A New Schedule
Before my first day as a full-time author, I took two weeks off over the holidays. It seemed like the right thing to do, since Lemur was also on vacation. My dude is my biggest time suck, and I love him for it. I've been forcing myself to work on books while he was off playing video games for years. Not this time.
I still learned some important lessons while on vacation. Apparently, I can come down with a cold within minutes of interacting with other humans (dropped off an Amazon return at the UPS store, while wearing a mask, mind you, and was already sneezing by the time we got home). I also have the attention span of a moth and am drawn to Diablo II like a flame whenever I hear the intro music. Twenty years later, and that game is still an integral part of my existence. I haven't played all week, but I'll probably log some game time on the treadmill this weekend.
In the meantime, here's a recap of my new Monday-Friday schedule.
4 a.m.: Wake up to the alarm/doggos. Take them outside. Bring them back inside, usually after chasing Big Dog around in the snow because that's his element. Feed them. Feed/caffeinate me. Watch the news. Take a shower. Send Lemur off to work.
5:30: Walk for my "morning commute." I've been doing this on my work-from-home days since I started working from home, so nothing new.
6-8: Write 2k new words. That's it. That's all I have to do. Why is this the hardest part of my day?
8-9: Walk some more. I've been meeting the 10k steps per day goal for three years now. This year, I'm trying to increase my cardio/peak minutes per week. That means higher inclines and faster paces on the treadmill.
9-11: Edit. It's been slow going this week, but I only have six scenes to go. For some reason, that only makes it worse. The elves were supposed to write their new scenes for me while I was on vacation, but that didn't happen. I would fire them, if they weren't integral to this series.
11-12: Dogs go outside and eat lunch, then I eat lunch. If you've ever had a dog with stomach acid issues, three meals a day will curb that, but it will also make them super divas who think they need to eat all the time. (Big Dog is the super diva because of course he is. Little Dog is my shark boy who thinks anything not pushed back far enough on the counter is fair game.) After lunch, it's back on the treadmill to finish my steps for the day. I've been listening to Joanna Penn's Business for Authors this week. I love her accent, but I'm listening to it at 1.15 speed and still feel like she's reading too slow.
12-3: Whatever needs doing. Social media posts. Blog posts. More editing. This week, it's been more editing every day, since I can't seem to get through the end of this book. On Thursday, I remembered I'm giving a 20-minute speech this coming Tuesday, so I quickly switched over to rehearsal mode instead. That's right - I no longer feel guilty for switching to non-work tasks during work time. Let's be honest: It's all work time. I'm going to watch RuPaul's Drag Race this weekend (for the first time ever) and believe me, while I will enjoy the hell out of it, it's research for the New Year Not You sequel.
3-6: Time with Lemur. He's usually home from work by 3 p.m., but he found it hilarious that he only gets 3 hours of my time, and most of that time was stolen from errands this week. This time is also eaten up by meal prep, feeding the dogs and us (again), and writing my daily pages (from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way - no way am I getting up earlier to write morning pages).
6-8: On Monday/Wednesday/Friday, this is Zoom time with my fellow writers. We sprint for 20-30 minutes and then chat for 5 minutes. My goal is to end with more words and less social anxiety than I had when we began. I rarely lower my anxiety, but I always have new words. On Tuesday/Thursday, this is time to read a book, but I'm still sitting at zero books read in 2022. The good news is, I should have time to read this weekend. Leisure time? On the weekend? What is that, again?
8 p.m.- 4 a.m.: Nighttime shenanigans. I'll leave that to your imagination. We are boring as hell - whatever you think we're doing is probably more interesting than what we're really doing. (Unless you said sleeping. We're probably sleeping.)
The best part about my new schedule is the built-in breaks from staring at screens. I still work eight hours a day, but it's on my timeline, not someone else's.