New schedule

So I’ve been playing around, experimenting, trying to decide what works best at which time of day and I think (I hope) I’ve come up with a workable solution. I gave it a test-run yesterday and it seemed to work okay.

I generally get up between 7am and 9am depending on how quiet a night the animals have had. With 3 of them there’s usually one that wants out at stupid o’clock, and often they’ll take turns with the pitter patter pet shuffle. But yesterday, after a slightly disturbed night, I was up at 8:30am.

If I’m up by 8:30am I can have breakfast and be at my desk by 9am. When I wake up at 7am I can do 30 – 90 minutes of yoga. (Obviously I’ll start at the bottom end of that and work my way up …)

The schedule for the day, in 1-hour slots, will look a bit like this:

9am Catch the Rainbow

10am blog

11am daily competitions

12noon [WORK SLOT]

1pm LUNCH

2pm walk dog (inc post letters)

3pm [WORK SLOT]

4pm [WORK SLOT]

5pm [WORK SLOT]

6pm cook tea, feed animals, wash up, etc

Those empty slots will be filled with whatever I need to work on at the time, be it a book to proof or edit, or a stage of an article, story or filler to write, plan or edit. Including the novel work, that is only 5 working hours in a day, but after Monday the comps take 20 minutes or so, the blog doesn’t take an hour to write (and sometimes I do it the day before if I have a minute), so they often merge into 1 hour or less, giving me an extra 6th hour to work on work.

At the moment the dog walk is taking about 40 minutes, so that gives me time to have a cuppa when we get in. When the fine weather gets here, though, and the fields are less sticky underfoot, that will be closer to the full hour. (I have wellies but the dog doesn’t and needs his feet wiping when he gets in. And his belly.) The fresh air right after lunch (during the “graveyard session”) is nice and quite useful.

If I regularly get up an hour earlier or more, I’ll add an extra hour at the start of the day to give me 7 working hours. But I don’t want to set myself up for that just yet and end up failing more than achieving.

Evenings and weekends aren’t really sacrosanct, but while I will work them when necessary, I do like to have time off to do other stuff. Otherwise, what’s the point of being self-employed?

Yesterday the 12noon slot was “diary work” and 3pm – 5pm (inc) were proof-reading. Today I have an article stage in the 12noon slot and proof-reading for the rest of the day. This Wednesday the gig list uses 2 hours because I’m uploading January’s gigs, but every other week this is also an hour as I just update it with the latest amendments, and book marketing is 2 hours on alternate weeks – although this may be moving to a monthly chore.

I also have weekly chores and tasks throughout the week, such as invoicing on a Friday or PC maintenance.

The weekends will start an hour later but will mostly be household-chore-filled, apart from an hour a day on Catch the Rainbow. If I can write at least 1,000 words per day every day between now and 28 February (inc), I’ll have 80,000 words to edit and polish. I still walk the dog both days, and on Sundays I want us to go out with the Ramblers if we can, or at least on a substantial walk on our own.

Everything is still very flexible, depending on workload, deadlines, mood, etc. For example, I may move the dog walk to the 9am slot if I can kill 2 birds with one stone, then the morning moves along one hour until we catch up again.

I’ll see how it goes for a couple of weeks. The next diary session is a week on Friday, after 2 weeks of trying it this way.

Do you have a schedule? Or do you prefer to work in a more organic way? How long is your “working day”?

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