The Search for Structure

Sometimes, this weird schedule I now have since striking out on my own makes things tough.

Case and point: yesterday, I was working on a surprise project with a tight deadline, and had to reschedule a phone interview for an article. No biggie, but the PR contact seemed a bit put-out. In retrospect, now I understand that because she had no idea I was working as a subcontractor for another company that day, she could not have known said project had to take precedence over my interview – which I never should have tried to squeeze in anyway. To her, it probably seemed like a blow-off. Lesson learned.

I’m working diligently at getting myself into a more normal routine to avoid pitfalls like these, while at the same time, taking advantage of certain freedoms I now have. For one, I have worn jeans to work just about every day since November. Now that spring is finally coming, I am ready to switch to skirts, but it’s nice that the choice doesn’t need to be made out of necessity.

One thing I’ve tried with some success is imposing a dedicated, eight-hour schedule on myself, no matter where I’m working. If it’s an at-home writing day, I’ve adopted an ’11 to 7′ schedule, allowing for housework or downtime in the morning and in the evening, while still hitting those key business hours for phone calls. This was my favorite shift back in the day when I worked in retail – I could sleep in and still party with my friends after work. Now, it’s more effective in forcing me to stop work at 7 pm (or 8), and focus on other things that tend to fall by the wayside, including laundry, dishes, bill paying, and eating.

What little tricks do you have for staying on task and organized?

Published: Wednesday, 8 April 2009 Tags: writer writing schedule

Comments

writerjax‘ left this comment on 10 Apr 09
both good, low-fi suggestions … i have been trying to writer things down before bed, in part to clear my head so insomni-freak can get some sleep (me), but i always forget. Still, it does help.

A visitor‘ left this comment on 10 Apr 09
My tricks involve ots of index cards. I make a big list fr the week, then break it down to one index card a day. I like being able to check things off and feel the sense of accomplishment.

A visitor‘ left this comment on 9 Apr 09
Lists. Lots of them.

Normally at the end of my day, I’ll make a to-do list of the things I’d like to accomplish the next day. I leave it on my desk so that it’s the first thing I see in the morning and can check them off as I go. Of course there are interruptions and things that don’t get done, but it’s a way for me to have my day already prioritized for me. It’s pretty gratifying when you can check off a few things on the list throughout the day. Also, it allows me time to wake up before having to actually think.

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