On my birthday, I re-evaluated my goals for 2016. Some stayed the same. Some I revamped. Some I condensed. Some I expanded. Yet, the goal in goal-setting is to accomplish as much as possible in a 24-hour period to maintain well-being.
For a writer, writing is at the forefront of creating well-being. Whatever I am hoping to accomplish during the day, some amount of writing and reading must take place. Yet, how do I find the time while home educating two high schoolers, doing the laundry, driving the boys to activities, and making sure the cupboard isn't bare?
The Best of Times and the Worst of Times
Morning is usually when I get most of these critical endeavors completed. In general, they are the quiet hours. My husband and boys are still sleeping. It's too early to start chores or make contact with the outside world.
I say"in general" because I don't wake up to an alarm. I wake up to the not-so-subtle whine of my Labrador Retriever puppy. At some point, he will grow out of this habit--we can only hope--but for now his 4:30 am wake-up call gives me at least three hours of personal time.
My worst time of day is between 3:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon. That's when I don't bother doing anything mental. I rest or shuttle the kids. I might scan social media. I definitely drink a cup of coffee.
I also don't write after 9:00 pm. Nothing coherent comes to mind at that point. This is also the time I have set aside to spend with my husband. He is the night owl, and this lark does her best to stay awake during our favorite TV shows.
So what happens when the puppy does grow out of his early morning routine? Well, then it is up to me to keep this time as I would an appointment. I had to do the same thing when my boys outgrew nap time. Keeping time is a constant juggle, but it is well worth the effort.
There are certain activities I have wired into my day at a certain time of the day. Devotions is first. I need spiritual inspiration before I can expect writing inspiration. Then, I formulate at least one post for one of my blogs (I try to maintain three). I scroll through Facebook Pages looking for quotations or inspiration to share on my Author Page or on Following Doc's Shadow. Once these are done, I work on current my writing projects.
I have loosely set appointments throughout the week depending on the day as well. Wednesday is a writing project day when I have lots of waiting time at the boys' activities. Every other Thursday I have a hired cleaning crew, which frees up the time I would normally spend on vacuuming. Friday we have less school work and is another time when I can focus on creative well-being. On the other days, I sneak away in the afternoon to a local coffee shop for an hour or two.
I often find my reading family and friends at the coffee shops. I am in two monthly book clubs at the moment. I get to discuss great books with great people. Reading stimulates my writing. Coffee stimulates good conversation. It's a win-win.
Speaking of coffee, I have a few personal rewards I treat myself to on a regular basis. Coffee is one of them. Now I know too much of a good thing is not a good thing. So, rewards must always be done in moderation. I do find that if I head to the coffee shop I am more motivated to write (mental), to socialize (emotional), to get moving (physical), and to reflect (spiritual).
But, that makes me think of another set of goals, which is better discussed in a future post. Until then...