Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Alive! ...Barely

Maven Lacey KayeUh, time management? Ra-ra, do some?

Yeah, I'm the Late Maven this week. Even though I've been almost comatose for nearly 24 hours, don't think that's going to get me off the hook with Maven Erica. I knew weeks in advance, as Maven Jacqueline pointed out earlier in the week, that I had a post due today--and I even knew the subject of it. So last-minute death-by-suffocation-slash-killer-headache isn't a reason to be late. It's an excuse.

Which brings me to *my* time management advice, which is to take advantage of notice when you have it, try to get notice when you don't, and keep your schedule open for those pesky little emergencies that crop up. All while working your jobs in their scheduled priority (sorta like what Maven Darcy was saying yesterday).

Some things I know I have to do in advance are blogging, dental checkups, eating during the week (on the weekends, I eat most of my meals out), walking the dog and myself, and so on. By keeping a pretty detailed calendar in Outlook, I can prevent double-booking my evenings and weekends (hold on a minute while I flaunt my fabulous personal life). I can also see what will happen if I don't get something done on time. Don't make the RWA meeting Tuesday night? Spend Wednesday trying to get into email contact with the board members, just because I didn't show up. And so on.

At my job, we call work that doesn't get done on time "travelers," and most of my 8 hour day goes to looking for ways to prevent work from being completed late.

Unfortunately, in real life nobody is going to walk up to you waving a chart and ask you why you didn't walk the dog tonight. You have to be accountable to Fido because you want to be. But I suggest, as I did back in the other time management-type blog I did, making a list (either mental or physical) of work that is okay to travel/delay. For example, I try *really hard* not to travel my exercise. The laundry can be done tomorrow, the floor swept next week, and really, neither is the worse for it. But exercise is like interest investing. Once today is gone, it's totally gone. You can't get it back.

So I actually prioritize exercise over writing. Gasp!

What are some non-comprimisable work statements you have in your life? How are you going to prevent getting them done from taking time away from your writing? Or are you? Anyone else work out--do you have tips for me on how to get both done in a very limited timeframe?


Darcy Burke said...

So I actually prioritize exercise over writing.

And for this reason, Mavey Lacey is my hero.

Anonymous said...

She's my hero b/c she's hot.

('course, I think all the Mavens are foxy chicks. Oh... wait... *g)

Tessa Dare said...

All the Mavens ARE foxy chicks! I'm a non-Maven and can say so with complete impartiality.

And the Mavens are Marvels of Organization. Seriously. Time management... not my forte. Not my biggest weakness, either, but definitely not my forte.

lacey kaye said...

You guys are trying to make me feel better because I'm sick and I look like hell.

It's working.

Bill Clark said...

Yeah, I'm the Late Maven this week.

Lacey, I don't know if you did this on purpose, or if it's unintended hilarity, but to start a post on time management this way gave me a good laugh. Thanks!

This is tangentially related to time management, so let me tell you about the past 24 hours in my life. I was in the library yesterday afternoon, as usual, and, as often happens, a book jumped off the shelf and into my hands. This one was "Mr. Darcy's Diary", by Amanda Grange (sounds like a pen name, for sure!).

It is, of course, the story of P&P as told through Fitzwilliam Darcy's diary, and it is utterly brilliant! Ms. Grange takes us right inside Mr. D's fatuous head and lets us see how he was able to concoct that disastrous first proposal to Lizzy Bennet; she then - using his own words - shows us how he begins to mature and learn to join the human race. She even takes us past Jane Austen's book and into the early married life of Mr. and Mrs. D. What a fabulous book!

Anyhow, back to time management. Obviously, I just lost a day out of my life. I couldn't stop reading. Wild horses couldn't pull me away from that book.

So what does one do when literary lightning strikes, and you are so bedazzled that for a while there is nothing else of importance in your life? Well, obviously, my answer is that you just give into it. And so I did.

Somehow, I also found time to eat, collect the mail, read the papers, sign off on the final proof of my latest oeuvre, and attend a town government meeting to fulfill my elected responsibilities. But if you were to ask me what I did on September 13, 2007, I would reply: I read a book. Because that's what I will remember about yesterday.

And while we're on the whole reading/time management thing, I'd like to say that when I read, I read. This means concentration, and also (a pox on you, Evelyn Wood!) reading slowly enough to hear the words and conversations in my mind in real time.

In other words, I think that "speed reading" is an oxymoron. Reading is a slow, deliberative process for me, enjoying and savoring the words and turns of phrases and psychological overtones and all the rest. It cannot be rushed; otherwise you will lose the richness of the writing, and you will not truly have "read" the book. Oh, sure, you may race through and find out "what happened", but you will not have begun to understand the book.

So that's my rant for the day. Do not wolf your books down like a Big Mac, or you will be left with a cardboard taste in your mouth. And if a book jumps into your hands and worms its way into your mind, don't try to fight it. The chores, as Lacey says, can be done some other time.

Now listen up, everyone: go out and get Mr. D's Diary - now! And then put everything else on hold while you settle down to read it.

lacey kaye said...

It is always intended hilarity :-)

As for your post, thanks, Bill! We needed a guest maven today! If I could, I'd give you the blue boy head. You rock! (No hilarity intended. OK, maybe just a little.)

Bill Clark said...

"blue boy head"?

*Bill scratches his own un-blue head in puzzlement*

I'll take that as a compliment, Lacey, but would kinda like to know what it means...pardon my ignorance. :-(

As for guest-mavening today, if you and the others want to, please feel free to take my rant and use it as today's (Friday) post. Then when someone asks me what I did on September 14, 2007, I can say I guest-mavened!! :-)

lacey kaye said...

See the blue boy head? Yes! Compliment! You among the likes of Stephen Barbara!

Hellie Sinclair said...

I prioritize exercise over writing--I have to, otherwise I'll croak and I won't get the book written if I'm dead either.

If I go to a class and I have a few minutes to kill prior, I'll take my printoff of my story/scene and make notes on it, so my mind always thinking about my story. The more I think about the story, the less dead time I have staring at my blank computer screen going, "What am I supposed to be writing next?" It's the closest thing I can do to "plotting", planning a few scenes ahead...

Jennifer Linforth said...

Everything in writing has to be a balance. I am a new mom, my daughter is 10 months old and I have a full time job in addition to writing.

I have to stick to a schedule of writing when she goes down for the night. Even if it is a few words. .

But blogging and markteting takes up a huge chunk of time too. It is necessary to do and sometime can be a priority. I write for the Unusual Historicals blog. But am taking the advice of my fellow RWA member Celeste She suggested blogging/article writing after the manuscript work is done. This helps to manage time and gives us something to chat about. I am giving it a shot--no matter how tired I might be after doing the work thing, Mom thing, and writer thing all day!


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