I started a new job in November at a great place with a work load that keeps the hours clicking towards five. There’s been plenty of overtime as well. Which is great for my wallet, but not the writing.
I’ve still got some teen kids that need rides or errands done or help with homework. Furry friends that need attention. A house, mind, and body that needs care too.
Although I’ve transitioned pretty well to a new company, new coworkers, new data to process in new ways, there are still some things I wish I could fit into my schedule. I mean, other than climbing stairs at my job, there are no cardio/weight-lifting sessions. And I’m still struggling with how to fit my writing in.
Kind of like the advice for saving money “You have to pay yourself first,” I know there’s only so much time in a day, and I’m making choices on how to spend it. But, seriously, where’s it going?
The first thing that really started helping me answer that was my phone’s notification on screen time. And I think it’s fair to say that calling people didn’t really rank as a big time waster. One week reading the news and blogs? 3.5 hours. Gaming? 9.25. I had to read that twice. I couldn’t believe it. Gaming was like a whole day at work. The next week I had cut the reading down to 1.5 and it was news oriented and the gaming dropped to 3.
How did I cut it back? By doing it when there was a time limit. On my lunch break worked for example. I’ve heard some people also quit playing games when their legs fall asleep after sitting on the toilet. And I also tried leaving the phone alone after dinner.
But even when I wasn’t busy solving puzzles, I felt too tired to write.
So I started watching my bedtime. My first approach was using my phone to notify me when I should go to bed. Then I invested in a FitBit and started really tracking my sleep. Holy cow! What a surprise. I consistently showed 5 hour nights. No wonder I was too tired to write.
It seems counterintuitive to sleep more when you want to get more done, but I found I was able to get more done because I felt better. My focus was especially better.
So I was able to think about writing. But some of my time soon began disappearing into NetFlix or recently, HBO. I mean, I’ll be honest. I’m binge watching Game of Thrones to get ready for season 8. Luckily, the next season is the last one and also a short one. After that, I’ve committed to moving the T.V. to another room. I’ll have to get up with purpose to go watch it. The room where I hang out the most has my desk. I’ll be clear and ready for me. Notebooks will be nearby.
Here’s what I can tell you about this kind of process. I resisted the change. I found other things to fill my time when I could have been writing. Why? Apparently, it’s just like working out. The natural high disappears after a few days and then there’s just the work.
My advice to myself is to know why I’m writing. Why am I doing it, really? Allow myself to want the outcome of the writing. And then get real about a plan to make it happen.
Am I really moving the T.V.? Yes, I really am. I mean look. Right now I’m writing and next time it’ll be on my novel.