Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My New Plan

Yeah, yeah. I can hear the snarfing nationwide. World-wide, actually. But I really do have a plan to achieve balance this time. A real plan. A well-thought-out plan. Really.

It's called the "one hour plan."

Don't you want to know how it's going to work? You do, I know you do.

Here's the dealio. I waste a lot of time. I'm actually better with my time when I'm working because there's only so much time to get so much done and some of that time is used in a way I don't like (um, working). So yeah. I'm a bit more focused during my "free" time when I'm working.

Now that summer is here...not so much. So I developed the "one hour plan." It's simple, it's effective, even your dog could do it. Srsly.

Here it is. I have three projects I'm working on. I blogged about this last week, but since I can't even remember what I ate for dinner a couple of hours ago, I know some of you might have a slight problem remembering *my* goals.

Control Issues - read books
The Mirror - edit/revise/rewrite
Dying to Live - write

Remember now? Good, moving on. Here's the one hour plan.

I read for one hour.
I edit/revise/rewrite for one hour.
I write new wordage for one hour.

And, you knew it was coming.... I get one hour of online time. Yes. Only one hour. You may have noticed my blog comments declining and my forum participation on the decrease. Yeah, there's only so much I can do in an hour. I can't go totally dark like BJ and Lady Glam and some others, but I can reduce to one hour.

So, mathematicians out there, that's four hours of my day. What else do I do? Yardwork. Clean. Cook. Push the kids on the swings or go to the pool. Beta read. You know, real life stuff. It's working. I feel productive in my writing life. I feel like a real human. It's a win/win for everyone.

It's the one hour plan. It's patented people. *wink* The Elana Johnson One Hour Writing Plan! New and only available--just kidding.

So, I'm interested. Have you ever timed how long you spend on things? How long do you really write every day? Edit? Read? Spend time online in blogs, forums, email, etc? Being a real person? Is it too much in one area? Not enough in another? How do you keep the balance between computer time and face-to-face time?


christinefonseca said...

Nice plan!!! (though we'll miss ya on-line :D)

Annie Louden said...

I like posts like this. Goals-y posts, with stuff-to-keep-track-of. Ugh, ending a sentence with a preposition.

The 5 months before I moved to Australia I was only freelancing and not really working, and I wasted more time then than any time in my life. Not fair. I could've written a billion novels back then.

I keep track of my freelance work time. During NaNo I keep track of writing hours. Actually, I'm always trying to keep track of everything, and that trips me up and slows me down. I just need to do. Not analyze.

But, I'm sure I'll keep making timed goals and tracking my progress.

Michelle McLean said...

Right now, I am literally spending all day, minus meal breaks and kid emergencies, getting my manuscript typed up and going through the preliminary edits so I can send it out to my critters. I am doing nothing else - I was forced to take a break from working yesterday because my family was totally out of clean clothes and clean dishes...but now that the house is somewhat back in order, I'm back to typing my fingers to the bone. But I'm not around online much during this process either, other than to check my email of course. :)

It's making me feel incredibly guilty, but I also know that this won't last - I should be done in a few days, a week tops - and then I can start the balancing act again. I do try to limit my computer time, normally, to when my family is either asleep or not home. That way they get my attention when they are around, and I get to work undistracted when they don't need me.

But for the next week, I'm in the zone and loving it :) My family...not so much :) But they forgive me and just ride the wave with me, knowing it will be over soon :D

Mandy said...

Great post! I have a hard time finding balance. It drives my family crazy.

Setting aside a certain block of time for reading, writing, editing, answering emails, makes you feel satisfied and your work gets attention. The best part- your family doesn't have to feel like they're living with a stranger! I'm going to give the Elana Johnson One Hour Writing Plan a try! ;)

Marybeth Poppins said...

Oh...we are suppose to balance those thing????? I may have to reevaluate my lack of balance and get a one hour (or possibly two for the online play part) of my own!

Great Idea :D

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Elana!

You know what? Your plan is brilliant! I'm positive that I spend way too much time online: blogging, etc., emailing, surfing, and generally wasting time!

However, most of the time that I waste on my computer is because I have to re-do everything about four or five time (no exaggeration!) because, just as I'm about ready to "send" whatever I've written, the computer "boots" me off of Internet Explorer for no reason at all! It drives me crazy! I don't know if it's my computer or what, and I'm not a computer whiz, so I just have to put up with it, I guess.

I am going to attempt to put myself on a schedule, though. I don't know why I didn't think of it myself! It's the answer to so many of my problems! You are a genius--thanks!!!

Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

Scott said...

Best of luck. I call what you're doing 'balancing'. My goal this year, maybe it was last, was to have more balance in my life between - work, writing, reading, spending time with friends, cooking (my other passion in life), blogging, bonding with the animals, my partner, and all the other craziness of life. Whew!

Normally, I try and sit down and write every evening, normally at 7. I write until the words no longer flow. I try to fit in some reading at least 3 times per week. The weekends are spent doing the house cleaning stuff. I need Merry Maids - bad! I also try to spend a few hours at least on writing each weekend day.

The balance between computer and face-to-face time is easy: every Friday night I go out for margaritas with friends. Yes, every Friday night. Once a month we have dinner club - different house each month, 8 of us total in the club. Once a month I play bridge. So, there's balance, but since I'm more of a homebody than anything else, it's not much of a stretch. : )


SF and Katie said...

Hi E!

I like this plan. Right now I have determined that I can only write in the a.m. - so I set aside four hours to brainstorm, write, revise etc...

But I intermix brief periods of time online (like now :)

And when the kids get home, this might all change. *sigh

good luck with this awesome plan!


Jamie D. said...

Thanks for posting that this week! I'm struggling for balance at the moment. I was doing pretty well there for awhile, and then everything kinda went downhill. Stress has played a huge part in that, but things are looking up now.

I hate that there are only so many hours in the day, and I do sneak in some writing time at work. I'm working on a new schedule now for my evenings...we'll see how that goes. Facebook is my nemesis - I play on there at night far more than I should when I could be writing.

Good luck with your new schedule!

Casey said...

Sounds like an awesome plan! I should do something like this. But... I lack the self-control.

: )

Jaime Theler said...

I like your plan! I only wish I had 4 hours a day now to do that. Once the kidlets are back in school, maybe. I do try to fit in at least an hour on writing and smash in the online stuff throughout the day in 10 minute increments. If I kept track of that I'd probably be shocked at how much time I do it. I'm also trying to cut down on the time wasters (checking email 40 times a day, etc.). But maybe now I need my own official plan.

Kat Harris said...

Plans shmlans. :-)

I do creative writing at home in the evening. Usually about two hours worth.

I blog on my lunchbreak at work.

With summer being so much busier, my blog has been seriously lacking lately.

Whatever works for you!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

That is a great plan! My Internet habits have gotten so bad that I actually hear a sucking sound coming from my computer when I open the Firefox browser. I think I might try giving myself a limited amount of time online and then giving myself a mandatory working/writing time. The only thing I have no control over is reading, when I am in a good book I have a very hard time putting it down.

Icy Roses said...

Here's the problem. If I give myself a time limit, I'll usually end up dabbling it away either by using the Internet, or if I don't let myself online, I'll stare at the page and not write anything.

I have to use a word quota, otherwise, it's pretty much wasting time. The downside to this is sometimes fulfilling the word quota takes an hour, sometimes it takes four. It all depends on how motivated I am that day. I hate summer sometimes, for giving me such rampant free time I can waste it and not get any writing done.

Let us know how your hour plan goes!

Danyelle said...

*tries to snarf more quietly in the future* :p

These sound like great goals. I'm glad you figured out a plan that works well for you. :D

Other than trying to cut back a bit on the blogging, I think I'm good. :D

beth said...

I totaly understand. Do what ya gotta do!

I blog A LOT, but I have always maintained the attitude that blogging will be the first thing to go when need be. One reason why I've been blogging so much lately is because I've been brain dead from work and unable to really focus on real work. But I expect my blog time to slag off a bit during the summer, too...

ElanaJ said...

Thanks guys! See, I'm catching up on my own blog during my *cough* hour of online time. Yeah, I'm already going on two. But I'm about to get off! Really! 9 more minutes!

M. Dunham said...

As a planner myself, let me caution you about being too anal with your time. The harder you try to grasp the sands of time, the more it'll slip through your fingers. Just keep in mind that it's ok to be flexible. And I hope it works out well for you. :D

B.J. Anderson said...

I hear you! I've had to cut down on the internet chatter myself. It was getting ridiculous how much time I was spending not writing. I really like your 1 hour idea. :) I may have to try it!

Carolyn Kaufman said...

I too have used the One-Hour Plan. For me it is "I am going to write on Project X for one hour. No cheating!" And lo, I freaking get things done. Miracles CAN happen!

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