Time Management? What Time Management?

Jonathon Sherwood recently posted a question on his blog. This is my response:

Juggling the time to write with the time for kids or work is one of the most difficult tasks I have to perform.

Some have told me I should have no problem juggling my time, since I am a stay-at-home dad. Personally I find that my personal/writing time is scarcer than it ever was. I’ve actually written a bit about this in my blog recently.

What happens is that the stress really starts to pile up. I look at my WIP and the kids start clamouring for attention. I play with the kids and the WIP languishes at the wayside. By the time I sit down and start writing, it’s mostly bad (okay, so it’s still first draft).

I tend to be an organized ‘by the clock’ kind of guy. I had my days scheduled to play with the kids in the mornings, while doing housework. In the afternoons, monitor the kids play and write write write. Hey, it actually worked for a month or two, until the pressure built too high.

My decision in the end is closely related to my ‘by the clock’ method I described above. The main difference is my attitude. I have decided to prioritize my work, and be much more relaxed about the whole process:

1. kids
2. writing
3. housework
4. others

A short and simple list. If I am working on item 3, I allow items 1 and 2 to interrupt at any time. If I am working on item 1, nothing is allowed to interrupt.

Do I get any writing done? Surprisingly yes. In fact, I get more time than when I stressed over it.

Is my house clean? Sure. Not as clean as before, but it’s still good.

I told my wife about my priorities, especially that the house may not be as clean as normal, and she was all for it. I’m more relaxed, the kids are happier, and the world continues to spin.

I’m still writing mostly bad, but that’s a different issue entirely! 🙂

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