Well, hi there.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ll know I’m a newbie, in which case, “hi, I’m Jordaina. It’s lovely to meet you”. If you’re new to this blog then “Snap, bro! Me too!”. And, obviously, it’s lovely to meet you as well.
Under the guise of getting to know each other, here are three things you should know about me:
- My name is pronounced Jaw-dane-a (this is always the first thing I explain because everyone gets it wrong and then people mumble it or stumble over it and it gets awkward—one guy even tried to spell it with an “f” one time. Like, what?)
- Kinda obvious, but I write cosy mysteries with a paranormal twist.
- I’ve recently given up my day job/got made redundant/was released into the wild and now I write full-time.
That’s me in a three-fact-nutshell. Sort of. Anyway, probably like every writer I’d always dreamed of fact three. Of being able to give up my job and writing full-time while sitting in a field in a sundress/looking arty in a coffee shop but I have to tell you, the reality is a lot different to the dream.
My job ended at the end of January this year and then I got mega sick for about a month. And then March just came and went and now it’s April. Two whole months have passed since I left my job … and I’ve hardly achieved anything. I had goals and deadlines, but I just can’t seem to get into a rhythm. When I had a full-time job, I’d cram my writing into whatever free time I had and get loads done. But now, I get up, have breakfast and then some weird time warp thing happens and it’s lunchtime. Like, how?
So, after a few weeks of getting nothing done, I started investigating time management techniques.
First I started with the Pomado technique. (It’s actually the Pomodoro technique, but I like calling it “Pomado” because it sounds like “tornado” … small things!) I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it means you set a timer for twenty-five minutes and accomplish what you can in that time. Any tasks you have you’re meant to estimate how many Pomados it will take to achieve before you start. It’s great if you have lots of different tasks but what if you spend your whole day writing? If you spend eight hours writing that’s sixteen Pomados. That’s sixteen times your writing flow is interrupted. That’s sixteen times you freak out at the loud, random buzzing. Not exactly conducive to the creative flow.
So, that didn’t work for me. Then I read in some time management book (yes, I am reading self-help books!) that an adult can’t focus for longer than forty minutes at one time and they suggested working in ninety minute blocks with a five minute break in between. Can you see the problem? Forty plus five plus forty does not equal ninety. How much faith can you have in a time management system that can’t even get their maths right? Not to mention my office is in the attic so by the time I’d made it down both flights of stairs, made a cup of tea, had a biscuit and climbed back up to my office I’d be well over that five-minute break.
Since I wasn’t vibing with that idea, I looked for other options and found some research that said you should turn off all distractions (obvious!) because, after an interruption or distraction, it can take up to twenty-three minutes to focus your attention back on that one task. Twenty-three minutes! So every time you start a new task, it takes your brain twenty-three long minutes to drag itself off the previous task and settle on the new one. So that blows the Pomado technique out of the water because that means I’d only have two minutes properly focused on that task. Although, I do like this idea … but I think that’s probably only because I could say I was “Pomado-ing”!
The craziest thing is that I LOVE writing. I LOVE it. So you think I’d find it easy to just sit down and do it but … *shakes head* I just can’t find a way to manage my time effectively enough.
Do you have any time management tips to help me? Because, at this rate, I’m going to get to the end of the year and my editor is going to ask me for those eight manuscripts that are due and … well, that’s not going to be a fun conversation! If you have some tips for me, or anything that works for you, then please let me know about it in the comments.
Until next time,
PS. If you’re reading this and thinking “This girl is a writer? Man, she can’t spell for toffee” then, and I probably should’ve told you this—I’m English. Yep. We spell lots of things different. (I also sometimes use this excuse to cover my bad spelling!)