Hello, friends. Sometimes, when it comes to organization and work habits, I am a very slow learner. I’ve blogged before about learning to be my own good boss, and most of those lessons have stuck. Three months after starting my bullet journal, I’m still very happy using it as a system. Still, the really obvious things often elude me.
Until recently, one of my great frustrations was not being able to work effectively at home. Some days, between dropping off and picking up small children, I have a 3-hour work slot. On those days, I walk straight downtown to a café, order a coffee, and write about a thousand words with very little fuss. On other days, I have a 5- or 6-hour stretch at home. You’d think I could accomplish even more, given the extra time, but those tend to be the days that I am less productive.
You see, on those longer work days, I tend to come home, clear away the morning chaos, throw in a load of laundry, prep dinner, make some phone calls, answer email, and check my favourite blogs. The error seems so obvious, when summarized like this. Basically, I am allowing myself to be distracted by domestic responsibilities. (Domestic labour is the very definition of tyranny: no matter how hard you work, there is always more to do.) Perhaps the most wasteful part of my distraction is that I’m not using my real work space: my delightful, peaceful, warm shed.
That changed this week. Yesterday, before heading out the door with the family, I left my laptop, notebook, and mug of coffee by the door. When I came back from the school run, I performed the most critical act of the day: I did not take off my shoes. Instead, I tiptoed into the kitchen, microwaved my coffee, and fled to the shed.
Result? Efficient bliss. I cranked out 1000 words in just over 2 hours, came inside and practised yoga, then had time to wash salad greens for lunch. After lunch, I critiqued the first three chapters of Stephanie Burgis’s dragons-and-chocolate MG novel (it’s FANTASTIC! You will love it, world!) and caught up on email before heading out to pick up the children.
Lesson learned: for me, writing is all about disconnecting both from domestic duties and from the internet. And, of course, keeping my shoes on.
Readers: what techniques do you use to trick yourself into work? Are you one of those superhumans who can tweet while writing?