Blogging is a habit I find it very, very easy to get out of. I make plans too far in advance, and then a couple of days throws them out. A couple of months, and now I can’t even remember what my blogging plan was. There was writing, and there was Tuesday Toolsday, I think? I probably blogged it somewhere. Now I’m staring up at the mountain, wondering how to get back to the base camp I fell from. Don’t worry, though. I have a cunning plan.
It’s the same with all my writing. In my late teens and up to the age of about 21 I was prolific. Someone once described me as being a word-spewing beastie from the land of happy endings, because I was. I was bringing out a 2000+ word chapter every couple of days, at the very least, at the same time as doing my A levels and then my degree. As a result, I didn’t get quite the grades I should have, and at 21 I entered my final year of uni and knuckled down to many tourism modules, all of which I loved. Academic writing and research had to take precedence. And then there was looking for jobs, and trying to write other stuff because I felt I should, and then having a split shift job, and… and and and. So many excuses.
I am the queen of tomorrow. I’ll do it tomorrow, when I’m not feeling as tired. I’ll do it tomorrow, because I really want to play Sims this evening. I’ll do it all tomorrow. I have been known to put off putting things off, and spent the evening staring vacantly at the screen.
There are ways, of course, and when I put my mind to it I’m pretty good at them. In November, I can do everything.
To do lists
My most essential tool. Even if it’s just scribbled down in my diary the night before, to be ticked off at the end of the day, I need a to-do list. It helps to go through everything I need to do and put it somewhere I can check, then I don’t get to bed time and go ‘oh, I was meant to do that, wasn’t I?’ I even colour code them, red for things that urgently need doing, green for things I would like to do, orange for things I should do but can put off, and blue for appointments.
Room for improvement: On LifeHacker, I saw advice along the lines of ‘write down everything you need to do, then cross off all but the three most important things’. I put far too much stuff on my list, and then do the easy things because then I feel I’ve accomplished something. Once upon a time I had a scoring system, and gave myself rewards at the end of the week like I was a child. It worked, and if treating myself like a child gets the job done I should do it more often.
I’ve mentioned the pomodoro method before. It’s basically a short-burst time management technique, where you break the day down into tomatoes (I use cupcakes) of 15 minutes (or your preferred time) separated by 5 minute breaks. I find that 20-10 is perfect for writing, and 15-5 for tidying. It doesn’t work for cooking, of course, but having a breather every 15 minutes to assess your progress is no bad thing no matter what you’re doing.
Room for improvement: Using them. It doesn’t work if you let the timer run down and don’t start it up again after the break.
It is a lovely thing. It is also a crucially important thing, and like many 20-somethings, I am not very good at it. The best thing for me to do is go to bed when I feel tired in the evening, usually about 10-11, then wake up for an hour in the middle of the night, have a drink and write a bit, and then go back to sleep. This gets me up at about 8.
Room for improvement: Actually doing that. The best TV is on after 10, and there’s always something on that I want to watch, or I’m playing Sims, or I’m just too tired to move. And then there’s the cats, who always want to fight my feet or just have a fuss made of them.
So tonight I will go to bed before midnight, having written down my top 3 tasks for tomorrow, and I will wake in the morning refreshed and ready to face the week. She says…