Tag Archives: Time Stealers

Only Child resents these work time-stealers

When I was a child my mother didn’t work outside the home – until I was in high school, when she had to because my dad had cancer.  Before that when she was home she did work – albeit house and garden stuff. If she had to go to a doctor’s or dentist’s, it didn’t matter when. If the plumber had to come during the day weekdays, it didn’t matter.

Fast forward to today when many of us work from home, running our own business. I am a writer, editor and writing workshop instructor. Except for the latter and doing book promo in person, I do my work in my home office. Or at least I try.

Lately the non-work-related interruptions have been interfering with my work time. Sometimes I have to go out for them  and sometimes I have to phone them to get something straightened out with the house, ID cards, etc. Most of this stuff is not generated by me. To put it bluntly, it gets shoved at me. And it takes time, often more time than you think.

Take health-related issues, particularly dental and eyes. This spring and now summer it is my left eye. It is in bad shape. Not my fault and not the eye professionals’ fault. What is their fault is the majority of them don’t have evening or Saturday hours. So I have to waste my work-time travelling to appointments, sitting in waiting rooms (sometimes for a couple of hours) and then actually seeing the professional.

And don’t get me on the subject of government agencies who only operate on regular business hours. So you have to take your work time to renew ID cards. At least you can call the bank outside business hours if you have something that needs straightening out.

I know what some of you are thinking. “She runs her own business from home for Pete’s sake (and who is Pete anyway?). She can set her own hours.

Teddy time tracking

Well, I do. I just prefer them close to regular weekday business hours – 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The only exceptions are when I do in-person book signings or presentations (usually on a Saturday) or panels or talks related to book promo and the odd writing workshop that is on an evening (most are during the day on weekdays). But in the interest of time I like to stick to regular working hours and use off hours for personal stuff, for the  most part. That would include medical. At least the medical clinic I go to has evening and Saturday hours. It is close enough to home I can even go on my lunch break.

I really resent having to use my work time doing health, house (as in getting things fixed although my handyman usually does come evenings or early mornings and except for explaining what is wrong, he usually stays out of my way so I can work) and government-related stuff, especially when clients start to wonder when I will have their work completed.

Not sure what do do about this? I do have the phone calls under some kind of control with a vm message that tells callers when I am available to answer the phone for business and personal (and I use the “We can’t come to the phone right now.” message beginning). If it is important they can leave a message or call during those hours. One friend calls anyway during my work time but not business phone calls time. I don’t pick up the phone. When I check messages I hear her apologizing for calling at the wrong time. But she should know by now. She also usually leaves a “life story” message. I have two of those that I gave up listening to and they are left as “skipped messages.” I have no idea how to delete them without listening to them. Guess I will have to borrow a phrase of another friend who is smart in her vm mail message for incoming calls. “Please leave your name, phone number and a brief message.” She adds something about limited space for vm messages. I could do a variation of that. After the first part I could add “so all callers can leave a message.”

That’s the phone. Now about all the people and organizations, etc. stealing my work time because they don’t cater to the working crowd.

As one of my friends says they need to “get on the program.”

How do you deal with these non-work related interruptions? I don’t mean life and death. An ill family member, a death in the family. These are exceptions.

Now back to my client work. This blog post  hasn’t even taken as long as the public transit ride to the eye doctor.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Life Balance, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Time management, Work Time

Only Child asks where’s the time for creativity?

Symbol of what Only Child wants to do - write

Symbol of what Only Child wants to do – write

An old school friend I keep in touch with asked if I had time to recharge my creative batteries. This was in response to my email where I told him about being up beyond eyeballs promoting my new mystery novel Beyond Blood, working with editing and writing clients, getting the house and garden ready for winter, etc. etc.

Yeah, he is right. In all this scurrying around in overwhelm the only creative juices flowing seem to be those directed at trying to fit everything in each day…and squealing when something on the “to do” list doesn’t get done.

So, I’m going through another pruning of what I can, can’t and just plain won’t do – especially after a big “zoo day” last Friday – meeting with client and the guy cleaning the eavestroughs doing other odd jobs here at the same time. First planned and the second one – not much choice with weather and the guy’s schedule. I didn’t appreciate the plumbing emergency that occurred right after and having to get in the regular handyman who specializes in plumbing and electrical work. And because the forecast was for rain on the weekend I had to spend the afternoon raking leaves, etc. I do enjoy gardening but Friday afternoons are my time to write. Haven’t had many of these Friday afternoons lately and my head is swimming with ideas for my next mystery novel. I’ve started writing it.

So, what are the big delay-causers – besides house repairs and other housework?

Emails. I don’t mean family and friends but business-related and all those email listserves/newsletters I’m on. So, for the rest of November, emails related to current clients, work, and book promo I will answer. But anyone – writer or otherwise who wants me to do something for them – forget it. I especially get my dander up when another writer asks me what to do about something or to do it when really they should be doing the research for it. Research is part of being a writer and passing along doing the research to another writer doesn’t sit too well with me. Different story if you are my client, or it’s at a writing group meeting or if I’m teaching you in a group workshop.

As for those listserves/e-newsletters – I’ve unsubscribed from many of them and a few more are on probation.

I also set a timer when I do email. Excluding book promo where I have to write PR proposals, etc. in the email, when the timer rings I finish the email I am doing and then that’s it. Anything else can wait for another day. And my timer only goes to 60 minutes.

In other words I’m turning into a hard-ass. It’s either that or the nut-house or as my favourite (sarcastic) expression these days is

“I’m waiting for my fatal heart attack.”

I don’t really want that to happen. I have a lot of living I still want to do.

And about my book Beyond Blood, see my other blog www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com and my publisher’s website http://bluedenimpress.com/

Go to my website www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to gigs and you’ll see where I’ll be with my book for November. I’ll be posting some to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394

Or Goodreads (which needs updating badly).

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4636581.Sharon_A_Crawford

I find Goodreads cumbersome to move around in. Anyone want to help me out there, please comment.

But probably not today. However, this post will be linked to Facebook and Linked In.

Time marches on.

Here is a cover shot of my new mystery novel Beyond Blood

Cover of Only Child's first published mystery novel

Cover of Only Child’s first published mystery novel

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Beyond Blood, email overload, Family and Friends, Home and Garden, Organizing and Deleting, Plumbing, Sharon A. Crawford, Weather, Writing

Only Child tries to grab control of her time – again

Only Child will no longer sit on time like this teddy bear

Only Child will no longer sit on time like this teddy bear does

If shooting the clock would tame my time I’d do it. However, Mr. and Mrs. Clocks are not the guilty parties. The culprits are having too much to do, especially when some of that is because others are butting in and/or just not doing their job. It is literally making me sick and stealing my sleep time.

I’m fed up with picking up other’ slack and putting up with others’ unnecessary interference – in my personal and work life. So, I’m on the warpath again.

Sometimes I think life is a spiralling whirlwind with no jump off point – unless you want to be drastic and do the proverbial cliff thing.

Not me. I prefer to tackle the culprits, despite the feelings of dread, weariness, anger, guilt and frustration for starters. I’m tired of being dragged down. I want my life back. I want my health back. I want this viral respiratory infection (now in my neck glands) to go away – permanently. I figure without all the stress and with regular sufficient sleep it would never have gone beyond the sinusitis stage, which lasted only three or four days. Then it hibernated and surfaced in the glands. I’m taking a natural remedy to help get rid of it. But I need to do more.

For the house repair stuff , I may not be able to control what needs repairing but I will control what I deal with, when and who else gets involved. So, if I’m focusing on getting one repair done (including the actual doing) the rest takes a back burner and maybe some of the people bugging me about it get ignored permanently.

Some writing colleagues are not doing their job where it is connected to what I do – so I am left to pick up their slack, which I’ve been doing with many worries about how to rectify the situation. Despite reminder emails I’m greeted with silence. So, now I will try the old-fashioned way – use the phone.

Getting more sleep – only one area needs improvement on my part – getting to bed a bit earlier. Here, I need to stop doing household chores after the 11 p.m. news. Once the weather report is finished and I turn the TV off, all that should be left to do is get ready for bed and go to bed.

The other sleep problem is not under my control. My boarder insists on getting up between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. whenever her cat wakes her up to be fed. Sometime that wakes me up and I have trouble getting back to sleep before my alarm goes off three of so hours later. If that were me, I’d stall feeding the cat – other cat owners do this. But then, I’m not a cat owner, so what do I know?

The weather – and I’ve posted my feelings and beliefs on this one before. Just when I was getting into gardening and being able to sit outside away from everything going on inside, get some privacy and peace, we get snow today. It will melt but I’m stuck inside and back to “hiding” in the living room, with door closed, to sip my morning coffee and read the newspaper or a magazine. In real spring and summer, I sit outside on the patio and read and also eat breakfast and lunch, and perhaps dinner. Now, I’m back to eating breakfast with answering email (with my office door closed).

I find my garden – just being in it – and my writing, reading and walking sooths this savage beast – for a time. Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually enjoy rewriting my mystery novel – the one getting published later this year – even following the editor at my publisher’s suggestions (well, most of them). Perhaps it’s being one with my creative process and shutting out the miserable world around me.

But it helps.

Not today, though. Today, it’s back to another hateful job – working on my 2013 tax returns – which I don’t file electronically. You don’t dare do that with the Heartbleed virus. And getting after one of my writing colleagues to do his job so I can do mine.

Shooting the clocks won’t work anyway. I have only a small water gun.

How do others tame their time? Suggestions are welcome. Let’s share our ideas, especially what works.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Health, Life demands, Only child, Overwhelm, Prioritizing, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress, Time management