Thursday, March 04, 2010

Ah, Yes. Time Suck.

Varian Johnson, who appears to be a structures guy (a term you'd be familiar with if you belonged to a civil engineering family) as well as a YA novelist, did a guest post at Justine Larbalestier's blog on the subject of time suck.

Ah, yes. Time suck.

Back when I had more time, I wasted so much of it. Back ten months ago, the Internet was my major time suck. I had to kill an hour or more each morning before I began work. I called it my transition time or prep time. Then I kept going back to news' sites and e-mail over and over again during the day.

Because of the family problems that arose last year, I have much less time. As a result, with the three days a week I have left to work, I've had to set up office hours just as Johnson describes. The Internet and e-mail are not part of office hours, at least not the morning office hours. I don't do any of that until after I've gotten some work done. When my family members call me on those days, I keep telling them I'm working. I sometimes e-mail people in the evening to tell them, "I'll be working tomorrow. I'll get back to you tomorrow night" as a little hint that they should leave me alone. (People who need hints rarely take them, I've found.) I don't do Internet research for other family members' health problems during office hours. I don't do personal paper work during office hours. I don't do personal financial work during office hours. I must have been spending a lot of my work time on these kinds of tasks because I'm doing them in the evenings now, and I find that I don't have anywhere near as much time to read blogs and listservs, which is what I used to do in the evenings.

Oddly enough, though, now that I have less time to work, I find that I'm staying on task much better. I can't get everything done, but at least I know I'm working.

Johnson talks about making time however you can. The thing you have to accept about that is when you make time to do one thing that means you aren't going to be able to do something else. I made time to work during the day by doing personal stuff at night, which means I can't be as connected to the kidlitosphere as I used to be.

I am confident that someday someone will find a way to get more hours in the day and more days in the week. I hope I live to see it.

Again, I found the Varian Johnson post through Cynsations.


Ms. Yingling said...

I'm very glad to know that you're staying on track with your writing, because my students are handing off Saving the Planet and Stuff at a brisk rate and are starting to ask what you have out that is NEW. Now stop reading and go write a book! ;-)

gail said...

How marvelous! Tell them about Happy Kid!. That should be of interest to middle school students.