Managing Time and Swallowing Frogs

Overplanning Activities
Overplanning Activities

There are days when I fall prey to my own consultancy speak. There are days when I believe that change is a finite process which can be managed, that time is a resource which can be planned down to the last details, that all that is required to make me a writer is more discipline.

So I scrabble and scramble, over-schedule, try to fit it all in and end up feeling very foolish and guilty, no matter how much I accomplish.

On Monday I had ten items on my To Do list. I only managed to complete 3 of them. I was very downhearted, of course, on Monday evening and resolved to do better. On Tuesday I had crossed off 9 out of the 10 items (plus a few minor ones that had cropped up in the meantime). Did I feel triumphant? Did I celebrate? No, I just started worrying about the next batch of ‘Must Dos’, about all the unformed unpronounceables threatening me with their ghostly presence.

One thing that is becoming obvious to me is that there are two categories of ‘difficult’, even though the fear of them may start out in a very similar fashion. Darkness in the morning, reluctance to get up, odd little procrastinating rituals to get started (reading your blogs with a cup of coffee in my hand is the main highlight of my day!). But then…

DSCN6616Category 1 Difficult (as in Writing is hard…)

Once the muscles are flexed, once the first half hour has passed, the love of words and ideas takes over. I pace about, mutter, write some more, get a bit distracted with research, get into the flow… and I am the happiest person on earth when I go to bed, no matter how much I have written. Such a privilege to spend the whole day thinking about writing!

Category 2 Difficult (as in I’d rather be writing…)

To use a bit more consultancy speak – it really is like swallowing frogs. I keep on dreading it, putting it off, doing it sloppily or half-heartedly until the deadlines are looming. And after a day of work? I am just tired and dissatisfied. What is worse, I don’t know what would make me feel I’d accomplished something in this field.

So, have you ever felt like that: Dissatisfaction, no matter how many results and rewards you get… and complete bliss when doing something else, without having very much to show for it?


6 thoughts on “Managing Time and Swallowing Frogs”

  1. HA! I eat a lot of frogs. I always do that first of all. (I swear I have no French ancestors, at least not that I know of). But I do know what you mean about the dissatisfaction. I get a lot of that, and I have started to manage it better. For one, I reduced my to do lists. I have two priorities every day, no more. If they get done, I allow myself to be happy and NOT fret about the rest. Because, at the end of the day, the rest doesn’t matter.

    The one thing I’ve learned about writing and promoting is that it just expands and expands, to the point where no matter how much you do of either, it never seems enough. That, or so I told myself, is both crazy and unhealthy. So, end of unmanageable expectations of self, and enter the two-priorities-and-I-rock model.

    Good luck, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You A type you. Can you remember what Muppet you were? I can’t, but I bet I was Fozzie Bear, LOL!

  2. Yes, I put too much on my lists! It always makes me happy when I cross another item off and find myself adding items that were not originally on the list but got done anyway just so I can see another crossed off. I must start making my writing time a priority though if I ever want to finish the sequel to ‘Crossing The Line’.
    Thanks for the “likes” on my blog posts!

    1. I like crossing things off as well – there is a real pleasure in the physical act of doing that, isn’t there? But yes, prioritising what is really important to you (even if no one else sees it quite like that) is the challenge…

  3. Marina Sofia – You are by no means the only one. Sometimes writing is like that and sometimes other chores are enervating like that too. And bliss can come in the most unexpected ways.

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