Why I Needed a Schedule for My Writing Business to Be Productive
I don't know about you, but simply having a to-do list doesn't help me write the blog posts and articles on my list. Without a set schedule, I look at that to-do list and I put it off, saying, "I'll get to that later," hoping I can squeeze it in at the end of the day. Only, more often than not, my end of the day turns out to occur earlier than usual because of some emergency or maybe my husband got home early from work.
Here's my story and why I needed a set schedule…
Since last September, I've been taking care of our 450 (now 540) chickens, handling egg orders and sales, and cleaning and packaging the eggs, which takes me 2 1/2 to 3 hours each day.
Before I declared my schedule, my husband and I would wash and package the eggs in the evenings and it would take until about 9 o'clock at night to finish them up. I finally decided I couldn't do that anymore, that I wanted to actually enjoy my evenings relaxing and sitting on the couch with a book, so I started cleaning the eggs in the afternoons by myself.
I also used to take calls from egg customers at all hours of the day, and customers were able to stop by any time they wanted. Let me tell you how unproductive I was… This meant that by the time I had a chance to sit down and gather my thoughts again for the writing project I was working on before the interruption, I would get interrupted again with another call. And then who knows how long it would take me to get back to my desk to refocus, sometimes an hour later.
I couldn't do it… I wasn't getting anywhere. Sure, I was able to complete the client projects I had, but all of my "extra-curricular" business and personal projects (with the exception of the NaNoWriMo book I trudged through in November) were pushed aside.
It was time to get a schedule.
So, about a month and a half ago, I decided that the only time people could come for eggs was between 2 and 4 in the afternoon. I would still answer the phone occasionally to get the pickup times set up, but then when I didn't answer the phone, I would feel guilty and then I'd dwell on it for, again, who knows how long. So, while it was working to some extent, it wasn't working completely.
I needed to take it a step further…
Then I decided not to answer the phone at all until 2 PM. I leave my office sometime between 1:30 and 2, I eat, turn the phone back on, respond to any voicemails or calls, and then I start washing the eggs. By 4 PM (usually) I've put the eggs away in the refrigerator and I can go sit down and relax.
Now that I have a structured schedule that separates my business activities from my personal tasks, I am able to practice being productive during my business hours, which makes me a happy camper…er, happier chicken farmer.
It all boils down to this: if you want to accomplish your writing goals, you must have a set schedule. Not only that, but you must respect that schedule and demand that everyone around you respects it, too.
Remember, the most important person when it comes to respecting your writing time is you.