Going Solo 20. Balance

Balance is important. I sometimes get the impression that people perceive Going Solo as a way of filling every waking hour with work.

Loving Mondays

For me, it’s the opposite. I want to choose how I spend my time, entirely. How do you feel about Monday mornings? I love mine. Absolutely adore them. In fact, I love Monday from start to finish. Usually, people hear this and it confirms their first impression that I am completely nuts. Nobody sane likes Mondays. The weekend is over. Fun stuff has stopped, it’s time to work again. So, why do I love that?

Why?

Simple. I don’t do it. I wake up on Monday morning and go play golf. That’s how I get away from the “back to work” feeling. I don’t go back to work. Initially, my intention was to play golf, then get going into the work-day. Doesn’t work. Why? Two reasons.

1. How I begin my day dictates my mode. I find it difficult to switch from golf to any type of creative work.
2. Fatigue. It’s hot here. I walk the golf course. When I have finished, I want a cold drink, something to eat and a nap. In that order.

Planning

Therefore, I have adjusted my Monday routine. I golf, come home with Mags (she golfs on a Monday too), have lunch and then a nap. I wake, swim and then do an hour or two’s work. Nothing too heavy, mostly planning, catching up – mapping out my week. Then, Mags, Spice and I get in the car and go out for supper and a quiz night with friends.

That’s why I love Mondays. By making most of it a leisure day, but still including some work, it allows me to break into the week gently. I don’t feel guilty about it, because I do plenty of work outside of office hours. For example I record 1857 from 8pm on a Wednesday evening and often work at the weekends.

Balance

Part of Going Solo is being able to choose when I work and to integrate my work with the rest of my life.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

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Going Deep

Nearly there. We enjoyed hosting our friends from Denmark last week. The “Beast”, our car, has new tyres, new brakes and had a full service. Annoyingly, the work on the house drags on into another week, but the end is surely in sight. The corporate stuff is…well, corporate.

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Thinking Cap

In itself, writing is a straightforward activity. Pick up a writing instrument and put words onto a page. Alternatively, open an app and start typing. That’s it.
Not exactly rocket surgery, as TJ might say. By definition, the process is creative. It’s rare to have a novel, a chapter, or even a blog post fully-formed in the mind. The act of writing is forming the words to communicate that meaning one wishes to convey.

—————————————————————My writing is supported by people like you. The remainder of this post is reserved for Members. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

In a time warp

 

What Ho!

It has been almost a full month since I last wrote.

An exciting and exhausting month in the new business @ pocketnotebooks 

Even Nero is feeling the pace.

Mags has had carpal tunnel surgery on her right hand. In true Margaret style, she has twice had to return to A&E, but we think all is well now. It will still be several weeks until she has use of the hand.

Anyone who has been involved in a new business (new to me at least) will have experienced time-warp. All of my focus has been on getting the webshop stocked and reassuring the very loyal customer-base that it’s business as usual. Days have been long, and to-do lists longer. I have found myself chasing people up:

“Have you completed that task yet? I asked you ages ago.”

“Umm…you sent me an email at 2120 last night. I’m just reading it with my first coffee.”

“Ah. Right. Sorry.”

As the month draws to an end, I have become marginally less unreasonable, although the to-do list shows no signs of getting any shorter and I still never have enough time.

Talking of which…

Keep smiling!

Taking Time Back

This post is going out in the middle of the A to Z Challenge – and is not a part of that exercise.

I wrote an earlier post on reaching saturation point with technology.

Much though I love my ‘I-everythings’, I was finding that technology was directing my time rather than help me make the most of it. So, I have stepped back a little.

Once I started limiting my ‘online’ time – I began experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Really.

I wanted to keep looking at my phone.

So, I changed phone. I bought a dumb phone. It can do calls and messages. That’s it.

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I bought a diary. I have customised the layout to suit the way that I want to work.

In the diary, I block off time. So, at 1230, I will log onto my webmail and have a look at emails. Then I log off email and go for lunch.

I log back on before shutting down for the night. That’s it for email. Twice a day. I am planning to get to the point that I log off the computer before dinner.

Mornings – I do my level best to ignore e-mail and social media. I walk the dog, have some breakfast and a shower. I sit at my desk and get working. I schedule creative tasks for the morning, I find it easier then than at any other time.

If I am disciplined – those morning hours are great productive time. The key is not to let myself get sidetracked by Facebook, Twitter, E-mail and all the other usual suspects.

Rather than ramble on for hours, I will leave you with two observations.

  1. I am finding it difficult to ‘cut down’. That tells me that there is a bit of an addiction element to this technology stuff.
  2. Not checking my email every ninety seconds has had absolutely no downsides. None.