Tag Archives: schedule

Productivity Experiment Week 2 Baseline Results

Yeeeeeah.

Welp.

It was a week. That is a thing I can say about it.

I mean, it wasn’t all a bad week. It was a pretty reasonable baseline measurement week, actually. Between Monday and Friday I only managed to work 12 hours (mostly writing hours), but I added 12,829 words to my manuscript.

Not as many as I want to be adding per week. Not as many as some people add per day. But that’s not the point. Progress is progress, and I did my best every day.

I averaged about 3 hours’ work on days I was working… which did not include Thursday. Thursday was one of those days I mentioned needing to be prepared for. A migraine and back pain teamed up to leave me in a painkiller-and-brain-fog stupor, which in turn left me lying on the couch watching Roseanne all day.

I got the box set for Christmas. It is most excellent.

I watched more TV on that one day than I usually do in a week. I don’t feel bad about that. It’s not like I could work. So Thursday was a write-off.

And that’s kind of how things go. Sometimes my best is the 4780 words I wrote on Tuesday. Sometimes it’s trying not to feel guilty about taking a sick day.

So between that and my struggles with trying to get started on work in the morning (or like… any time), trying to fit yoga with my husband into our schedule, and having a regular school week to deal with, things were pretty normal around here. Score one for the baseline measurement!

And I got other stuff done. People got fed. No one was crushed under a pile of clutter or choked to death on litter box fumes. A kid had a friend over. I worked on a sample edit with a potential new editor and made last-minute plans to do a panel at Atlanti-Con. I helped with homework. I watched a movie. I waked my dog, and I found time to read. Stuff. Lots of stuff.

Judging by my notes from the past two weeks and my memory of how things worked last year, I’m calling this the baseline against which I’ll be measuring future results:

  • Work hours: 15
  • Words per writing hour average: 1200
  • Sleep: 8-8.5 hours per night
  • Energy: generally low, crash by 6:00 on weeknights

So what does wrapping the baseline weeks up mean?

It means that this week, I start the Godawful Early Schedule.

I’m more excited about it than that name implies. Yes, it’s going to be crazy hard to get up an hour earlier than I do now to fit in 90 minutes of work before I wake the kids up. I’m used to getting up early-ish, but I’m not exactly energetic or what you’d call mentally present in the morning. I may cry. I might not word good.

But if I can make it work?

If I can make it work, I could get a good chunk of my work for the day done before anyone has any reason to interrupt me. I could be alone with my work when I’ve just rolled out of dreams, before distractions have a chance to get to me. I could let ideas filter in the back of my mind while I get the kids up and out, and maybe have new ideas when I get back to writing. Or I could continue drafting in the morning and do edits later, using that natural schedule break to split my day and still finishing my work day by 12:30.

I could have afternoons free for napping so I won’t crash so hard at supper time, or to get a walk in to help me shift gears before home and family time. Maybe I’ll be able to enjoy my evenings instead of watching the clock to see if it’s bedtime yet.

That’d be cool.

We’ll see how it goes. My big plans might not pan out, but there’s always a chance.

(This Thursday’s post is going to take a look at the productivity tips and tricks that are already working for me, which will conclude this series of experiment intro posts. After that, I’ll post reviews of some productivity books, talk a bit about writing/being my own boss and productivity, and of course posting updates on the experiment. Let me know if you have questions/topics you’d like to see covered!

…Assuming I don’t fall down the stairs in a sleep-deprived stupor some early morning and find myself unable to post. It’s not unpossible.*)


 

*Unpossible is a perfectly cromulent word.

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Fun with Skedjools

Or shed-yools, if you’re feeling fancy. I’m not, particularly.

The kids are out of school for the summer! Hooray! I’m not going to get anything done! Hoor– wait a minute. Ack.

New challenge, then. I have a book to revise this summer. I’d like to have it out to beta readers by the beginning of September, which means I have a LOT of work to do in terms of re-writes and self-editing. I’m looking forward to the work. This story is rather exciting, and I hope that will help me focus.

But that’s hard with “Mom? Mom? Hey, Mom? Look at this! Mom? No, look again. MAAAAAA!!!” happening all day long. I need a plan. I need…

A SCHEDULE!

*groans*

I don’t do well with schedules. I’m easily distracted, and I procrastinate. Following a schedule feels like some kind of temporal/experiential oppression, and generally, I won’t stand for it. But if I want to have this thing out on time, I might need to make that sacrifice.

Hey. I got Bound out in spite of a flooded basement, an evacuation, and the destruction of my office. I can deal with a few kids for this one.

So why am I talking about it here? Because I need to be accountable to someone. Specifically, to you. I’m going to report back on this once a week or so. This could be inspiring, or just really entertaining for everyone but me.

Here’s a look at the schedule as I doodled it up a few nights ago:

20140628-194505.jpg

I can’t resist the siren call of glitter crayons. :/

Yep, that involves getting up early and working. I have no idea how this will work out. My brain already wakes me up between 6 and 6:30, but I usually doze a bit, day dream, plot noodle, and generally laze about until I have to get up. This plan involves, like… getting out of bed. And using my brain before 7:00.

Ick.

But my body clock also makes me crash by 10:30 most nights, anyway, so staying up late isn’t really a better option. Besides that, I have my biggest kid husband around a lot of nights, and I like to hang out with him when I can. He’s pretty cool. So this is what we’ve got.

In theory, this gives me 2-4 hours of working time a day (writing and social media), while still giving me time with the kids and time for housework and like… food and stuff. And adventures in the real world. That’s important.

—–

Schedule:

6:00 – wake up. Caffeinate.

6:20 – *write*

8:30 (approx) – kids up. Breakfast. Housework. Family stuff. Errands.

12:00 – lunch

1:00 – write (or social media promo stuff if the kids are around and not easily distracted)

3:00 – do stuff with kids

5:00 – supper prep, supper

7:00 – clean up kitchen, tidy, read with boys or on own

9:00 – kids to bed. Hang out with AJ or work if he’s not home

9:45 – prep notes for next morning’s writing

10:00 – bed

——

I’m hoping that few minutes of pre-bed prep will help me focus in the morning. Normally I have to spend an hour a few minutes finding my focus. I’ll let you know if this helps.

Added rules:

  • no e-mail before noon (so if you don’t hear from me, I’m not ignoring you!)
  • no facebook/twitter during work time (except for word sprints)
  • read at least 30 minutes per day

Obviously this is all subject to change. It is summer, which calls for spontaneous trips to the beach and the walking trail, overnight visits to the in-laws’, a wee vacation trip, and various other upsetters-of-schedules.

But I’m going to try.

Wish me luck.

Have any tips or tricks to share that help you get work done in the midst of distractions? How do you stick to a schedule without going insane? Please share!


Updates and Various Administrivia (and ROW80)

I had a teacher in high school who used the word “administrivia” all the time. Makes me smile.

Anyway, a few non-WIPpet items for this Wednesday afternoon:

  • Update on the schedule thing: I forgot about mornings when I wake up feeling like a troll just caved in my skull with a mallet and my back is so stiff I can’t move. Oops. Well, I’m fine now and AJ’s working tonight, so today’s not a total loss. All it took was lying on my back, legs up like a dead bug (there’s a mental image for you) for a while to get my back moving and some Advil and caffeine for the head, and I’m good to go. *cue inspirational music*
  • Those plants I mentioned the other day are now outside in the garden. No hidden message about writing here, I just want you all to cross your fingers, toes, lungs, whatever that at least some of them survive. 🙂

One more thing: I think I’m going to join ROW80. Because, y’know, I had Camp NaNoWriMo last month, I have JuNoWriMo next month and then Camp in July and NaNo proper in November, but I need something to fill the gaps. *cough* I will always be a NaNo gal first and foremost, but I see no reason I can’t do both. It’s all about goals and accountability, right?

So I guess I needs to set me some goals to get through until June 20, hmm? Let’s see…

I don’t know when I’ll get back to editing Bound, so those goals will have to wait. As far as writing, I’m going to say 1,000 words a day on the vampire thing I posted from earlier today. I don’t expect it’ll be novel-length, so I could be done before the end of this round. We’ll see how she goes. Also, 3+ blog posts a week (not a problem so far)

Did I do that right?

If you think you might want to join in (set your own goals, report back on Wednesdays and Sundays), check it out here and sign up here.


Schedules and Goals

In support of Briana at “When I Became an Author” (and because I should probably be accountable to someone for this stuff), I thought I’d try to set up a little schedule for myself, see if I can’t become just a little more efficient in my time management (she said as she downloaded a Time Management game to waste time on).

Let’s see…

SCHEDULE

6:00 am- wake up. OK, this sounds gross, but for some reason my body clock is getting me up this early, anyway. Might as well make use of it, right?

6:15- WRITE. Easier said than done when I have blogs, facebook, twitter and e-mail begging for attention, but I can do this. I think. Dang it, I wish I had willpower!

7:15- Get kids up, actually start day.

…and that’s all I can really schedule. My husband is a police officer, he works shifts, everything else has to kind of work around him. Not that I mind; I love having time with him. But it does mean that when he works during the day, that hour up there is all the straight writing time I’m probably going to have, at least until September when my buddy Captain America starts kindergarten half-days. I’ve promised myself more writing time then, but we’ll see how that works out.

But there is one more thing:

10 minutes before bed- Figure out exactly what’s going to get written in the morning. Make notes to read over so I can jump right into it.

Well, it’s a theory, right? It might save time in the morning.

GOAL: 1000 words a day on new story, or editing as needed on Bound when I get back to it (which had better be soon. Holy crap I miss my characters and their story!). Plus more, if I have evening time available.

And what of blogging? That, I can do in little bits during the day. Don’t take this personally, but writing for you guys doesn’t require the level of concentration that writing coherent and interesting fiction does.

Anybody else have a schedule or tips to share? Something that’s working for you? Goals for the week or month?


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