It’s the earlier morning as I’m writing. I won’t quite claim early morning since most of the working world is already up. I’m trying to ease back into my morning work habits and here I am, writing before my kids are up. As early as I’d like? Nope. Did I do the whole morning routine I’d like to? Nope. And I almost stayed in bed because of that. But then I realized that I’m going to want at the end of the day is to have written. And if all I get is 200 words, that will be better than none.
It doesn’t help me to say “well, the kids will be up soon so it’s not worth my time.” It doesn’t help me to make excuses like, “I don’t have three hours to work on this; I only have thirty minutes.” We can spend our lives looking for the big chunks of time, moments that are uninterruptible. But if we want to do real work, we have to do it in real life. That means working in fifteen minute chunks between laundry and running errands and lunch breaks. That means working when we’d rather drift back to sleep for a few minutes or dig into a good book. (Although, bonus, reading is totally part of the work of being a writer.)
Invoke Future Lisa
In an email a few weeks ago, I revealed that I sometimes have to trick myself to stay on track. One of my favorite questions to ask in that precarious early afternoon is, “What will I wish I had done when it’s bedtime?” Then I try to go and do that thing. I may have to repeat the question a few times. But my judgment is always better looking back over the day than it is in the moment. In the moment, I’m going to want to go with easy, but easy rarely pays off when it comes to getting things done and working toward goals and building a home. At this point I know myself well enough to know what I need to do and if I have to invoke future Lisa to get myself to do it, so be it.
Savor Those Small Moments
Snatch up those little moments. The other morning my four-year-old told me that he had “no any pickups” that morning. You’d better believe I pulled that child up and held him. I can’t hold him all day but I can snuggle and give kisses and look boys in the eye. I can also write down an essay idea in about 30 seconds.
Rein in the Social Media Beast
When I deleted my social media apps from my phone and ipad, I was expecting pretty big results. They were there. I felt like I had gained back three hours from my day. Not three hours consecutively, to paint or write a novel, but three hours to break up into reading library books with the boys and listening to their funny stories or grabbing that last load of laundry from the dryer before dinner. It was a little painful but not as painful as realizing how often I walked over to scroll through an app.
Break Work into Chunks
I want to get rid of the clutter at our house. But because I don’t have hours upon hours to work on this, I’m trying to find five to fifteen minutes to do this. Fifteen minutes every day will add up to a lot more than trying to do three hours once a month. I can record the podcast and come back another afternoon to edit. Then later that night I can upload the file and finish off any show notes. It doesn’t have to all be done in one sitting. Chop your veggies for dinner when you’re making breakfast. Write down one meal on your meal planning calendar every afternoon.
Play Upbeat Music
Music has a great effect on me. I’d argue this was true for everyone but I neither did the research nor have I been anyone else. I have learned that early afternoon is a time to turn up the volume on something fun (which often ends up being Disney songs). Or at the least play some loud classical. I love Pandora and Spotify in different ways for introducing me to new music.
I’ve been sitting here less than twenty minutes and I have my 750 words for the day and a blog post. That means my afternoon work time is a lot freeer. Thanks, small chunks of time.