The Surprising power of Time Slices

January 30, 2013

Just a few short thoughts to share for today. One – about the closing of Six Sentence Sunday. First off, I have to once again give big props to all the admins over at http://www.sixsunday.com for all the work they’ve put into running such a huge ongoing blog hop for so long. I can appreciate that the job only got more stressful once they announced that it was going to be closing, and that they’re sick and tired of hearing pitches about people who want to carry on the torch and want something from them.

But – man, they closed up the shop quickly! I’d been looking forward to reading more entries from last Sunday, and sixsunday.com is locked up tight. Everything’s been taken down, the linky lists, the cover art ads, the FAQ and rules list – just one post saying that they don’t endorse any copycats – and commenting disabled on the post. It’s a little sad for me to see it end that way – would it have hurt anybody to leave the Jan 27th link list available for a full week? Sigh.

Moving on – as you may know, I’ve been doing cleaning timeslices for a long time, off and on. One of my 2013 goals was to keep up an average of 2 hours cleaning and tidying in my apartment for the whole year, and I had a good streak going from December too. So after I was done with work yesterday, I looked around the living room, decided that I should probably tackle the CD containers near the back shelves in my living room, as that was one of the few loci of mess remaining on the living room floor that doesn’t really belong there. Once the floor is actually clear, I can start working on sweeping and even washing the floor! (I’ve already been through this in the other rooms of the apartment – the living room is the last holdout.)

Then I did a bit of math on the numbers from the iPhone project tracker I’ve been using for my January cleaning timeslices and changed my mind. I was up to 9 hours and an odd minute, which was enough to declare that I was keeping up on my goal for the month – I could skate through the rest of the month and dive back into the living room stuff when February started. So I sat down at the Toshiba laptop and worked on some photo conversion stuff for the old Dell Axim handheld that I’d been wanting to get done.

After an hour of that, I figured that I’d done enough for that and needed to get another timeslice marked off on my calendar. So what do I do? Completely forgetting that I’d decided to give myself three days off cleaning, I log back into the hours tracker and spend ten minutes clearing mess off the living room floor! 😀

That’s the power of timeslices right there – when doing something that you’ve always thought of as an unpleasant chore becomes enough of a habit that you find yourself doing it even after you gave yourself a day off from it, or three. 🙂

Are you doing any timeslices lately? What’s the most unappealing project you’ve gotten through a little bit at a time?


The December call to relax.

December 20, 2011

I’m starting to feel like I’m in dire need of taking a bit more time to relax.

I dove head-first into new projects as soon as Nanowrimo was over this year – the Holly Lisle revision course, outlining ‘Magic Manuscript’, reading and critiquing stories, driving lessons, and so on. That’s all good stuff. But I may want to dial back my December to-do list just a little bit so that I can chill out.

What about you, have you been relaxing lately?


The fallacy of ‘If I only had time to write…’

September 21, 2011

I really should know better than to fall for this one.

But it’s so tempting – you see so much of your days taken up by going to work, routine chores – or conventions in distant places, whatever – and still you manage to get a little writing done. So the idea’s obviously going to occur to you at some point: “If I only had a few days with nothing to worry about but writing, how much could I get done?”

I’m off work this week without any impressive travel plans, and I’ve managed to get some things from my to-do list crossed off, including critiques, finishing up a revision, and catching up with the Campaign. I’ve even gotten a new chapter finished on a crossover fanfic that I’ve been wanting to tie up.

But I still feel like I’m going to fall short of the targets that I’d hoped for stay-cation productivity. And that’s mostly because of the obvious reason that time to write is not enough. You need to have mental energy to draw on, and inspiration, and focus. After this summer, I didn’t really realize how low my reserves were getting, and doing other things to recharge them is much better than pushing too hard.

Like Aesop’s tortoise, I’ll get there in the end – wherever it is that I’m heading.

And thank you very much to Brinda Berry for the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. 🙂


Monthly projects lists

September 23, 2010

I’ve been keeping a monthly projects list for about a year and a half now – it’s another Stringing Words thing, that started pretty much as soon as the forum restarted on its own domain in March 2009. Different members post their to-do items in the same monthly thread, and cheer each other along a little, like we do with the word count threads. I can’t remember if the same thing happened on the ‘old’ Stringing words, and all the content there was lost so I can’t check – probably that doesn’t matter.

The funny thing is, nearly from the first I guess my projects have seemed to fall along a spectrum from ‘creative’ to ‘not’ – Stringing Words is a site about creative endeavours, after all, mostly literary ones, and a lot of the projects fit with that focus – finishing stories, starting story ideas, posting critiques, proofing, revising, stretching your writing skills and so on.

And then, there are the ‘real life’ sort of goals – finding scholarships, tidying up, decorating, finishing academic classes in good standing. I post those kind of projects more often than many other Stringers, I think, and it’s probably good for me – that I’ve found somewhere to put things like cleaning, insurance, medical tests, and driving lessons on a checklist where I can get that sense of accomplishment from crossing each one off when they’re done, and also feel some vague sense of accountability to people that I know if I don’t manage to complete them in time.

Tomorrow, if all goes well, I should get two more real life projects done!


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