New Schedule, New Routine

I’m a creature of habit. Over a period of weeks or months, I tend to fall into a certain, unvarying routine in all elements of my life. At home, I write during the same time of the day every day. Every week, certain days are given over to doing things with my wife, others, with friends. There’s no need for me to keep a calendar because any variation from this routine is so memorable that I can hardly forget it.

So there are advantages to this system. That’s good; it’s such a deep part of my psyche that I could scarcely change if I wanted to. On the other hand, sometimes I’m forced to mix things up, and that’s where the bad times start. This last month has been one of those times.

Several posts ago I mentioned that my work hours were being drastically reduced, and at the time I expressed hope that having more time would mean I could write more. And I was correct: I can write more. But the fact is, I do write less, and after some deliberation, I’ve found two main reasons why.

First, what I mentioned above. My routine got broken, and rather than adapting myself to it, all of my plans fell apart and I got really lazy. It’s like I degenerated into some sort of primitive being, caring only for the satiation of immediate pleasures and lacking any ability to plan for the future. Or something.

Second, I’m kind of lazy in general, and given even the slightest excuse I’ll put off doing just about anything. Naturally, the long something gets put off, the harder it gets to do–laziness possesses tremendous inertia. And when I finally start doing something, I tend to lack the focus to work on it consistently unless there’s some external deadline. I’m sure you all are quite familiar with that.

So here’s the plan, then. I work from 10:30-5 (more or less) every day now. So, I get up at 6:30, shower, dress, etc., and by 7:00 my butt’s in the chair. I think I’m going to mix things up a bit and try to ease myself into daily writing: do some free writing, some blog posting, some flash fiction, whatever, for twenty minutes or so. Then, by 7:30, I’ll write steadily in thirty minute intervals (precisely!) and break for twenty (precisely!). That means that I get something like ninety to a hundred and twenty minutes of writing in, depending on whether I have to go into the office or work from home. If I work steadily at that pace, then there’s pretty much no limit to what I can accomplish.

Once I settle into this new routine, I’ll start edging out the breaks and start increasing the writing intervals. Eventually, I want to get into the professional position of being able to work steadily for hours at a time. Is this likely? I’ve never managed it before. Would it be worthwhile, if I could manage it? Absolutely, and that makes it work trying for.

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2 responses to “New Schedule, New Routine

  1. I just read your post with great interest. Though my friends believe I am very productive and overly busy what they don’t understand is that this flurry of activity is some bizarre avoidance behavior. Need to start that rewrite? Well I would but first I need to mow the lawn, rotate the tires, walk the dogs, take a class, paint the fence. All this stuff makes me look good. After all, hubby wants his meals on time and his faucet handles gleaming, right?

    Wrong!

    Hubby would much rather I write. He can cook for himself, thank you I’m not an idiot, is one of his catch phrases. Also, he truly enjoys the snuggly softness of dust bunnies and…well you get it.

    So, using you as my role model I promise to tweak my own schedule. I will henceforth get up at 6 and workout (another broken promise). Then, when I get home I’ll write for at least an hour. Dinner with the fam at 8ish and then, unless I really have to watch a rerun of Chuck or whatever, try for another hour. Because the goal I’m now inspired to reach is to finish the rewrite of my fantasy novel so I can have it ready and on the table at Orycon33.

    So please keep up the blog/inspiration!

  2. Let me tell you, I get so much more done in the mornings than I did in the evenings. Having a distinctly segregated unit of time is much more effective than trying to carve one out in the evening, I think.

    Of course, I’m replying to your comment instead of writing, so take that how you will.

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