Last week I made mention of the fact I only have a block of two hours set aside each day to write. I suspect that may have left a few wondering, if this is my full-time job, what else do I do all day that limits writing time to just two hours. So, I thought I'd share a typical day for me, and perhaps a couple nuggets of useful information along the way.
Back when I first got started writing, I thought being a full-time writer would mean spending seven to eight hours every day writing or editing. I'm sure for some, it might be, but increasingly, other factors and duties are coming into play. I'm also a small business owner and homeschooling mother on top of writing, so I end up juggling a lot during the day.
My weekday starts at 5:40 a.m. C. L. wakes me up after he's finished his breakfast and is getting ready for work. I grab a cup of coffee and sit down to tackle my emails, any bookkeeping or inventory updates that need handling, and make the social media rounds. The girls get up at 6:30, and it's time to prepare breakfast for the three of us.
Once breakfast is finished, I get the girls started with their daily lessons and go clean up the kitchen. Between then and about 9:30 a.m., I make or package any bath and body products needed to keep Contented Comfort stocked as well as send off any orders in need of filling. Then from 9:30 to 11 a.m., I tackle as many chores as I can around the house. Throughout all of this, I stop and further explain anything the girls are unsure of in their lessons or guide them through new concepts.
This is something that's become easier to do in the past couple of years since the girls mastered reading. We're a family that believes in teaching children how to teach themselves once they have the proper tools and skills needed. So now that they know how to read well and have a grasp of basic mathematical skills, they're given their assignments for the day and are allowed to work on them independently. If they have trouble understanding a concept or the materials provided, they ask for help. Alternately, if their daily assessments, i.e. worksheets, reports, or essays, prove they didn't understand the material as well as they believed, I step in to explain the material in a different way until they understand.
So far, this has resulted in increased confidence and retention of material for both girls compared to previous years. It's also allowed for more housework and business work to be done before dinnertime. They sleep better without me bumping around in the kitchen, and I get more than four or five hours of sleep each night. It's been a win-win for our family, but enough about that.
We school all year round, so the girls can usually finish their schoolwork for the day between 11 and lunchtime. We try to get outside and get a bit of exercise either by walking, playing, or gardening if the weather is nice. When it's not, we find some way to get our blood pumping inside. Doing silly dances to whatever music they can find is a favorite of theirs. I prefer calisthenics and step aerobics, but anything works.
After a quick lunch, the girls are free to play or read if they've finished their lessons. I get cleaned up and take another fifteen to twenty minutes to respond to emails and any social media contacts that came in during the morning, and then I either work on crochet projects I have going on or practice with the sewing machine until 3 p.m. That is, I work on fiber arts if I don't have photos in need of preparing, videos to edit, or a manuscript to format. On those days, I handle the more intermittent computer work needed to keep things moving.
I'm working toward adding blankets and other cozy items to Contented Comfort, but I'm just now learning how to work a sewing machine. Give me a year or so to become halfway decent.
I make myself another cup of coffee or tea and begin my daily writing block at 3 p.m. and work until 5, which is the end of my workday.
That's it. I've divided my workday up into what Marie Forleo refers to as "tasty time chunks." In doing so, I've been able to increase my productivity on a daily basis. I might get less done on one particular item in a given day than I might if I focused on it all day long, but over the course of the week, I get way more done across the board than I could ever do otherwise. It's something I've been experimenting with for the last couple of years, but it's only really "clicked" for me in the past month or so. Just take a look at how much the ticker to the right of this page has moved lately to see the effect "chunking" my day has had.
What about you? How do you make the most of your day?
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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