It’s Monday and I love Monday’s because I love mornings, new beginnings and the sense of possibility they bring.
Today I’m going to answer the burning question, the one I get asked all the time, the one that women and mothers so often get asked.
How do I do it? How did I do it?
How did I write a novel, curate a blog and run my social media sites while running a home, a family of five, three children, two still at home (as they were at the time) without help? Not counting my husband of course who’s wonderful but works full time, farms, is a boxing coach and, is involved in politics! Then to top it all off I took on a month long daily art challenge and learned how to drive.
Whatever you do, whatever your situation you can do this too. Working full time? Children? Other responsibilities? Doesn’t matter and what’s more it’s all up to YOU, in your power.
Now at first I was just flying by the seat of my pants with writing. I wanted to do it and once I’d made the commitment and started that was it but there was a lot of frustration, feelings of guilt, of neglecting other things I should be doing, of resenting time wasted, those days, you know those days right?
Luckily the desire to write was just greater and I continued to show up until it got done. In addition you have to be willing to let go of something, for me this was the house, sob! Our poor house! It is loved though.
And you have to wrestle your demons. Internal and external, real or imagined. The voices in your head, the vibes, passive aggression or whatever it is, in other words, negative, soul sapping energy. If it stops you from doing what you want then that’s as real as real gets.
In order to handle all this you need to 1. Stop now and do nothing or 2. Build a wall of positive energy around you.
Cut off the vampires, batten the hatches, FOCUS, develop the HABIT you want, become ABSORBED and then, JUST – KEEP – GOING. It’s funny because this is the most common thing people say to me ‘just keep going,’ as if they’re afraid I might stop, trust me I won’t.
It’s a cutting off of the world in a way and when I’m really in the zone like when finishing the book I resent everything that gets in the way, food, sleep, everything 🙂
Aah the madness, I LOVE it!
That was then and all necessary but I’ve developed another level of understanding of what I did, of what I do day in day out, and I’ve worked it out here. This is what you do…
1. Write a list of all the things you want to do this week. Not housework, not admin, not work or kids related, what YOU want to do. For example on my list this week I have editing and rewrites for my book, blogging, painting and reading.
2. Next do up a schedule for each day, hour by hour. Here’s the kick, it’s harder than you think to fill those hours! You will find yourself wondering what the hell you do with your time. For example a big time suck for me would be time spent online, fb, pinterest etc. I’ve had to get ruthless with that.
For someone else it might be tv, housework or all three. Each to their own but I for one don’t want to spend my life on any of these. If you work outside the home that can’t be helped you just have to go with the hours you do have, you can still find time if you want to.
4. Those things you want to do, schedule them first then fit everything else around them. Add something lovely you’ve been meaning to do with the kids or your partner, follow up with something niggly and annoying needs doing, things you want or have to do but haven’t got round to and then of course homework, cooking, housework, blah, blah, blah, etc.
5. Set alarms on your phone if your’re into that, so far I like to just keep it on paper, keep an eye on my watch.
‘This approach has done wonders for my head and it’s funny because I’m not a fan of routine but this is no normal routine.
It’s flexible, changes all the time, it’s focus is on creativity and quality time for me and the rest of the family. It allows me to focus and be present with whatever I’m doing in the moment without feeling guilty, torn or frustrated.
I can’t say better than that.
I don’t do it all the time I just feel 100% happier, more effective, capable and fulfilled when I do AND I get something done every day without fail. Something other than the everyday stuff we all do. Lets imagine you work full time and have kids and a commute but you want to write.’
Schedule just ten minutes a day and insist to yourself that no matter what happens, if the sky falls you have to do it. Pretend you have no choice until that becomes a reality, with forced habit it will.
Schedule it, DO IT and wait for how GREAT YOU WILL FEEL when you do.’
A Word on Food
When I’m in this uber productive mode I will make stews, casseroles, curries, chilli etc. One cooking session, two dinners…maybe a lunch as well. Don’t forget to add a no cook night or two, no one will suffer, the opposite in fact.
My children love when I don’t cook as it makes for a more relaxed evening especially when winter sets in and evenings are short. After all it’s you they want, not you all the time slaving over a stove, a sink, or a laptop!
If you have what I’d call a serious project like writing a novel, studying for a course your’re taking or anything that takes a lot of motivation in its own right you should have a designated space and time if possible so your head knows it’s time to get down to work. So while I can paint or read, even blog all over the house, and I do, when it comes to the book I go to the same place at the same time if possible.
What To Do With the Children?
Aah children, what can you do only your best, whatever that is. Involve them where suitable, after all this is all good for them too.
For something like writing where you need head space you have to either get up early or work at night (early’s my choice) or when they’re at school if they’re at that stage, but for something like painting they love it.
I said to my six year old this morning that we have to paint when she gets home and of course she’s delighted and if I don’t deliver, I’m dead, good incentive 🙂
So far today I’ve worked on the book, from 6am to 8am, housework, this blog, lunch, supervised homework and speaking of painting that’s what we’re off to do next. I made a Chicken Cacciatore last night with enough for this evening so that’s dinner sorted and it’s only 3pm as I finish this.
No matter what else happens this day I feel good, peaceful…I could go on but I’ll spare you, your’re welcome.
So I’m always better and have more energy in the morning but I used to feel bad about being tired and what I’d call ‘useless’ in the evenings! Now I understand why and that I can’t maintain this level all the time and that that’s ok! Sometimes I still have to remind myself 🙂
So now you know my secret, it’s work, work on the things I love, no matter if the sky falls, even if only ten minutes.
Want more inspiration? Here’s my three favourite things from around the web last week, enjoy 🙂
3. The Long Game – Check out the two video links, mind blowing! I wish every person on earth could see this.