Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday's Across the Fence

My visit to the back fence will be short today. This month has flown by is a flurry of busy days replacing dying computers. Whoever said retirement would bee filled with lazy days in the sun was definitely not from this planet!

With an entire day with no appointments on the calendar, and a book deadline staring me in the face, I need to spend the day writing. I know I’ll never make up for lost time, just like I never can make up for lost sleep, but the luxury of a whole day for writing is something I’m going to grab.

Do you ever find yourself in tight spots with not enough time to do what needs doing? How do you cope? Do you have routines you follow to get you back on track?

I read an interesting blog the other day about routines and how we start our work day. The article made me think seriously about the way I begin my day. It also made me wonder if I need to make some changes that would work better for me as a writer.

Usually, if there are no appointments on my calendar for the day (remember, senior citizens take longer to get ready for doctor appointments and such) I make my coffee, then boot up the computer to check email and social media sites, like blogs and Facebook. Answering emails at four or five in the morning probably isn’t imperative, is it?

Since I’m normally an early riser, I tend to take my time, have another cup of coffee and finally get around to working on my WIP. Somewhere in the day, I answer phone calls, cook meals, grocery shop…all the things I did when I held a full time job with ten hour days. HELLO! A full time job with ten hour days! And everything got done, too. I’m definitely doing something wrong here, folks.

Having no time clock to punch shouldn’t be an excuse to waste precious time. Neither should getting older or being retired. Trust me, I’ve used all of the above, and a few I’ve forgotten.

Though I’m retired now, I still have a job. Granted, it’s by my own choice, but nevertheless, I’m responsible for getting it done. I still have the same number of hours in each day. I admit I’ve had a few more birthdays since I retired, but in reality, I believe it’s just a matter of prioritizing.

If I know I need more time to get started every morning, then I need to do the important stuff FIRST. I don’t need to spend hours on social media first, if that’s what’s eating up my writing time. If putting dinner in the crock pot first while I make the coffee will give me extra writing hours later, that should be a priority. Planning ahead should be a given. I did it all the time when I had to leave the house at 5:15 every morning. These days, I don’t even have to get dressed. (Well, you know what I mean.)

Am I the only one with this sort of problem? If you’d like to share with readers how you start your day, and why, I’d love to have you leave a comment. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re retired. I’ll take all the help I can get.

Here’s my bit of wisdom for today:

Remember, life is simpler when you plow around the stump.



  1. Loralee, I empathize. I, too, remember how much I used to get done. Like you, I'm up early and start my morning with a cup of coffee. During the quiet hour(s) when hubby is still asleep, I get right into my WIP. I save social media, email, and solitaire for when he's up. It's so much easier to write when the house is quiet. Even though there's only two of us now and he's very self-sufficient, once he's up and moving around I lose my concentration. I like your mention of the crockpot. I really need to find mine. Retirement (from the paying job, anyway) is an adjustment. A different way of approaching life. As always, I enjoyed your observations.

  2. Cut the Social Media time down to until that first cup of coffee is finished . . . You need that in your system anyway before you can write a coherent creative sentence. Then get back work. Take a break later in the morning to check back in at FB if you must, or better yet, wait until lunch time. Note to self: Start doing the above!

  3. Diane, I still intend to keep my first cup of coffee and quiet time, but am going to start leaving the social media stuff to do when hubby's up around. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Nancy, great suggestion to make my break/lunch time the social media time. I can put myself on the clock then, since I always take an hour for lunch, just like a "real" job.
    I'm loving these suggestions.

  5. I have the same problem you do, Tex, and I have NO suggestions! I AM going to employ some of yours, Diane's and Nancy's, though. I seem to work late into the night, and then get up later and later, I feel as though I should be finished before I even start. I have to make better plans!

  6. Can't I just kick that stump a few times before I plow around it?

    Times DOES race by. You are so correct, Loralee. Setting up priorities helps get more done. So much to do and deciding which things are important enough to spend those valuable days on.

    Thanks for the books you've given the priority to create. All the best, Annette

  7. Patrish, I tried staying up late to work because it's so nice and quiet but I kept falling asleep. Guess I'll have to get my quiet time in the morning. I wake up very early anyway.

  8. Annette, unless you wear steel-toed boots, you're gonna get a sore toe if you kick the stump. Just plow around it and get 'er done!
    Thanks for the kind words about my books. Sooo glad you liked them. There are more in the works.

  9. Okay ladies, I needed this kick in the rear to change my ways. No more fb and twitter until evening...I hope I can stick to that. lol

    I tend to write my best in the morning, but lately find myself checking all the social sites first then writing, killing sometimes 2 hours before I realize it. UGH! I just need to refocus and rework my schedule :)

    Fingers crossed it works for

  10. Wonderful post, Loralee!! I am definitely a routine kind of person. I don't get bored with routines, I get comfortable. I get up the same time every morning and while the kids are getting ready for school (teenagers so I don't have to help anymore) I check email/twitter/blogs, pay bills, clean the house. Then I take my daughter to school, come home and I'm in my office until I have to pick my daughter up for school. That is my writing time which rotates around appointments. After 3:00 it's family time, dinner, homework, watch our favorite show together, and sporting events if there are any. Weekends are busier and I don't follow this routine, but during the week it's mine!

  11. Christine, your mornings sound a lot like mine. I love the quiet at that time of day, and tend to be too much of a dawdler just easing into the day. I needed a kick in the rear, too. And I'm using the suggestions from Diane and Nancy to try an change my habits. This morning I was up very early (3:30. Spent one hour waking up with my coffee in hand, then wrote from 4:30 until 7:00, when my 2 yr.old great-grandaugher arrived for the day. How fortunate I'd written seven pretty good pages before my attention was taken hostage by a sweetie with big, brown eyes who loves to talk - constantly. I'm going to try the same routine again tomorrow. Let me know if you try it, and if it works for you.

  12. Jennifer, I want your mornings! How do you do it all before you take our daughter to school? It's wonderful you have your schedule planned so that
    you can spend quality time with your family, too.
    Way to go!