Are you looking ahead to 2015? Are you thinking of all the changes you want to make? Projects you want to start? Time you want to find for more writing—and more exercise? Me, too. And I don’t think we’re alone.
For the first time in a long time, I’m not teaching during the winter semester. And, yes, I have lots of things that I plan to do instead of school work starting January 5th. But I’m also realizing that I can’t rush into all of them at once or I won’t achieve anything.
Making lists is my first step. I have freelance contracts to honour, my own writing and marketing to do, a family to care for, a house to manage, and I want to get a dog, and get in better physical shape, oh, and I want to declutter the house before I bring a dog into it, and—okay, just writing all that down is making my head spin.
So I’ve made a decision to work on my list in instalments. I can’t go chasing all of those goals starting January 5th or I’d be giving up on them all by the 6th. I need to look further ahead. What would be a reasonable date by which to get the house decluttered? Probably the end of January.
What about the writing and the freelancing? Well, I’ve started to help myself there by not going on the internet until after 9 a.m. I’m an early bird, and I can get some writing done on my own projects before I open my inbox to see what my freelancing life is going to come up with that day. If there’s nothing there that I have to worry about, I can go back to the writing and check in later.
I have one freelance contract that I know of starting in the new year. It’s a project that will take a few months to complete. Once again, there’s no need for me to start work on it before 9 a.m. by which time I’ve made progress on my own projects before starting to focus on the billable hours.
I’ve learned (slowly) that putting off my own work until I’ve finished the school work or the freelance work for the day, means that my own work just doesn’t get done. By the time I’ve worked on the other things, I haven’t run out of time (because there are hours ahead before I turn in for the night,) but I’ve run out of the creative energy necessary to make good use of those hours.
I’ve tucked my freelance work away for the holidays, but I’m already trying the no-internet-before-9 routine, and it’s working. My husband and son are both on holidays, too, but they’re not early risers, so my day actually starts with writing. I love going into a busy day knowing that I’ve already put words on the page.
I also have a treadmill downstairs with a makeshift platform attached for my laptop, but I don’t use it. Fortunately, my husband’s work laptop has been upgraded, so I’m going to hook up his old one down there permanently. I spend a good 45 minutes to an hour every morning checking email, Facebook, reading articles, and just noodling on the Internet. I’ve decided to do all that while on the treadmill. I don’t walk quickly, but at least I’ll be moving—or at least standing—and that’s got to be a good thing.
How are you planning to tackle your new year’s resolutions? I hope you reach all your goals and that you have a healthy, happy, and writerly year ahead.