Yesterday, I wrote out a quick, desperate, at the moment post (on my phone, no less), and literally within a minute I had a friend contact me asking me if I wanted to WC with her. In my world, WC is a “writer’s chat” where we chat with each other on Skype or iMessage, set a time, say an hour or thirty minutes from that moment, write and then get back together and copy/paste what we’ve done on the screen to critique and compliment. It is a most amazing time of creativity.
This was lovely and heartfelt and I desperately need it. Somehow, knowing a friend is sitting 500 miles away and writing with you at the very same time and wants to read your words makes stuff happen in my brain.
At that moment though, I was empty.
I did however promise her that I would send her my schedule for the week and she would see where she could fit in some writing time. We are both very busy wives, mothers, and coaches (she with Karate, me with swimming). The “swing shift” is really the time where either of us get stuff done. Unfortunately, she is a late-nighter, and I am an early-morninger. Still though, I optimistically typed out my schedule for the whole week, making sure I put in chunks of time to work on my computer so that she would see where there might be possible moments for us to get together.
I used to do this in college: write out my schedule every morning in a 15 minute increment list. I found it very helpful to set realistic goals and find moments of time that I didn’t even know existed. As a music major, we were expected to practice every free moment of the day. But I was lucky, because I carried my instrument inside of me, that meant I could practice wherever I was. Not that I did, mind you … just that I could have. As almost any college student, only when juries or recitals were looming did I actually feel the pressure to get working on those German or French lyrics, or that particular line Mozart must have written as a mean joke. During those weeks, my written schedule that I would do in my first class every morning were invaluable to me. The tasks and assignments written down in a list were plucked directly from my swirling head and put onto paper and no matter how many they were and how many hours I faced each day, the hours passed and I accomplished. It was almost like being given a list that one doesn’t need to think about or evaluate, just DO.
I began doing this process again last week and I have discovered that it has accomplished two things.
1. I am absolutely able to schedule in a nap in the middle of my “two workday day.” This is something that I do not feel guilty about in any way shape or form. I have two very separate sections of my day and 45 minutes in between to rejuvenate is crucial.
2. Once I write everything down, I begin to see gaps or no gaps. If I schedule it and the time works out, then I accomplish. If I look at the time and see that there is no time, I move forward with no guilt. This relieves the swirling, twirling, swarming in my head of chores and and duties. I do or don’t do.
This non-emotional approach does more for me than anything else, I am not going to lie. People can ask me for things and if I can do it (and want to), I say yes. If I can’t, I say no. Simple.
All I have to do is say, “blame the schedule not me!” while waving a piece of paper in their face.