The first day back to work after an illness is always hectic. There’s a stack of work to catch up on. Prioritizing is mandatory, taking the more urgent items first. Projects with the closest deadlines are at the top, and goes down the list in descending order. A paying job is no different than a writing career.
Oh, I’ve earned a bit here and there for short articles, humor pieces and personal experience pieces, but it’s not the same priority as the work for which I am being paid. The company is paying me to do work for them and therefore that pulls priority over my agenda for building an author platform, (see Michael Hyatt’s book Platform) or my self established writing routine to get my work out there.
- Dealing with perfectionism, I feel that I must get everything completed accurately or I am a failure.
- Being an overachiever I feel I must get everything completed to perfection or I am a failure.
- Being a little OCD, combined with the aobve two is enough to drive any rational person insane, and yes; feel that I must complete everything to my own rigorous standards of excellence or I am a failure.
You may have picked up on the fact that the previous two weeks have left me feeling like a failure. It’s true, even though I tried to catch up on the time that I lost being sick, I didn’t get everything completed. Then I tried to catch up last week and was affected by the medications therefore not completing everything I wanted.
Me, the person that tells everyone: “Writer’s write, it’s what they do. Pretenders and wannabes talk about it but don’t write.” I wrote less than 3000 words in the entire last two weeks. Well, not counting a couple blog posts here and not counting blog posts over at Storytime Trysts where I’ve been promoted to managing editor (Squeal!) And not counting the hand written notes I made, and not counting . . . are you beginning to see a problem here? Seriously I would never hold anyone else to such ridiculous standards.
I’ve excused others for minimal infractions of why they didn’t get their work in on time. Yet, when I have pneamonia I lay down the law and slap failure on myself when I hae trouble following my schedule on the best of days. It’s tight – I’m essentially juggling a part time job with a full time career not to mention the parenting and wife part. Unlike some famous authors that take a month on holiday in Barbados to write their next novel, I can’t. No, I live in the here and now nitty gritty world dealing with teens that can’t seem to bend over to pick up a dirty sock much less the jeans shirt or candy wrappers that litter the floors oftheir bedrooms. A husband that is old school in his thinking that a woman is responsible for the household – as in he doesn’t have to pick up his dirty underwear or socks, or ever pitch in to cook an occasional meal, or heaven forbid any of them should ever help with clean up after they’ve inhaled the meal I worked for half an hour to prepare.
I know, it’s part of life. It’s part of my routine that I didn’t account for when planning me schedule. It’s that big black void of time consumption that I wonder where did my time go? One of the best exercises I’ve done recently is to sit and write daily for a week what I did, and for how long. It hurt just barely less than the crunches.
It looked something like this: Monday thru Friday: 6 am get up, make coffee, fix lunches, tidy 6:45 get kids on bus, hubs off to work. 7ish (depends on how long the previous takes shower, eat breakfast, start laundry 8:00 begin mlo work, go through emails, respond, answer customer questions. 8:30 or 9 – depends on how long it takes to go through emails – go to YMCA and work out; return home change over laundry, sort fold put away. 1030: finish MLO work or start on blogs, work on books 1:00 laundry/ housecleaning/ research time 2:45 KIDS get home – yeah then everything gets thrown off the schedule .
Trust me that is greatly simplified, but there are those places where I had scheduled “writing time” when actually I was scrubbing the bathroom, loading the dishwasher, cleaning the counter tops, and folding laundry. Until I achieve a salary that I can hire a maid, it’s part of my routine. I sat on the sofa with a big harumph – penciling in this big huge blob of time – SULKING – while I sat there depressed at my failings, drowning my sorrows in sugar free peach tea and rice cakes . Trust me, less than satisfying when I wanted Black Jack cherry Ice cream topped with a big thick dousing of fudge sauce. I watched mindless tv – Top Gear; How they Make That; Pawn Stars – sighing occasionally at my failure.
Once upon a time in a career far away I received a performance award for my organizationa skillls and teaching the new hires a “better way” to do their job efficiently. I wondered where that skill went. After resolving that the rice cakes just weren’t cutting it and I wasn’t going to give in to the desires for decadent rich desserts; I forced myself to reengage and face my problems. What was the solution?
You know, we can stare at our problems till we are blue in the face but until we decide to look for a solution, nothing will ever change. Entrepeneurs look for solutions. Witty inventions are made by looking for a solution. Surely a solution could be found for my dilemma.
It was at that point that I switched from catch up to mayo.
I may cut myself some slack for getting ill and not being able to manage things for a bit. It’s ok, things will get caught up eventually.
I may slack off occasionally for some much needed rest. In my original schedule I only scheduled 5 hours a night for sleep. I need more than that. I can be a grouchy bear without my sleep and it’s not productive.
I may in fact alow myself to be human. Shocking I know.
I may be able to deal with everything much better now that I’m not doped up on prescriptions.
What about you? Are you using catchup or mayo?
Write on my friends, write on!