Thursday, September 4, 2008

Finding time for everything

I was joking with a writer friend that my work is doing well enough that it is starting to feel like a job.

When I worked full time in an office, it seemed like 95% of my day was dealing with busy work -- necessary busy work, of course. The busy work would take a few minutes to deal with, which on the surface seems like nothing, but those few minutes begin to add up: answering the phone, answering emails, putting out fires, running an errand down the hall, etc. By the time I wanted to settle into the larger tasks at hand, it would be 5 o'clock, and I'd either put them aside for the next day or bring them home to work on in the quiet time of the evening.

That's how my past few weeks have felt here, too. I'm not complaining, mind you. I love being busy and all the work challenges. But this week, my days have been spent loaded with interviews, answering phone calls about articles, sending and answering emails that needed to be addressed during work hours, and by the time I'm ready to sit down and write the article, it's 5:30 and my schedule needs to move on to other non-writing tasks on my calendar. Writing comes later at night, when the house is quiet again. I write best in the afternoon or the wee hours of the morning, which is a good thing because the wee hours of the morning seem to be the one time of day I'm not busy!

Today, however, I made my calendar totally empty in order to spend time with a family member who is visiting. He's running late, which is fine, because I'm able to get some other things done that have been pushed to the side of my desk. But I started thinking . . . it wasn't hard to clear off this afternoon. I simply said, "I am not available for interviews Thursday afternoon." And voila, my afternoon calendar has nary a mark on it.

So I started thinking. What's wrong with keeping one day a week empty of interviews so I can focus on other tasks, like spending a day solely on writing? Nothing. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to pick a day each week that will be my writing day.

What do you do to find balance for the busy work and the bigger tasks?

1 comment:

Julie Sturgeon said...

My trick is to refuse to work weekends. No sir, no way, no how. I don't consider those two days in the week when deciding if I can finish an assignment. I don't allow myself to open my files on those days (it would be cruel and unusual punishment, however, not to play on the Internet. I write lots of emails to friends then.)