Sunday, 2 May 2010

What I need is a Lifestyle Guru

How does anyone manage to work from home and stay motivated with no boss looking over their shoulder? I can do it for a short time but it only takes one week of distractions for the routine to fall apart. Friends and family tell me I’m being too hard on myself. They say that I can expect to fall behind a little especially as I have a husband who’s recovering from his latest whack of chemotherapy, a brand new grandson, a housebound mother and Josh-the-dog (who at the moment has a bucket on his head because of a fox bite that just won’t heal!). Nevertheless I decided to sign up to a couple of online self-help workshops.

And

For the Creativity Workshop I’ve been asked to list out my issues and post them on this blog. [You see, I always do as I’m told, Merrilee!] But while I was listing them out I decided that they’re not just relevant to my writing. They’re relevant to my life and I’m curious to know if that’s the same for both writers and non-writers, and especially those who are trying to work from home. So here are my issues:

  • Seeing projects through to the end: I have files bulging with half-finished stories, a bag that’s over-flowing with half-finished knitting, a dress that’s needed the bottom turning up since 1999 and still has the price tag attached... I could go on but I’m sure you’ve got the drift.

  • Not flitting from one task to another: This is closely related to the above issue. Since starting to write this post I’ve bathed the dog’s wound, tried to clean a pen mark off my beige leather bag (I love that bag - any suggestions anyone?), written my Day 2 Picture Book Story for Paula’s NaPiBoWriWee, loaded and run the dishwasher, washed the sheets and consumed coffee with a large piece of treacle tart.

  • Not being distracted by the family and home: In other words, I need to discover how to successfully work from home and be a caring wife, daughter, mother and dog owner. Tough huh!

If anyone can give me solutions to the above issues I have to say I’ll be amazed, grateful but amazed!


26 comments:

  1. The best solution I can offer is targets. So many words or hours a week depending on the project. A final deadline.If you make the targets achievable then it works like a dream.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Keren. All I have to decide then is which of my projects I'm setting the targets for.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am a flitter! I flit sometimes like a chicken with its head cut off.

    What I do is set specific times for specific tasks. From 10 to 11, blogging. From 11 to 12, writing a press release, etc. If I have a schedule in front of me, I tend to flit less. It's hard, though!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must say, Talli, for a 'flitter' you do seem to get a lot done. Thanks for your advice.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rosalind, I so feel your pain. I am struggling a bit lately with my normal productivity because my husband is now in the final push for his ph.D. and I feel like if I don't do it around the house, it won't get done -- and I cannot function in chaos.

    However, I've had a freelance career now for about five years, and I can tell you the only way to self-motivate, for me, is to set firm schedules and be honest with myself.
    To get started decide on *one* area you want to be a regular part of your day and set a kitchen timer to make sure you're doing it as proscribed. You'll feel a great sense of accomplishment when the bell sounds and it'll be a new habit in no time. :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Meredith and thanks. It's certainly all about finding a chunk of time each day when others e.g. my Mum (sorry Mum) won't be calling on me. I'm considering setting the alarm v. early each morning and writing until breakfast time. It's worth a try.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Rosalind... I have found what works best for me is to be very flexible and be ready to grab whatever chunks of time/peace & quiet that arise to write. I do try to keep mornings free from distractions - but that doesnt always work... and in order to write well you have to live!! Well that's my excuse anyway!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I flit and the distractions can be monumental in my house!! I'm pretty good at seeing projects through because I hate giving up - I'm just stubborn :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. 90% of the time I jump from one thing to another and that can be without moving physically - i.e. writing article / checking emails / thinking of blog ideas / pay bills online etc.
    When I'm really in a bind e.g. deadline tomorrow / 15 people for Friday night meal / overflowing laundry and ironing basket, I turn to my last resort - lists.
    I list everything that needs doing ( including every item I'll need to cook)rewrite list in order of urgency and just 'do it'.
    But when that mini-crisis is over I resort to my old bad habits again. I can't keep it up for long.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's the same for most of us. I'm always flitting from one thing to the next, but I usually get there in the end. Amid much hair-pulling and tears!

    PS. I've left a little something for you in my blog :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm with Keren - goals, lots of them, and keep them small and manageable. I don't even want to think about my unfinished knitting.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very broad issues there, Rosalind! But we need to look at some specific writing topics. Are there any areas of your writing where you feel you are boxed in? Are there any concepts/ideas/places you would like to explore, that you haven't attempted before?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good to meet you Rosalind - I would say fix realistic goals. Don't put too much pressure on yourself either. Small steps and enjoy the sense of achievement, however small. See you soon!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks everyone and there's a general agreement that flitting is an inevitable part of writing at home.

    Barbara - I used to write in the mornings until Mr.A retired!!

    Jemi - I guess I'm stubborn too or I wound't still be here.

    Ann - I use lists a lot too and it's so satifying to cross things off (in fact responding to all your lovely comments was an item on my list so I can cross something off very soon.)

    Wendy - Thank you so much for my lovely Silver Lining Award. I will pass it and my award from the lovely Jemi on very soon.

    Anna - Welcome and I'm not thinking about my knitting either!

    Merrilee - Thanks for your feedback. I will spend some time this week being more specific but any areas I address for the Creativity Workshop need to be seen within the context of the above overriding and overwhelming issues. I'm afraid that this is where I am at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rosalind, concerning short story writing, your first two are my main issues too. I don't have this trouble with novels at all, but I'd really like to establish some writing credits with shorts and that's not going to happen at this rate. Good luck to us both on getting focused and disciplined enough to see it through to the end.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Linda. It would seem that not seeing projects through and flitting are widespread among writers. At least it's not just us!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good to meet you Rosalind, and I could easily have written the same post! There is this little man on my shoulder saying -of course you dont have time to sign up for this right now. What you need to do is organise what you have already started! :) I am on the same journey as you!
    Oh Oh Oh I just heard that you can use tea tree oil to get rid of pen on leather handbags. there is the lovely lady that comes on the radio every afternoon as I drive home from work and tells you how to get rid of stains!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Rosalind! I can relate to the distractions from home. I was typing and my dog jammed her nose into my armpit and lifted my whole arm up with her head! She does this when I am playing piano too. Its very cute, but annoying (and she only does this when she wants something).

    ReplyDelete
  19. I can certainly relate! I need a balance between scheduling to make sure everything gets done and still be flexible enough to take things as they come. Some days (less that I would like) are better than others.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm lucky to have time/house to myself some of the time, although self-discipline is still a problem. I find having more than one writing project is almost de rigeur. If I have only one and it falters, I have nowhere else to go. With something on back burner - even if it's 'only the blog', I can persaude myself I can still write!
    AliB
    http://debutnovelist.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Gillian, thanks for the visit and the advice. I've just been out and bought some Tea Tree Oil so here's hoping my favourite bag can be resurrected.

    I used to have a cat who distracted me, kwu. She would walk over my laptop and play the piano with me. Not sure which of us made a worse noise!

    Hi Aurora, yes it's strange how some days just work and others make you feel as if you're crawling through treacle.

    I agree with you, Ali, about having more than one writing project on the go at a time and if one of them happens to be the latest blog posting... well that's writing too!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Ros.....Yes it's so relevant to non writers too. Solutions - well I use lists, lists more lists and lists reminding me about lists!!!! I also find a sense of humour helps - laughter is such a good calming cure. My old favourite and one I often remind myself and friends is "don't forget to smell the roses"........ time out to stop, refresh and sample 'food for the soul', Oh and Treacle Tart sounds pretty good too. I truly feel you do wonderfully well anyway and send you a "Huge Gold Star". Love reading your blog - makes me stop and use my little 'grey cells'.
    Rifka M.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Rifka, yes lists are invaluable but they work well only when I'm in tip-top form. On a bad day they are ignored. Thanks for the Gold Star and I'm so pleased that you're enjoying my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Staying motivated when you have all day has turned out to be one of the hardest things for me to do. I love to write and spend several hours a day doing it, but I end up distracted, scattered, and never finishing a project. Now that spring has arrived, forget it. Roses and vegetables put words in the backseat. Maybe we can figure this thing out together.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I, too, identify with your third goal. I'm not a mother, but I've got other gigs going on, so focus can be a hard one.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I don't have the opportunity to do that as of right now though I know that I would most likely be lost and bored so I would need to make sure to stay focused so I need to pay attention and take notes so that when my time comes around I have a structure in place!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for commenting. I do love receiving comments. Your comment will be sent to me for moderation before appearing here.

If you do not have a Google account, click on the Google account box and select Anonymous. Spam comments are not accepted on this blog.