Nanit - The Baby Monitor That Thinks

Fitting Book Writing into the Schedule Efficiently

I'm pretty sure I told you that I'd be getting back with you once I got my fall schedule together. I guess -- better late than never. Hee hee! Actually, since we're very close to the first day of winter, I'll just call this my "Schedule for the Foreseeable Future". I've been using that term "foreseeable future" a lot lately and I'm not entirely sure why (maybe it's because we're so close to 2021).

Anyway, after months of no consistent method for how my days seem to run, I thought I'd better kick myself into efficiency mode and get myself schedule-ready. Reason being: well, it's time. Furthermore, I need to fit book writing into my weekly list of to-dos, since I have a goal of writing some beneficial mini books for parents and their school-aged children. And let's just say that it's been a hot minute since I last engaged in any book writing activities. Really, reality of all the work involved in the book writing process (not the overwhelming motivation to be organized) is the impetus that has set my new schedule into full blown motion.

Adding book writing on to my already saturated schedule made me realize that I had to put some consistent hourly and block scheduling strategies into gear and quickly. If I want to get my book writing in with everything else that I do in a day or week, I have to be TIGHT (as in having it all together) with the execution of my schedule.

Now, I must admit that some of the strain in household duties is easing up a bit, because my husband and my children are now schooling and/or working from home. And it's SWEEEEET! First and foremost, I'm truly thankful that my loved ones are home for health and safety reasons; but the welcomed residual side effect of them being home is HELP for little ol' MEEEEE. Whoo hoo! More help with chores around the house equates to more time to write.

So, getting back to the schedule . . . here's what a day in my life looks like.

7a - Time to wake up.

7a – 8a – Independent Bible studying (my personal devotionals)

8a – 9a – Breakfast and getting Little Man prepared for online school

9a – 11a – Early morning content creation and activities where I need full strength brain power (brainstorming ideas, writing, researching, course work, etc.)

11a – 12p –Walking or indoor exercising during this timeframe (30 min. to an hour workout – any extra remaining time devoted to clean-up activities)

12p – 5p – Lunch, household chores, running errands and performing household chores for elderly family members (outside of my immediate household), cooking lunch and dinner, etc.

5p – 8:30p – Downtime/Winding down time (dinner, family Bible study, TV/YouTube, reading, etc.)

8:30p – 9p – Getting Little Man ready for bed (pray with him, go over what happened at school for the day, brief and easy scripture recitations or math/spelling word drills, read together)

9p – 11p – Late night content creation activities (finish up content creation tasks from morning if necessary, check emails and work through them, respond to blog comments, read other bloggers’ posts, pin to Pinterest, tweet to Twitter, etc.)

11p – Time for bed (or in bed by midnight at the latest) 

There you go. You just witnessed my Monday through Friday "Schedule for the Foreseeable Future" in all it's glory. Simple and to the point for my particular purposes. And, it's doable. I made sure it was doable, because I have no intention of failing at it. As a matter of fact, if you're in the quagmire of schedule messiness and need to somehow dig your way out, it won't do you any good to set unrealistic scheduling goals for yourself. Start with realistic and then stretch those scheduling goals once you get the initial goals in working order.

Now, I've only been on this schedule for about a week now. (Told you I fooled around and let the Fall months pass me by before getting myself together.) So, we're in the last month of 2020 and I'm finally trying my hand at this whole Fall schedule thing.

As of today, I've been on the schedule for almost a full week (Monday through Friday) with the exception of Friday (which is today and which I'm at the start of as I publish this post). But let me just say that this week has been somewhat of a dud on the efficiency front. And, I expected that. It'll take several weeks before my daily schedule will be fluid enough to call my "routine". And even with the inability to successfully carry out my Fall schedule this week, I still managed to get some noteworthy writing done. Go figure. So at a minimum, I can at least check daily writing off of my to-do list. 

After all, the whole purpose of a schedule is to GET WORK DONE while keeping your whole well-being comfortably in tact and working optimally. It's a tall order, but doable. And, it helps when you have others assisting you with getting those daily and weekly tasks in check. Again, I LOVE having everyone at home. And even though items on the to-do list might not get done in the nearly flawless way in which I handle them (JUST KIDDING), I've learned to lower my expectations a little and let others do what they can to help out. In my opinion, "imperfect" help is better than no help at all. And, that's real talk. 

Hubby's even getting a pass on some things. I did tell him, though, that he still has to thoroughly remove the food off the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to run, because the dishwasher doesn't remove all hard and caked-on food particles from the dishes. I also told him that he's slightly messing up my dishes organization in the kitchen drawers and cupboards when putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. Sometimes, I can't find things as quickly as I'm used to, because they're not where I normally put them. But his help is golden. And I told him I'll be giving him a dishes training soon, because I might as well teach him my method of dishwashing madness. It's worked pretty well thus far.

Getting back to the schedule again . . .

Schedule 2

I want to share some helpful scheduling strategy tips that I'm implementing with my new schedule. Hopefully, you will apply them to your schedules as well and reap the benefits. One of the strategies is arranging my schedule so that I batch similar types of activities together for more efficiency of flow of mindset and body. And, I've listed a few more of those strategies for you (below) . . .  

  1. Start your day off slowly to allow yourself time to wake up naturally, not abruptly. Do the relaxing things first (Bible reading, devotion, meditation, etc.). For me, working out will not be early, early morning (too early and cold to exercise and more willing to do it late in the morning or early afternoon). I also find that I need more time for Bible studying in the morning and such an activity is the best way to get the day started. I don’t want to be rushed with this activity and I feel the need to spend time in deep study mode (not just surface reading with no understanding).
  2. Do your more mentally- and physically-challenging tasks in the morning and afternoon when you have more energy. For example, I used to have exercising first thing in the morning, but I moved it to right around lunch time where I'm going to be doing most of my more physically-involved activities. I call this move an example of "batching activities" to work in your favor. Plus, I'll be more energetic and more willing to complete a workout at this time than when I first wake up in the morning (the timeframe when I'm still trying to shake off my fogginess and grogginess). And by the way, I'm not a true morning person, so I'm not going to pretend that I like to exercise early morning when I just simply don't.
  3. Wind down from the late afternoon through evening hours. You shouldn't do the more mentally- and physically-challenging tasks during this timeframe (if you can help it). This period of time should be predominantly used as family time, getting into relaxation mode (after a full day's work) and for preparing yourself for bedtime.
  4. Be prepared to have your schedule change in the blink of an eye because interruptions will happen more often than not. Just plan on getting back on schedule as soon as you can and where you can in the course of your day. With interruptions, some daily tasks may have to be reshuffled or not done at all, depending on the circumstance. But work your schedule as best you can and strive to be as consistent with it as you can. You'll eventually notice how quickly your new schedule will become a part of your natural daily/weekly routine.
  5. Account for regular oddities in the daily routine and plan for them in your schedule. For example, my Thursdays will be spent grocery shopping for my immediate household and running errands and performing household chores for my parents. I've already set this day aside for that, so I don't plan on performing the regular daily routine on Thursdays. And, I do a big meal prep on Fridays, so I don't adhere to the schedule on Fridays either. On Thursdays and Fridays, I fit the schedule in where I can get it in.
  6. Use a daily planner to list out the top detailed tasks for each day. This tactic supplies a helpful way to stay on track with your daily to-do list. I'll have my schedule for the week (noted above) as a guide for what to do each day, but the schedule is very general and some tasks will need to be spelled out specifically for each day. I don't want to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to completing my to-dos or they'll never get done. So, it'll be necessary to note my top 3 creative content tasks and top 2 household tasks for each day in order to stay on track and work toward achieving overall content creation and household goals. And, I'll be using a physical planner to list my top 5 activities to complete for each day. (One of the most rewarding activities is checking off a task "as completed" on my planner's daily to-do list.)

So, there you have it -- my new schedule and scheduling tips in a nutshell. The purpose of this post is to follow up with you on what my days will look like now that I've restarted my book writing journey. I'm planning on using the momentum of efficiency in routine daily living to get a lot done now and into 2021 (especially with my book writing). We'll, see how it goes. The proof is in the pudding.

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