change, goal, project, time, writing

"Schedule" is not a dirty word

When I was in college, I scheduled literally every minute of my day. Dinner had to be put on the schedule if it was to be eaten. Even breaks were written in my daily planner. As I got older, such detailed schedules began to feel restrictive, and I opted instead for prioritized to-do lists. I’ve now gotten to a place in terms of life goals where I feel it may be necessary to reintroduce the schedule (insert scary music).
In recent years, I’ve been collecting writing goals as various ideas have flitted in and out of my head:
  • blog (at least I can check off one of these)
  • publish a scholarly article
  • write a story/novel

Note that my last goal is not a “publish” one. While I would LOVE that and gratefully accept such good fortune, I know that statistics are not in my favor. The reward for me, in any case, is telling an engaging story through the written word. So that is my end goal. It’s a goal that I’ve been working toward off and on (more off than on and thus the reason for this post) for the past few months.

In my previous position at my job, I had extremely flexible hours, giving me an ideal schedule for fitting in personal writing. The “problem” was that I was a full-time writer, and at the end of the day, even though the writing was academic, the last thing I wanted to do was write more. In my current position, I now develop and manage more than I write, but my schedule is no longer flexible. So how to fit in personal writing time, especially without sacrificing my “me time” (e.g., scrapbooking)?
As much as I hate waking up early, I’ve come to realize that there currently is a lot of wasted time before I have to be “at” work (9:00). And even when I do get up early, the time is usually wasted on email and Facebook. So I’m putting a new plan into action. After waking myself up with a quick exercise routine (something else that should be part of my daily life), I am going to turn the Internet off (repeat: no email, no Facebook, no blogginess… these things can wait until my lunch break or after work) and give myself two solid hours of personal writing time.

It is possible to work full time and fulfill your personal dreams (something I spent years denying to give myself a lousy excuse for not accomplishing my goals); it just takes a little planning.

5 thoughts on “"Schedule" is not a dirty word”

  1. Great post Cheryl! The internet really does have a way of sucking so much time out of your day! Precious time that can be spent accomplishing your goals or with family! Congrats to you, I know you will do well!


  2. Wow! Let me know how it goes! I, too, am completely guilty of getting sucked into the black hole of the internet. Precious hours have been zapped away from my life…and the jury is still out on how I feel about it. Some days I hate that I've “wasted” so much time…but other days, I feel it is no different than watching television, sewing, or any relaxing “hobby”. Though, it is less respected as a hobby, that's for sure. Anyhow, I, too, would also love more time to write. …hmmm…I need to dig into these thoughts more. Thanks for the post!


  3. Cheryl,

    Great to read your blog today.

    I *love* this post & will be excited to hear how using the morning hours (mindfully) goes for you. You're smart to “pay yourself first,” I think. It'll set a tone of integrity & success for your whole day.

    Coach Marla || (@MarlaBeck – Twitter)


  4. Finding time to write when you're a parent is more than difficult. By the time I get everyone fed and in bed, I'm too tired to do more than veg-out to facebook and other people's blogs.

    Maybe you're onto something. I'll have to set the coffee pot to start at four-thirty to get two whole hours in, though….


  5. Oooh…I love this idea and I like the way Marla described it as paying yourself first. Makes perfect sense. I can't wait to read the full update on how it is going.


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