I think a lot about deadlines, and how they force us to prioritize how we structure our time.
For example, after I moved into my new place the good folks over at Comcast saw fit to send me a bill with a July 27th due date:
Also, six pages? Really?
There was nothing wrong with this per se, aside from Comcast sending it a week after the July 2nd billing date so neatly printed in the corner, which means that by the time the bill got to me and I finally opened it, I had about a week and a half left before it was due. Simple, right?
So back in March I wrote about how checking my e-mail too often was getting in the way of my productivity, both by sucking WAY too much time away from other things and by causing a loss of focus that pulled me away from where I was, kind of like Shelly Duvall does to Jack Nicholson in this scene from The Shining.
Losing my focus led to EVEN MORE time lost because losing my focus made my mind cloudier, which not only made it more difficult to work, but also made that same amount of work take longer. (There’s some other stuff in the post too, but that’s the basic gist.)
For those of you who missed last’s week’s Life Update, I totally got a new Day Job to replace my old Secret Work-From-Home one, so what follows will make way more sense if you check that out first. (TLDR Version: My new job’s in an office doing a writing/editing-type activity, the conditions make it ideal for keeping up with my novel, this blog, and other creative projects, and to lessen my commute I moved to a new apartment a mere 3.6 miles from the new job.)
Now that we’re all on the same page, some of you might be wondering Continue reading
The title says it all: I needed a change, and a new Day Job is helping to make that happen.
In sticking with my philosophy on keeping your Day Job a secret online, I won’t tell you much about my new way of keeping the bills paid here. Here’s a few things I will say about it, though: Continue reading
Thinking about how you’re going to spend your creative time before you start working has felt so obvious to me for such a long time that I never even thought to write about it. That all changed when I was emailing with a programmer friend of mine who’s got a lot on his plate life-wise, and he wanted to share a new method he’s been trying to make better use of his time:
I’m thinking it might be better to work in 30 minute chunks on code projects because that might be all I can handle right now. It doesn’t seem like enough time to really do anything but it works a lot better if I Continue reading
My name is Ian, and I’m addicted to reading news on the internet.
Every so often I step back and try to identify the bad habit or activity that’s sucking up the largest portion of my time. Past culprits have included:
So this week’s topic might seem obvious, but it’s also so important that I can’t possibly let this blog go any longer without talking about it. That’s because I’ve found that sorting creative time into the right place on your schedule can make all the difference between fist-clenching frustration and sweet sweet productivity.
Here’s a few things to consider when thinking about your ideal creative work schedule:
No joke—last week I worked 65 hours, dealt with a nasty flat tire on my trusty Volvo, and still managed to see the New Pornographers concert that I’d been looking forward to for months.
How did all this happen, you ask? And furthermore, why did I submit myself to such an exhausting schedule??? Continue reading
I met James Crews at the University of Nebraska where he worked as a mentor for my first-year teaching class while finishing his poetry PhD. We kept in touch, and when we both found ourselves in the northeast I drove out to southern Vermont to the farmhouse he shares with his partner in Shaftsbury (which, coincidentally, is just up the road from Bennington College, where I did my undergrad). Continue reading
Jack Hill is hands-down one of the most productive people I’ve ever met and a Day Job veteran who’s worked a bigger variety of jobs than even I have. The two of us spent a lot of time in grad school trying to make sense of how the writing life worked in the 21st century. Check out his website or follow him on Twitter @xjackhill. Continue reading
I used to check my e-mail once, sometimes twice a day, usually after work or at the very end of the night. (I know this is starting out all lame and nostalgic, but bear with me….) I’d respond to anything that was important, then wait a few days for things that weren’t. My back and forth conversations were usually separated by a day or longer, Continue reading
So this is the end of my three-part series spelling out my entire work history. In Part 1 I covered my early years learning about work, and in Part 2 I moved on to post-college struggles to both scrounge up some money and get out of New Hampshire. Continue reading