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Time: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

September 21, 2010

“The flow of time is always cruel. It’s speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it.”
~Sheik, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Yes, I know. I totally geeked out on you all with the quote, but it was the very first thing that came to mind when I sat down to write this blog post, so I simply couldn’t resist.

Time is one of those things I have a love-hate relationship with. I’ll alternate between states of feeling bored and unproductive with states of panic that send me running around like a chicken with its head cut off. There are times when I’ll lament having too little time, and other times when I’ll feel amazed that I have more of it than I know what to do with.

I love the days when I feel completely on task with writing, setting up my blog tour for our upcoming release Cast the Cards, and any massage therapy hours I clock in at my day job. Those days are terrific, and although I usually don’t have free time to sit back and take things easy, I almost always feel I’ve accomplished something worthwhile instead of sitting on my bum all day doing nothing of consequence. In other words, I like to keep busy for the most part, and since I’m involved in self-publishing, writing, and an MT day job, I usually find that very easy to do. 😀

I write almost every day in some form or another. My basic weekly schedule is as follows. (Times are in screwy Arizona time, so this’ll change a bit after daylight savings, since we don’t change our clocks at all. XD)
Mondays – Blogging and marketing until 2pm, massage shift until 8pm (plus Karaoke after my shift if I have the energy)
Tuesdays – Thursdays – Writing from 7am to 8pm
Fridays – Massage shift until 1pm, writing from 2pm on into the evening
Saturdays – Massage shift until noon, writing from 1pm on into the evening (alternative = Saundra’s date night, which usually means a quiet, lazy evening to myself, a rare out-call massage appointment, or time with friends)
Sundays – Lazy morning (hoopdancing if I’m not so lazy), massage shift until 7pm, laundry night at my parents’ house (since I don’t have in-unit laundry at my apartment), blogging before bed (since I’m so slow at it)

Those middle days of the week are the ones Saundra and I tend to do the majority of our writing. I’m still amazed that we managed to pump out 29,000 words for Catalyst in a single week last month, but that’s what happens when deadlines begin looming. Heck, I was that way all throughout college as well. Sure, I’d try to work on my research papers and group projects ahead of time, but more often than not, I would end up doing my best work the last day or two under pressure of a deadline. Time might be purported as a person’s worst enemy, but it’s sometimes the fire under your ass that gets you moving when you need to buckle down and concentrate on a specific task. In that way, I guess it can be a writer’s best friend, depending on your perspective!

One thing I hesitate to go into is multitasking, even though it’s very clearly related to time management. I’ll be the first one to say that I suck at multitasking. Like… I really suck at it. It’s been a constant annoyance to me (and I’m sure to my poor co-author, who has to deal with it more often than anyone else in my life). I do best when I’m concentrating on a single task. It’s difficult for me to write on instant messenger with Saundra and set up a blog post or exchange e-mails for marketing, especially when that’s coupled with a physical task like cooking for myself or cleaning my apartment. I make it happen, but I inevitably feel like I’m working too slowly on at least one of the tasks. I guess that’s why I kind of love the pressure that deadlines put on me. When I have a deadline, I push everything but that one task aside. Being able to concentrate on it without distractions helps my brain immensely. (God, it’s so embarrassing to admit that on a public forum! Perhaps I’m not the only one who suffers from multitasking ineptitude?)

In the end, I do tend to get everything done that I need to. It’s sometimes very taxing to keep up the schedule, but I love having it in place. It takes a bit of the guess work out of my life, which is always a relief.

One last note I feel the need to make is just how grateful I am to have a co-author like Saundra, who is a multitasking fiend! Being in business with her is awesome, and her husband takes care of a lot of technical work (ebook formatting, website programming, and accounting) that would just fry my brain if I tried to juggle it with everything else. I’m truly blessed to be part of a team like this, since my shortcomings are strengths of theirs (and I hope vise versa). ^_^

Now that I’ve rambled a bit about how I spend my time and my difficulties with multitasking, it’s your turn! Do you have a set schedule for your day that you stick to like shit on velcro, do you stay laid back and do whatever comes to mind first, or do you take an everything-at-once approach? Leave a comment sharing your personal approach to time management!

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