You’ve heard it before. You’ve heard it here before. You’re looking over at the categories thinking: ‘It says here on writing, life, and random madness so why are we beating the dead horse again?”
Easy! It won’t stay dead! Time management that bane of my existence; that impossible task that I just can’t seem to conquer – yes that dead horse. It’s the Zombie horse of Biblical proportions that even Resident Evil didn’t try to conquer. Yeah, don’t get me started on that point, I’ve already gone around and around on the Biblical reference of the dead rising in the last days. This horse is worse than a cat, a cat only has nine lives. This time management horse apparently has infinite lives.
I’ve been building my schedule for my coach, to see where I can carve out more time for writing, where I can balance time to actually clean my house, and even manage to have some quality time with the family. If there are many more nights like last night the family time will be removed but that’s another horse. Sounds simple enough right? Make an excel spreadsheet with time blocks for my daily/weekly schedule; in theory it is a simple task.
I was so proud of myself when I sent my first schedule via email, then crushed when moments later I got a response – um, no. Then came the phone call where we discussed the lack of entire subjects such as no time scheduled for housework. Yeah? I’m not having a problem with that until she pointed out to me that although I don’t allocate time for it, I am probably doing it anyway.
“Laundry? Babe, there’s not one place where you do laundry.”
“Well I wear clothes, it’s not like I spend every day nude.”
“Where’s that in the schedule? They don’t wash themselves do they?”
“Ha! I wish”
After several little things bantered about like that, I realized that in fact, more times than not I am in fact doing things throughout the day like washing the dishes left out from breakfast; starting the dishwasher; cleaning the grease splatter off of the stove; sweeping the sugar up that the kids have spilled. Yes, I do it. It’s just part of the “mom” job that I take for granted.
Then, she said the golden words to me: Any time I ask a client to give me their schedule you can bet your boots that if it’s a guy and he has to do any housework at all, it’s allocated generously. If it’s a woman – she tends to leave off huge blocks of time. Well if the guys can count it then why am I leaving it off? Why do we sell ourselves short?
OK, back to the drawing board; revision 2 finished. “Where is the time for editing, writing, reading in your genre, research?”
Hangs head, and returns to the desk, working on Revision 3. OK, I didn’t include bathroom breaks even though I take them. I didn’t include the interruptions I get because they are not on the schedule, although in reality they should be. You can almost count on at least two hours of interruptions minimum in a week. I still have a giant box at the bottom that lists the occasional items: seminars, webinars, articles I should read, blogs I’d like to read, or working on a synopsis or submission package.
I have a couple open slots on Saturday, and a two-hour slot on Sunday. I can see the horse trying to get up already. I’m ready for Revision 4, with a big club in my hand. I’ve already told my coach – just because I schedule housework doesn’t mean I’m actually going to do it. (Look – I like it clean I just don’t like to clean. I never wanted to be a maid, I wanted to hire a maid.) Likewise, not scheduling in the ‘mom’s taxi service’ time throws a wrench into the works every single time.
On the bright side, this is helping me to utilize my time better. Well, not this week but in theory it will, I hope. If not I could revert to the government plans for dealing with dead horses:
- Buy a stronger whip.
- Change riders. (Well that’s not really an option for a writer now is it?)
- Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses. (This is going to require deviation form the schedule thsu modifying the dead horseeven more, hmmmm)
- Increase the standards to ride dead horses.
- Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.
- Create a training session to increase my riding ability.
- Compare the state of other dead horses in today’s environment.
- Pass legislation declaring that “This horse is not dead.”
- Blame the horse’s parents. (NO wait, that would mean it’s my fault, can’t have that!)
- Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.
- Declare that “No horse is too dead to beat.”
- Provide additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
- Do a Cost Analysis to see if contractors can ride it cheaper or faster.
- Procure a commercial design dead horse.
- Declare the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead.
- Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
- Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
- Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
- BRAC the horse farm on which it was born.
- Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.
Well, those don’t seem to work either. Stand back everyone zombie horse version 4.0 is standing on its legs. Maybe if I get some cool clothes like Alice, the zombie horse will recognize my superiority and die of its own accord. Maybe? Anyone?
*Sigh* Well while I go back to my desk and struggle with Versions 5 thru infinity of a ‘simple spreadsheet’, you can name your own apocalypse horses. At least they aren’t Zombie Alligators. Maybe I should re-examine the clone idea, then there will be more of me to beat the horse.
Have any undead monsters in your own life?
Write on my friends, write on.