When it comes to being a writer, it’s hard to distinguish between writing time, downtime, family time, shower time, and any other time. Scheduling downtime and writing time isn’t easy – especially if you work from home. Home is home but it’s also work and the wires in your brain will get crossed. It’s easy to give yourself just “one more minute” on whatever project you’re working on. Before you know it, you’ve sat on your butt all day and that one minute turned into an extra three hours.
The Difference Between Downtime & Writing Time
I have to admit, for a long time I thought my downtime and writing time were one in the same. I love writing and even though I wanted to do it for a living, I told people it was a hobby. It’s a hobby I get to do for a career. So, whenever I wasn’t writing, I wanted to write more.
I would write in the morning, go to work, and then write more when I came home. The writing later was considered my “downtime” because I was writing for work, but it was also for fun as well. Then I realized I was still staring at a computer screen and even if I wrote in a notebook, I was still thinking and working.
So, I decided to tell myself that I wrote before and after work because it was something that needed to get done. My “downtime” was then when I went to work. I worked at a preschool and babysat in the afternoons… that is no downtime. That’s work and it’s a lot of physical activity as well as mental activity. There were no breaks in my day. I wrote, worked, then wrote more which was just a different kind of work.
The Importance of a Schedule
This was one of the reasons I quit my job. I was working myself to the bone and my writing was more important to me. I took a leap and yet, I’m still working myself to the bone.
Now I have all day to write, blog, and do anything else that pertains to my writing career. I’m on the computer a lot. I’m writing novels, writing blog posts or social media posts, I’m creating blog graphics or book covers, I’m doing freelance writing work… there’s no end to it.
I still love it and enjoy it, but there definitely needs to be some sort of line. I need to exercise. I need to get away from the computer. I need to stop thinking about writing or work and have some fun. I need to socialize with my friends and family.
Not only will this help my mind and body, but it’ll help my work in the long run as well. No, I won’t be “working,” but I’ll come back to my work with a fresh take on things.
How To Create Your Schedule
One factor that I used when creating my “work” schedule was when I do my best work but also, when does everyone else work? I don’t want to lounge around the house while everyone else is at their jobs and then, when they get home and are buzzing around the house, making dinner, and wanting to watch a movie or something together, I don’t want to respond with, “Sorry, I have to work.”
Lucky for me, everyone works in the morning and comes home in the afternoon and I happen to do my best work in the morning. I’m more awake at that time. So, that’s why I’ve created my schedule to write in the very early morning while everyone else is just waking up and getting ready for work. Then I get my blogging and such done during the day when everyone else is at work.
Time Blocking & Breaks
Of course, I don’t work straight through the day. I take a break in between my writing and blogging times. I usually get my workout done then as well as shower and do the dishes. Then I get another few hours in before settling down for an hour of lunch. Once lunch is over, I babysit for a couple of hours. When I get home, I sometimes will do another hour or two of work or I’ll just eat dinner and chill for the rest of the night either playing video games, watching a movie, reading a book, or whatever.
Give Yourself A Day Off
Seriously, even though taking breaks throughout the day is helpful, giving yourself at least one day off a week is needed. I tend to use Fridays as my day off and I’ll catch up on some reading or clean the house. I tend to stay away from the computer if I can help it. A full day’s rest is needed after wearing many different hats throughout the week. Eventually, I would like to give myself Saturdays and Sundays off and only work the five days a week, but we’ll see.
The only person who can fit a schedule to your needs perfectly is you. Getting into the routine can be tough and you may have to do trial and error before you find a great schedule that works for you. But it’s worth it. It’s needed for your body and for your mental health. No one can be on social media 24/7. No one can sit on their butt all day long. Do yourself a favor, a prioritize your health. No, there aren’t enough hours in the day. But life is short and those hours should be spent with loved ones and not constant work.