In early February, I began waking up at 5am to head to the gym for a workout. I had my doubts that I would be able to maintain that schedule, having been a night owl my entire life, but I’m happy to say, it’s now my routine. In fact, I am getting up at 4:30 so I can be out the door by 5:00. This way I have plenty of time to prepare for the crazy day I know is on the horizon.
It took a while to get used to the routine. I started with just two days a week, then three. Now I’m consistently doing four days a week and have been for the past month. I am amazed that I have been able to stick to this schedule. That I, someone who detests routine, someone who usually “wings it” and deals with things as they come, can stick to getting up at the same time every day and get to the gym four weekdays out of five. Wow!
But I soon realized it wasn’t just me who had to adjust to this new schedule. My dog – a big, furry, German Shepard mix named Pancha – was used to me staying up late. I would let her outside around midnight to take care of business one last time before going to bed. The first couple of weeks of my earlier bedtime had some major drawbacks. Around midnight every night I would hear Pancha whining outside my bedroom door or she would somehow open my door and stand near my bed and stare at me until I woke up.
So now I make sure I let her out around 9:30 or 10:00 so I don’t get a wake-up whine (or stare) in the middle of the night. At first, she didn’t like being forced to go outside, but she has reluctantly relented to the new routine.
Problem solved. All is good.
I’m still struggling with finding the best time to do my writing. I know most writers say to just fit it in where you can – ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there. Writers with busy lives need to work it in whenever possible.
I get that. And, for the most part, this advice makes sense. But I need more. I need to have at least an hour (preferably two) of uninterrupted writing time to feel like I have accomplished something. Anything less, and I feel like I’ve failed.
The solution to this problem is to figure out where to fit it in. I have the “few minutes here, a few minutes there” down pat. I have notepads in my purse, my car, on the nightstand, in the kitchen – in all the places where I sometimes find a glimmer of inspiration. I have this covered.
It’s the glorious hour or two-hour block of time that I’m missing. I used to find it late at night after everyone else had gone to bed. But now that my bedtime is two hours earlier, that time frame is no longer available.
If I have learned anything from my workout resolution, it’s that I just need to select a time that works for me and then train everyone (including the dog) to not interrupt me during this time.
Easier said than done but not impossible.
The hardest one to train is the woman who hates strict schedules and routines but needs a strict schedule and routine. Otherwise, she may never finish her next book. (Heavy sigh!)
If anyone out there has some tips and tricks for finding “me” time, please share them. I would love to hear about the creative techniques you use to get things done. Leave a comment and let’s discuss.
Until next time…keep creating!
Tom T Walker said:
To avoid dog interruption I have 2 dog doors — one leading out to the garage, and the second between garage and backyard. I installed them 20 years ago, and have since never been interrupted to let the dog out. This of course works only with a fenced backyard. Still have to make time to walk the dog, so make that part of my own exercise plan — with a 2 to 5 mile walk 3 to 6 days per week. And at work (14th floor) I avoid the elevator as much as possible, with bathroom breaks taking the elevator down to 1st floor then return via stairs. This allows me to spend less time at the gym. Not as good as going to the gym, but a compromise for time purposes. Still eat too much!