First off, the good news! My story ‘Hell is here, and it’s trying my patience.’ has been accepted by Vagabondage Press for their upcoming Ink Stains anthology! To say I am happy is a bit of an understatement. I honestly didn’t think I would get this one published because, well, it’s weird. The plot revolves around the opening to hell showing up right off the Downtown onramp. Then nothing happens and continues to do so as people get used to living with constant abject horror possibly showing up at anytime. File under dark comedy. Either way; YAY!!!
But what I really brought us all together for is to talk about the importance of schedules. It’s been on my mind lately because I haven’t been nearly as productive as I should be. (Okay, yes, I am never as productive as I think I should be and will probably never meet my output expectations. I’ve learned to live with that.) A recent conversation with a friend about scheduling life and creative output put me in gear to finally do something about it.
Thinking back to before we moved to PA (nearly a year ago!!) I wrote, did promo, practiced bass, ran a radio show/station, slept, spent time with Mel, and even had somewhat of a social life. All this while working 50+ hours a week. How the hell did I do that?! I’m working roughly a 45 hour week, very small social life, and no radio show, yet I feel that I’ve gotten nothing done since moving here. To be fair, the first year in a new place is busy, and I expected that. The little slave driver in my head does not except this as an acceptable answer, but he can go suck eggs.
The key is scheduling. Both Mel and I have set work schedules and life has settled around that, as it is wont to do. Now to plan my life around that. I could rail against the injustice of having to plan our lives around our jobs and not vice versa, but it is what it is. Planning out work, and play times, is the key to getting anything done. And the key to planning is finding balance. I could just play DOOM and my bass all day and write in those moments I can sneak in but for me that isn’t a good balance. Priorities can help dictate how you even everything out so you become happy with your output schedule. I want to write more, feel more productive, and increase my output time therefore my emphasis will be on that.
Play time is important too. You have to make time to relax, or do things that help you relax. I’ll slip in some DOOM when I can because it’s a relaxation thing, but not a priority. Bass is a priority, but it rides that line of relaxation and creative output so I try to make actual time for it. Sometimes you just want to say ‘hang it all, Imma watch a movie and eat a whole box of Mike and Ikes’. And that’s cool, we all need a break, as long as it’s just that and not a habit that cuts into your schedule.
Here’s mine, it’s simple and easy. It’s also mutable, if I need to change it I can, but will only do so if I see a benefit to it.
It’s that easy. Monday, Friday, and Sunday, Mel is off so I like to spend time with her. Mondays and Tuesday, I usually go to work early and I don’t have a lot of time. Promo work has usually been a Tuesday thing for me, so it works out. Wednesday and Thursday, I usually go in later which leaves me with more time to settle in and write. Saturday and Sunday I’m off; lots of time to work and get some R&R in so I don’t burn my ass out. (And yes, I am domesticated and I actually like getting housework done, for those of you who noticed.)
Of course keeping to it is the name of the game. A commitment to stick to what you’ve laid out is what makes the whole thing work. Sometimes just knowing that I committed myself to a schedule will help me power through those times when I’m just not feeling it, or I think my head is too empty of ideas to get anything written that day. Other times, things come up and I’m not able to keep to it. That’s fine. I just make up for later on by putting extra time in on another day. See, that balance thing again.
Scheduling is important for life in general, but especially so if you want to get anything else done besides that ol’ 9 to 5. Because, let’s face it, most of us don’t earn a paycheck doing what we want. Let’s make the rest of the time count, otherwise, what’s the point?
-Your Weird Uncle Mick