Time Management vs. Time Travel

Me on Computer

The harried look of me with four open browser tabs

I currently have four tabs open in my browser…. and before this sentence is finished, I will have opened and closed Photoshop in order to save a screenshot of my four open browser tabs, because I am busily attempting to multitask. In between these episodes of either frenetic or non-frenetic lazy, slacker-like multitasking I have to go outside, and attend to the daily functionality of my life. This includes things like working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and getting exercise.

Sadly… or perhaps, fortunately, my brain is not yet able to connect to a cybernetic computer matrix directly, and casually browse the web or focus

Me books

Can I sell you these books?

and work on projects while jogging. Even if the technology did exist, I would probably be unable to afford it. I’m still a starving artist. I bust my ass to keep my bills covered, and I can’t make a living off of book sales. When I do sell a book, I’m often selling it out of my trunk haggling with someone who wants to see if they can get away with paying $12 instead of $17.95. No… the book costs that much. What? Yes, I will accept a payment plan.

In the meantime I have had a Day Job, or Two Day Jobs, and/or School

Me and my certs

Me at home with my certificates and day-job hair

occurring throughout the time I’ve been a writer. But not always. I’ve got a part-time long term job that’s 16 hours a week/flex time as a care worker for a relative with a mobility impairing health issue, and I take part-time jobs as a computer repair technician – yes, IT, but not as any kind of programmer, I’m the person who replaces your broken fan, upgrades your memory, installs the latest operating system, and runs Norton on your junk. I do this as a temporary worker, which means I’m on temporary contract jobs through an agency, which means sometimes I’m on assignment, and sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I’m at home, and sometimes I’m furthering my education. I wrote the book “Solitude” during a three month period where I was at a technical school working on my A+ and Network+ certification (because my old Novell certifications are dated, expired, largely useless) and renewing my Apple Macintosh Certified Technician (AMCT) certificate. I worked with Stephen Douglas on editing it during a 9 month period where I had two different part time contract jobs as consecutive second day jobs (aside from IHSS/carer).

When I have two day jobs, or am in school, I plan my time around these activities. It’s the times when I have a lot of free time that are problematic. A

toiletclock

The problem with free, unstructured time

lot of unstructured, free time creates difficulties for me. I have a tendency to overbook myself. At the moment, I have a bunch of reading assignments connected to interviews or reviews I wanted to do for my blog. I’ve got a copy of Richard Cotton’s short story “The Reaper” in the other window, because I want to give it a much closer read-through because he just asked me for my opinion in a bit more detail over on Facebook. I will do it…later. Right now, I need downtime. I need time to digest my own thoughts. I guess it’s no different than other people – with a day job, who have times when they want to watch reruns of “Heroes” on Netflix and play Diablo (these are my recent leisure activities). The only difference is, when you have a set schedule, such as school, or work, it’s a lot easier to understand that you need time at ease to regenerate your mind. It’s a lot easier to compartmentalize work from leisure than it is when you are working at a flex time job and at a small business. Because I don’t have a day job, I find it harder to say “no” – easier to feel like my me-time is just me flushing time down the toilet.

Different people deal with this unstructured time differently. In my case, I make lists of things that I know that I need to do, and I keep calendars, so that I

Lokal Boy

This is me after Greg got my books into Lokal Boy

can get everything done that I feel needs doing (or that actually does need doing – like going to the doctor, paying bills, collecting money to pay bills with) on a calendar and/or a list. Because otherwise, I’d forget what I needed to do. I really would. I’m curious as to how the rest of you deal with this kind of thing: I mean, can you leave some comments? I could use any advice I could take on my weak subject of time management. In case you were wondering about the Time Travel, well, I’d never seen “Heroes” before and I’m watching every episode in a row, and thinking how if I had any of these powers, I think Hiro Nakamura’s time traveling power would be pretty awesome. All those do-overs. But no, I don’t have that. I have to manage the time in a linear fashion, alas. You know that saying “Necessity is the Mother of Invention?” – I think that it’s also the mother of entrepreneurial effort. Now that my day-job income is cut back, I notice me and my fiance Greg are both a lot more focused on book sales. A couple of days ago, Greg got the books into a new local outlet, ironically called Lokal Boy. Go, Team Solitude!

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on June 15, 2012.

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