Around the beginning of August I was feeling the pressure of my full time day job and so many deadlines approaching in the weeks thereafter. As I am not the only aspiring author out there trying to fit my writing into that small space left over after the obligations of day job, family and other real world responsibilities are met, I find I am wondering how the rest of you do it. So, let me share with you the reality of the last few months and maybe we can compare notes.
Here I am at the end of September with two successful speaking engagements behind me, my second book in the hands of my copy editor, my abstract submitted on time to the American Association of Physical Anthropology, and only a scholarly article to finish (with a whole month to do so). An impressive series of accomplishments, to be sure, but rest assured that this short burst of literary and scholarly productivity was achieved at the expense of just about everything else. I’ve aged a few years, gained perhaps as many pounds (I refuse to get on the scale) and my liver has asked me to take a break from that dram or two (or three) of whiskey enjoyed at the end of each long day. The house is a mess, the garden is full of weeds and both my phone and computer have long since reached their capacity to store messages.
On the positive side, my husband and my son are alive and well and have managed to care for themselves adequately while I have been otherwise occupied (my son even learned to do his own laundry). Thanks to the Higgins men I had clean clothes and takeout food to sustain me as I worked into the wee hours of the night.
At work, my very dedicated staff exceeded my expectations in their efforts to ensure that all of the pooches entrusted into our care each day were safe and happy. Had it not been for their diligence, I would not have been able to retreat into my tiny office for a few hours during the day to finish a chapter or tweak a Power Point presentation. The only barrier to productivity during that bonus window of time was the gassy old hound who lounged daily just outside my office door.
So, at the end (almost) of a several long weeks of intense productivity, I have survived with my family and my business intact. Don’t be too impressed. Assuming I didn’t die of exhaustion, I doubt very much that my loving family and loyal staff would be so supportive were this schedule to continue. A long term strategy is needed if I am to persist with this very precarious juggling act. How do you get the most out of each of the 24 hours and still keep your life, your love and your sanity intact?