Blog Post #25: My Schedule Working from Home for Myself

How I utilize time blocking to get things done and keep myself from spiraling into anxious chaos. 

I need routines, now that I’ve entered my 30’s I can admit that to myself.  In my teens and 20’s my schedule was all over the place. Even after getting married and living with my very conscientious husband, who often lectured me on how I wasn’t helping myself by staying up late into the night and waking up at eleven, I couldn’t manage to get myself on a decent routine.

With the tragedy of the new year, I realized how deeply I needed a routine to pull me out of my depression, and now that I’m working on fine tuning that routine, I’m returning to the concept of time blocking.

Time blocking is something that I’ve tried to do multiple times but always failed due to burn out. When I was working fulltime, clearly my job “blocked” a huge amount of my day. Staying up late into the night was the only way I was able to get any writing done because my husband would go to bed at a decent time, unlike me. I would stay up until 1AM, 2AM, sometimes even 3AM if it was a Friday or Saturday night. No longer do I push myself into the wee hours, mostly because I realized how counter productive it was to wake up half way through the day. 

I get to bed every night at 10PM. I do not set an alarm, I let myself sleep as long as I need. Sometimes I wake up at 6:30-7:00, other times I wake up at 8:00-9:00. After waking up I try to go for a walk/jog as soon as possible, otherwise I will talk myself out of it. I’m focusing on weight loss these days, as I am a matron of honor for a wedding and I challenged myself by ordering a dress two sizes smaller than I am… The wedding is Oct 2… Five weeks from now.  So, five weeks to lose two dress sizes… what could go wrong? Heh… 

With the approaching wedding and a HUGE need to get into this dress no matter what, since last week I’ve cut out my carbs again and started walking/jogging and cycling. I was already weight training with my female friends two days a week, so adding cardio + yoga the remaining five days, and reducing my sugar/carbs should do the trick. Hopefully. Otherwise I’m going to have to resort to some insane K-POP idol crash diets in the remaining weeks.

Once I’m done with my hour long walk/jog I make my husband and I some breakfast. This is also the time I’ll have my iced coffee with a sugar-free vanilla pump and a quarter cup whole milk. Then I’ll jump on the stationary cycle down stairs for 25 minutes. After that it’s time for some yoga, about 20 minutes. Then it’s time for a shower. 

After I’m showered I get ready for the day: do something with my hair and face; at least apply sunscreen. Do a little eye make up, throw on a sun dress for the summer (and because my man likes to see me in dresses throughout his work-from-home day). Then it’s time to write, baby. Weirdly enough, being all spiffed up makes me more excited to write romances, as if feeling sexy translates to my writing. Go figure. 

My writing time block is roughly 6-8 hours a day, and will consist of a few sprint sessions (30-45 minutes at a time) followed up by whatever else I need to work on that day, whether its blog posts, brainstorming story plotlines, or working on future projects. I break this time up by taking breaks to clean the house and cook. An example of this would be doing a load of dishes in between writing sprints, something I’m literally gonna go do once I’m done with this blog post. 

My goal everyday is to have the following completed before my husband is off work: 

1) house cleaned
2) dinner cooked
3) writing/project tasks for the day and next day’s tasks planned
4) workout
5) showered/looking beautiful/smelling good

Then we spend quality time together until we go to bed at 10PM to do it all over again. The weekends get crazy because social obligations arise, but my goals for the weekends are to maintain the house enough that I can wake up on Monday morning and not have a stack of dirty dishes, a disgusting bathroom, and four loads of laundry looking at me in the face before I’ve even had coffee. 

Besides, I have to get my cardio in. 

Thank you for reading! See you all Monday!

image credit: getty images, pulled from “How to make running a habit for longer than the lockdown” by Andrea Gaini for Runner’s World 


Blog Post #24: Finishing Rough Drafts and The Last Fifty Pages

Goals for the rest of the week and my thoughts on James Scott Bell’s The Last Fifty Pages.

The past week I celebrated completing the first draft of my dark fantasy romance book Silver Blood. Now it’s on to writing additional scenes for pacing.

Finishing my fourth manuscript felt a little surreal. It’s the first completed manuscript of 2022, and as happy as I am with the draft, sadly, nothing feels good enough when it comes to self-publishing. It’s definitely the most clean of my manuscripts, requiring only minor additional scenes and no major changes to the plot, but I still can’t help but feel like I’m behind the 8-ball. Always behind.

The newest addition to my writing book collection is James Scott Bell’s The Last Fifty Pages, a book very pertinent to my current project. James’s books are very straight forward, a major plus of his craft books because he doesn’t waste time (or pages) being overly verbose; he just tells you exactly what to do. That isn’t to say that you can’t be creative; the entire purpose of writing is to be creative, right? The succinctness of his style just means you’ll be on to writing your manuscript that much quicker. This book is marketed as a writer’s guide to perfect endings, and I hope to utilize the advice in my own revisions.

I’ve made a list of about 19 scenes to add to Silver Blood. If I can write 1,000 words for each scene, that will be 19K words added, bumping me up to (hopefully) 65K words. Then it’s just line edits and proofreading.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for a special announcement! Thank you, each and everyone of you, for reading my blog! I promise, I am not going to keep you guys hanging!

Blog Post #19: Maintaining Relationships While Juggling a Full-Time Job and a Part-Time Dream

Maintaining good relationships with friends, family, and lovers is just as necessary to maintain your sanity as relaxing at home alone and working on your dream.

It’s difficult to give each aspect of your life the attention it deserves without shoving another out of the way, and I’ve been struggling personally with cutting out time for work and working out over time with people/being lazy.  I find it hard to prioritize my personal goals over the opportunities to engage with others, I’ve always been a very social extrovert.

Making plans with people is extremely important, carrying through with those plans is extremely important.

So how does one juggle the desire to maintain friendly relationships while working full-time and pursuing a creative-entrepreneurial endeavor? My personal goal has been to shift my work into times where I’m naturally not going to be seeing people, which surprise, surprise, is the early morning. My female friends are more likely to meet for lunch or for dinner and return to a friend’s house for a movie than they are to get together for breakfast. My husband and I cherish the times we get to spend at night with one another because it’s the quality time that we miss when we both work. We are very attached to one another, and even if we are just reading different things on our phones, it’s the fact we are together that matters. I try to visit my mom once a week, where we talk for hours over cups of coffee.

Shifting your schedule to the easiest option is what needs done, but the ability to get yourself to carry through with it is where we all struggle. Once I’ve figured out the answer for myself, I’ll let you all know. Until then, never stop trying to find the best way for yourself. I do not recommend shutting out opportunities to be with friends as you get older. Being in college, surrounded by other people your own age at all times, getting away from people to study is the main motive, but as an adult, when everyone is running to different jobs, maintaining good friendships and being there is the most important and one of the most difficult things to juggle.

Blog Post #18: The Power of Believing In Yourself

Pushing through insecurity and self-doubt is hard, but believing in yourself is the only way you’ll be able to give all your opportunities and goals 100% of your effort.

I doubt myself when it comes to pursuing self-publishing and writing as a career. It is a field based in talent, and naturally it is highly competitive. Looking at the success of other self-publishing authors doesn’t rile jealousy or envy from me, it just fills me with dread that I won’t have the dedication necessary to fulfill my own dreams.

Yet, it’s always the tiny voice in the back of my mind, the small fire in my belly that says “but why can’t you?”

When you hear that small voice, don’t snuff it out, stoke it with a little hope and determination. When you ditch the plan, when you fall behind, don’t continue to sabotage yourself, try to make the changes you know you need to. Someone might fail over and over again, but it’s that one time that they succeed which makes all the difference in their life.

This is something I always have to remind myself of, that I can always work better to hone my craft when I feel like my writing is terrible and I should just quit, that I can always change the aspects around me to better fit my goals and actually work to help myself achieve what I want.

Everything is within our grasp, we only have to reach out and grab it.

Blog Post #17: In The Hopes of Beginning a Routine that Works

 I have always been a night person. Now I’m coming to terms with how that’s not conducive to getting any additional work done around my 9-5 office job. 

Happy Sunday guys, Sunday is the day before the new week, and thus I want to discuss something I’m starting new tonight: going to bed early and changing my system.

One of my giants to slay has been my lack of a good routine (or system, as I’ve heard them referred to as well). My husband has a great one, he goes to bed every night at 10:00PM he wakes up every morning at 6:30AM, works out most days, showers, packs his food, and leaves for work, giving himself an hour to get everything done and ready for his day.

I’m NOT like this. I hit snooze five times in a row, run out of the house with my hair in a sloppy bun, no packed lunch in hand, not even my water bottle, and definitely no coffee.  At this point I not only sabotaged myself out a peaceful morning, I’ve sabotaged my own diet goals by forcing myself to eat out, thus also sabotaged  our budget, the savings we’re trying to stash before we make the next great leap: parenthood.

I generally steal sleep in the morning, I always have, ever since I was a teenager and talking all night online became the new cool thing and because I don’t go to bed to give myself enough time to get up early, I go to bed with the least time so I can spend it at night, I ruin any hope of a good morning before work. And what do I generally do all night? By the time I get home from work I’m too burnt out to think about writing anything, so I sit around and play video games, watch videos on YouTube, and extend my lowkey night of doing nothing, letting the dishes sit in the sink, left over take out in the fridge, and staring at my phone into the small hours.

This drills down to a deeper level of insecurity: How can I be a good parent if I can’t even make sure I get a shower and pack myself food before I leave for work? How am I going to juggle everything if I can’t even get the basics right? How could I possibly think I could handle parenthood, all of the daily house stuff, and maintain a job? How do other people do all of this, even do more, and keep their heads?

Negative self-talk swirls, feelings of failure swell, but before I let it all mount and drown me, I take a deep breathe and remind myself that tomorrow is a new day, that I have time to get myself together. But like water, the time I have to get it together feels finite, it runs out of my hands, pours out of my control…Or does it? Aren’t these micro failures facilitated by my own actions, my own hands? What if I’m just making excuses?

Listening to people make videos on YouTube, I heard a girl refer to her daily routine as a system, and it really opened my eyes, really made me step back and recognize a routine as not just a daunting list of boxes to check each day, it’s a network of symbiotic relationships between blips of time you spend doing something productive. The system of skin care to maintain my cystic acne prone skin. The system of eating moderate portions of healthy foods to maintain your body, creating a system of work out plans and weight loss/strength goals. Sleeping enough at night is vital to everything.

My goal is to go to bed tonight at 9:00PM, so that I can wake up at 6:00AM. That would give me enough time to cycle, shower, prep food to cook throughout the day, grab all the stuff, and maybe even let me plot my current book for a little bit, all before leaving for work.

I’ll be sure to update you all with my progress (with this, in addition to the book of course), but I’m hoping that by taking the options of sleeping more away from myself (just because I won’t be tired if I allot myself that much time), I’ll be able to have a productive morning, and therefore, a relaxing evening, where all I have to do is pick up the house before bed.  It will be so nice to relax after work and not feel the guillotine of uncompleted chores hanging over me all night.

Make sure you all get enough sleep too 🙂