Exciting lessons in time management (#SFWApro)

starspangled74

Today wraps up my first work month since finishing Time Travel on Screen—which from now on is known as Now and Then in Time to avoid duplicating the name of another time-travel title from McFarland. As I expected, my use of time when I can’t watch movies or TV and count that as work has been different (cover by J. Winslow Mortimer, all rights to current holder).

I’m pleasantly surprised that I haven’t succumbed much to the temptation to spend work time surfing the web. Email, however, is a much bigger distraction. I used to be strict about only checking it morning, noon and after work, but when viewing time-travel films I found it easy to check it much more frequently. The habit seems to have stuck, and it’s very tempting when writing is going slowly. Blogging is another temptation. And both are bad because on top of the actual time taken is the refocusing necessary to get back in the groove. In both cases I’ll have to mark off specific time periods and ignore them the rest of the work day.

Another challenge is deciding when to switch gears if they’re grinding too much. If working on the outline of Southern Discomfort (my main activity this week) is going slow, how long should I spend just sitting and thinking about the stuck parts (and sometimes that’s what it takes)? At what point should I try working on something else? How much time can I spend writing the outline (or any project) before I just get tired and need a change?

•Breaks help, but only if I actually break and do something else and don’t keep grappling with the problem. And while I tend to use breaks for productive stuff (or petting the puppies), it helps if I use them for something self-indulgent (reading a comic book say) every so often.

•If I don’t write into my schedule what I’m actually going to do when I take a break, I’m much more likely to skip them, or just sit there staring vacuously.

•Not doing little daily things and making them up later is a bad idea (which I know, but I still do it). Several of the things I try to do regularly (meditate, exercise my voice) I didn’t get done as much as planned, because by month’s end it just wasn’t possible (the same applies to writing tasks, but I’m more conscientious with those). It’s not like life will stop getting in the way of stuff during the second half of the month.

•One of those supposed daily things is sign language: I have a minimal proficiency (proficiency might be too strong a word) and I want to maintain it, or ideally, improve it. Practicing while watching movies for Now and Then in Time was simple: listen to what people say, try and transcribe it. Not so simple when I’m only watching movies or TV for pleasure. I must make a point to find the time instead of vaguely planning to do it (vagueness is always the kiss of death).

•Don’t beat myself up if things don’t work out. Which is something I also already know, but it’s always good to restate. Next week, for example, I have a doctor’s appointment (nothing serious), a contractor coming for some probably intensive electrical work, a couple of errands I have to run during the work week and I’ll be doing all dog walking for a couple of days (TYG has commitments). Pushing myself to make 40 hours would be futile.

•No matter how comfortable the dogs are turning me into a human panini on the couch, I still have to get up and stretch. Even though it increases the odds Plushie will get up and start demanding I do something (usually feed him).

Now all I have to do is put these lessons into practice for May.

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Filed under Now and Then We Time Travel, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

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