Monday, November 21, 2011

30 Days of Thankfulness in Writing — Day 14: Lessons in Time Management

I’ve been told busy people are organized people. To which I respond, “You’ve obviously never seen my desk during production week!”

I can understand the concept. I find I’m the most productive when I have an over-full plate. I don’t know if it’s the writer in me that thrills at the looming countdown of an approaching deadline, or if it’s a holdover from my school days when I naturally put everything off until the night before it was due. Whatever the case, I’ve found that if I have the time available to me, I’m downright lazy! I waste time playing games I don’t even like. I revisit websites that I’ve already read every story on. I even flip through Netflix selections just to kill time. I justify it all by saying I’m just tired and need a break to clear my mind — which to an extent is true.

Thanksgiving week is here. Visitors are on their way. I have my contributions to prepare for our big family dinner. I also have my writing to keep up with (somebody please remind me why we plan events like NaNoWrMo at the beginning of the holiday season?), and I’m also in the middle of a major deadline at work.

I’m prying my eyes open to write this because I’ve just come off a 12-hour day of non-stop editing and too much coffee. The perk was that after everyone else went home for the night, I got to crank up my “.Doc Playlist” while preparing articles for the art director to layout. It reminded me of being in college when I wasn’t just taking a full course load of British and American Lit, Linguistics, Creative Writing, and Lit Crit, I was somehow working a fulltime editorial job, as well.

I listened to this same playlist into the wee hours of many a morning, fretting over papers that weren’t being written and wondering when I’d finally get to go to bed — or if I would ever have a real life. But those two years were also my most productive in terms of creative writing. Even when I had the downtime my brain was churning out more story ideas than it has in any time since.

It’s exhausting being busy. But looking back over today and my past I can also see truth in the statement that busy people are organized people. When juggling multiple jobs the only way to successfully complete anything is to properly manage your time. During weeks like these I always formulate a plan of attack so I don’t forget to do anything. And believe it or not, it somehow all gets done. Properly.

As my workload has increased, I have also once again seen my creativity revived. I’m writing more, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Being busy also means I get to enjoy the downtime that much more when I finally hit SAVE on that last file for the night.

Now that is really something to be thankful for.

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