I’ve come to realize these last two weeks that “time management” simply means “making it work.”
My mother arrived for a three-week visit on the 13th of the month. She’s 74 years old, diabetic, and on dialysis. Because the Canadian health care system (where I live) will not accept her American health insurance, I must drive her 60 miles (120 miles round trip) to the dialysis clinic three times a week. Each dialysis appointment takes around 5 hours from start to finish.
In a three week visit that’s approximately 72 hours that I’m away from home, which means away from my desk and my two jobs.
On top of that, the first week she’s here, I come down with the sinus infection from hell. And don’t forget that even when I am home, I’m distracted from work (since my desk sits in the living room) by visiting with my mom, playing cards and Scrabble with the family, cooking meals, etc… This is the first time since my mother started dialysis two and a half years ago that she’s taken a vacation, so I want to make it really great for her.
Basically, my entire system of the way I work is tipped on its side, and I start to panic.
I’m the type of person who wakes up each morning, and before I even really open my eyes, outline my day. I figure out exactly what I have to do for work, and usually what I’m making for supper, along with if it’s a gym day, grocery day, or whatever. Before my feet hit the floor, I know exactly what the day will hold, and I really don’t like going off course very far. It keeps me sane.
I have learned, though, that I can get a lot of work done in a four-hour period when I’m desperate enough. I’d spent the first three dialysis days searching for a place to work. The coffee shops near the clinic weren’t conducive to working. The chairs were uncomfortable, the wi-fi wasn’t strong enough, they acted as if they didn’t want someone nursing a single giant coffee for four hours. I even tried working in my truck, which led to me falling asleep…didn’t get much work done there.
But then, on the fourth day, I wandered into the hospital cafeteria for a soda, thinking I’d take it back to my truck and try to get some editing done, and I found my perfect space.
I mean, it was so amazing I wouldn’t mind going there just to get away. They have very strong free wi-fi, a beautiful salad bar, excellent coffee, fountain soda, and the food, though I haven’t tried much, smells wonderful. They have the most beautiful restaurant type setting with big windows that let in the daylight, awesome chairs and tables, and no one gives you a weird look if you sit there for four to four and a half hours reading manuscript pages or staring at the laptop while grazing on a salad and sipping a big ‘ol coffee.
I wish I had this place near my home! I’d love to go there and hang out to work away from the family. I got more work done in four hours than I do in eight at home. Concentrated working, with no distractions.
Time management! I got it!!! *grin*
I always thought my time management was my routine, my daily schedule. Now I know it’s simply making the best of the situation, and finding that space to work. I also came to remember when my daughter was very young, and I had three hours when she napped each afternoon—yes, I was very lucky she took long naps—to work. I got a full day of writing done in those three hours.
Maybe it’s time for me to rethink my daily scheduling. It would seem I work really well when I’m desperate to work, not when I have the time or ability to plan my whole day. I’m not saying I’ll give up all of my schedules, they do keep me sane for the most part. But I have to say I truly enjoy the solid blocks of working that I’ve been able to grab onto in desperation, when I can concentrate only on what’s in front of me.
I can also say that when I hear a writer say they just can’t find the time to write… They’re not desperate enough!