Timing is Everything

There is something to be said for timing.

As with most things, especially in creative jobs, it is either achingly slow or so busy you want to throw up.

Recently, despite my constant output, it’s been slow workwise for me.

At first, I was incredibly frustrated.  After all, I didn’t even take a break at Christmas, while my fella took 2 weeks off and played video games (a much deserved break, I must add)  I’ve been working like crazy.  But after a week, I realized that this happens to everyone and it’s certainly happened to me before, so why not embrace it?

So I did my taxes (and then wrote an article about it!) and cleaned out my “office” (a rolltop desk at the end of our bed).  That felt good.

During this time, my website went down.  My provider has been awful since the very beginning – unreliable, high fees, poor customer service – but it was such a hassle to change and it can cost me work to not have it up.

I had wanted to change my website platform for some time, but again, it was such a pain.  Now that it was down any way, it was the perfect time.

And the changeover took only a day or so, instead of the week that I was sure it would.  Now my site is back up, it has all the new features that I wanted and because I didn’t have looming deadlines, I was able to spend an entire day on it.  And because I didn’t have 6 articles due as I normally would have, I didn’t have the guilt of having to put off work to do the website (I have guilt for not having the work, but that’s another story…).

My point of all of this is, we all have to do taxes and clean out our desks and redesign our websites.  Or clean out the garage, get a new furnace and figure out what to do with those boxes in the spare room.  Whatever needs doing that doesn’t have a deadline can certainly be put off.  And we do put them off, don’t we?

When those rare opportunities present themselves where you have the gift of time, think of how you want to use it.  I was able to get things done that really needed doing but I just hadn’t made time for.  I’ve learned my lesson now.

On a long subway ride to meet my best friend, I took out my notepad and used the time to come up with other things that needed my attention.  Things that have to get done sometime, that I can either make time for in my schedule now, or I can wait until it’s urgent and I have to put off all other things in order to get them done.

That checklist that I made has transformed itself into little blocks in my calendar.  I’ve added an hour here and there throughout the next few months to take care of those everyday life things that we all need to do.

I feel like I’m on top of it all and yet, I didn’t have to go so out of my way to organize it this way.

I just had to learn the hard way, as per usual.

Stephanie Dickison is the author of the recent book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, which covers her career as book, music and restaurant critic.  She has been a journalist for over a decade and now spends much of her time writing about travel, food, beauty, style and celebrities for various publications and websites.

When she’s not writing, she’s eating, cooking, organizing, filing, making lists in sumptuous notebooks (you must use your beautiful journals) and colour-coding her ever evolving calendar.

She is one of the few writers still using technology AND paper.  But at least her paper is organized into pretty file folders…