Monday, May 16, 2016

Chunking!

Wendy Wisner's newest piece for Scary Mommy introduced me to the word chunking:

"The latest theories on time management advise strongly against multitasking—good news for me. The new catchphrase is “chunking,” and it basically means that rather than trying to get everything done at once, you set aside specific chunks of time, and then just work. Do nothing else."

I love this word that describes my approach to accomplishing anything since adding motherhood to the juggling act of cobbling together a full-time job from part-time ones: poet, adjunct, writing teacher and private writing coach. (How's that last sentence for mixed metaphors? That is pretty much what it feels like. Varied, fun and sometimes confusing.)

I live by my calendar program. I input everything, from taking a walk to doing laundry to grading exams to submitting poems to hustling for teaching assignments the following semester. Everything is color coded and in-person appointments are in separate "calendars" shared with my husband, so that we can better coordinate who is picking up our son from daycare and when we might be free for, imagine that!, a date night.

My main time management tip is to literally schedule your writing time and other projects that easily get pushed to the side since the creative projects are (usually) less time sensitive. If you schedule the time to write and accomplish a task, one that you want to do or would rather procrastinate, you will actually show up to do it.

It is like setting a timer: You can focus on anything for a short period of time and then give yourself a break. But first, you have to show up and do the work. And then it will perhaps be done, but at least be started.

What is your best approach to making sure that the balls you are juggling don't hit you in the head on their way down?


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