Today's post deals with the petty little decisions we make all day long that impact how our time is used. And, more specifically, it deals with the hope (maybe just mine) that the order in which we (I) do things will make some kind of massive difference in our (my) productivity.
Author Amok ran a 30 Habits of Highly Effective Poets series last month. (I believe I found it through Jeannine Atkins, who did Habit 30.) The very first post was from Laura Shovan, Author Amok, herself. She describes her writing routine. She reserves two hours a day, first thing in the morning, for writing. "I don't exercise or shower until after I've put in my two hours." Okay. That sounds like a good plan, doesn't it? I exercise and shower first. Maybe that's a mistake. Maybe work should come first, and when it's done, exercise and a shower would function as a reward. I should think about trying that system.
But consider On Discipline--A Guest Post By YA Author Joanna Philbin at On Beyond Words and Pictures. (Most recently I found this in my journal under "Time Management." I have no idea how I originally came upon it.) Philbin makes a good point on the distinction between discipline and enthusiasm. When we're not feeling enthusiastic, we have to rely on discipline. One of the ways she does that? "Even if I'm working at home, I try to always shower, get
dressed, and brush my hair before I start to write." She does it because "if I get ready for work on the outside, it helps me get ready on
the inside." But what she's also doing is treating her work--writing--like work. In almost any other line of work we'd shower and get dressed before heading off for a day at the salt mine, wouldn't we? Isn't showering and dressing before the work day respecting the work and effort and treating it seriously? Is treating ourselves as real working people part of maintaining an identity as a writer, which can be a big assist in managing writing time?
On the other hand, if I had only two hours a day to work, as Laura Shovan does, I could easily, easily, lose half that time to exercising. Then if I add in a shower and getting dressed, I could end up with thirty to thirty-five minutes of work time, during which I would be respecting my work and effort and treating it seriously, of course, but, still, thirty-five minutes...
Now, my regular readers are probably thinking, Gail, you're obsessing again. Different strokes for different folks. That's all you're talking about with little life scheduling issues. Indeed. But first you have to find the stroke that works for you, which is a trial for some people. And I'm not even touching on the whole issue of life happening and some days the stroke not coming close to doing the trick.
For those who are curious, I exercised this morning, wrote two pages, and exercised again. (Not my usual routine. I was feeling enthusiastic, as Joanna Philbin would say.) I've had a shower, but my hair is wet. I'm dressed but in a pair of old blue jeans that definitely do not show respect for anything.
Shall we take a vote? How many are for showering before work and how many would rather put it off?