The critical part of all of this is, really, to make use of the time you do have. It’s always changing, so you have to be adaptable. For me, I know making the best use of my time to write is to get up early. For you it might be in the afternoon, during lunch, or at night when everyone has gone to bed.
My brain is basically useless after 8pm. It wants nothing more than escapist television or fiction.
So really these productivity rules are just guidelines that I use to make the best use of my time, which is fleeting between a day job, a growing family, and a writing life. So how do I make the best use of my time, knowing all of these things?
I stop working at 5pm, Monday to Friday.
I got this idea from Cal Newport who calls it a work shutdown. What I do is I go through my scrapbook (the pocket notebook I take with me everywhere) and log into my Journal all the interesting thoughts and ideas and articles I read over the course of the day. In this shut down I do these things:
- Review incomplete tasks
- Form a plan to complete the high priority ones
- Capture and schedule in the appropriate place (usually Google Calendar and the Journal).
- Then I write down what I learned and are grateful for that day.
- Say “Good night, work.”
- I do a similar thing with the PM Reflection, which is more abstract and closes the loop generated by Morning Pages and the 5 Minute Journal.
- Then I’ll meditate and read, go to bed by 9pm.