Last September I started my 14-month short story collection plan. In order to dedicate four hours every week to these stories, I needed to pull that time away from other things in my life. In addition to checking out my initial time management post, here are the other areas that I drained some time from in order to have time to write:
- Fitness. My usual workouts were 60-minute sessions, five days per week, plus a 90-minute weekly workout. I cut these sessions to 30 minutes, four days per week. With this reduced fitness schedule, I met all my writing goals, but I gained ten pounds in nine months! Essentially, my short story collection is a 10-pound baby! I was thrilled to finish revising my short stories earlier this month because that means I am back to my usual hour-long workouts and looking forward to burning this book weight off!
- Food preparation. I love to cook and eat local. Over the past year I’ve shifted my food-sourcing to local farmers’ markets. I’m fortunate to live in North Carolina where agriculture is the #1 industry. I’m also fortunate to live in a county whose #1 industry is agriculture. My little town of Pittsboro has three farmers’ markets every week. I now stop by one or two of them each week to pick up the produce and meats we need. These spots are all close to home and I may spend 15-20 minutes there. Now I only go to the supermarket once per month. The supermarket used to be a 90-minute weekly ordeal (when I didn’t order the groceries ahead of time) that I’ve now condensed to a one-hour monthly visit. Supporting the local farms is cheaper, tastes better, is healthier, supports the local economy, and takes less time. Wins all around! I also started meal-prepping one night per week to make cooking easier and faster.
- Cleaning. I am happiest and write best in a clean and organized home. When I lived in an apartment, I would vacuum twice per week and kept the space fairly spotless. Since moving into a house a few years ago, I find it’s a challenge to vacuum even once per week. There’s the extra demand of yard work too. Plus, with the house, we have chickens and bees and those are time demands that we didn’t have before. So, last September, I hired a cleaning service. The crew comes in once per month and dusts, surface cleans, makes the bathrooms sparkle, vacuums, and steams the floors—all in 45 minutes! If I were to do all that work it would take me 4-5 hours. Their visits help keep our living space in order, which helps me keep my writing in order.
Although I’m going back to my old fitness routine, I’m keeping the other new routines I’ve made over the past year: supporting local farmers at the market and supporting the local women-owned cleaning business that tidies our house. Getting rid of a 10-pound book baby is a lot of work—I’ll need all the time I can manage!