10. Let's just say I've been known to lay on my couch and watch 5 or 6 episodes of the most recent tv series I've decided to download when I have a major paper that I know is due in a few weeks. I wouldn't say that I work best under pressure, but I'm definitely a last-minute get-it-doner. Sigh!

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