How Do You Do it All?

It always surprises me when I get comments here on the blog that say, wow, you do so much! Because I don’t feel like I do.

Sometimes the answer is “slowly.” Sometimes, the answer is, “I don’t.”

Sure, I have a full time job. I write, I design book covers and format books, I occasionally do side work in web design/development for friends and relatives. I occasionally take writing workshops. I have a family, although my daughter is now in college, so it’s just me and DH. And DH is semi-retired, so he does a lot of things like grocery shopping, cleaning (sort of), and shares in the cooking. That helps a LOT.

I didn’t always have it this good. My husband used to own another business–a bar–and that was a 70+ hours a week job, so he wan’t home much. We had a cleaning lady come in twice a week, and DH mowed the lawn and did the outside work but I did everything else in the house. When our daughter got to be older, she grew interested in cooking, so she helped with that sometimes, and when she didn’t, it was her job to clean up after dinner, unless she had tons of homework (then I did it). The writing happened slowly then, and sometimes not at all. I also wasn’t doing book covers and formatting then, either.

So that’s where “slowly” comes in. Lately, I can do one thing after dinner on weeknights, and lately I’ve tried to make that be writing. I do the other stuff on the weekends. So when I have other things going on during the weekend, the other stuff often doesn’t get done. Same with writing–if I have something else I have to do that night (paperwork, for instance), the writing usually doesn’t happen. It’s just something I’m learning to accept.

ROW80Logo175Which brings me around to this week’s ROW80 goals. I had other things going on this week, one of which was to spend an evening playing trivia with friends. Formatting the interior of a print book is a big job, if you take the time to really do it up nice, so that took up a couple of evenings, too, as I was determined to get it done this week, and knew I’d need Saturday to do the cover. So I only got 2,000 words written. Not what I wanted, but better than zero, yes? I didn’t manage to get much fitness in, either. But the print book did get done, and is now out with the client/friend for proofing and approval.

I have things going on for the weekend, so this week, I’m going to cut back a bit:

  • Writing: 2500 words
  • Fitness: 3x
  • Other: Print book changes as needed, make last small changes on website that was finished last week

What about you–do you sometimes have to step back and reassess your limits? If so, what did you learn? And whether or not you’re a writer and/or are doing ROW80, how did you do on whatever you wanted to accomplish this week? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

12 Responses to \

  1. Sometimes I wonder how I find the time. Practice has definitely gotten me here. Those first couple rounds of ROW80 were pretty poor on my part. Each round I seem to do a little better. The big thing for me is to simply try again and keep moving forward.
    2k is fabulous and you got to spend time with friends and get other things done too. Well done, Jennette! Here’s to another great week.

  2. There are days/weeks where it doesn’t feel like I’ve been an harried mess and I have nothing to show for it. Then there are the days/weeks where I feel like I didn’t get anything accomplished only to be surprised by how much I actually crossed off the list.

    :shrug: Mostly I’m still looking for balance 🙂

    Nice progress this week Jennette. Wishing you a fabulous week.

  3. Jennette, this is a busy season. It’s tax time and we’re all scrambling with lots of paperwork to make that deadline. I’m sure this is affecting you also. There’s only so many hours in a day. And as I’ve said before, you do very well. So take a deep breath and slowly let it out. You wrote 2,000 words. That’s moving forward girlfriend. Sometimes it takes baby steps. And you’re posting regularly on Sundays. Wahoo! Keep it up! Have a great week! 🙂

  4. I didn’t get as much done this past week as I’d hoped. My hubby and kids were home during Spring Break, and those are times I simply have to step back, shrug at my work, and make sure I enjoy my family. I did have progress, and that’s what I consider most important.

    Congrats on your progress! 2k is 2k more than you had before. 🙂 Plus, you knocked out some other tasks on your to-do list. Best wishes for a good week, Jennette!

  5. I think sometimes I get caught up with lists and momentum and then that invariably leads to me stepping back and thinking about balance. Does the balance part ever just come naturally?? 🙂 Happy writing this week!

  6. Not a damn thing wrong with slowly. I have a pretty rigid schedule that keeps me focused. I do all of the housework at my house too, all of the cooking (unless I want to eat pizza every night), most of the laundry, and all of the errand running. I buy the groceries, put it all way, plan the meals, plan the entertainment, plan the budget and pay the bills.

    I have 1 day a week for writing and I demand that no one interrupt me on that one day. Its usually Sunday, when my husband goes to work (8-4) and sometimes later if I’m on a roll. It seems like it takes forever for my books to get written and that leaves very little time to market, for social media, to plan my writing strategies, etc.

    On top of that, I’m the president for my local writer’s group which involves meeting attendance, agenda planning, board meeting planning and attendance, interacting with RWA, member “policing,” (not that there’s a lot of that) and other related stuff.

    Time is precious, but when you have a schedule and you stick to it, everything gets done.

    Here’s to all the hard-working, over achievers! I tip my hat to you.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. I’ve tried being Wonder Woman and doing it all, and that didn’t work out so well. I wound up exhausted, constantly fatigued, and feeling like I wasn’t doing anything very well because I was so run down.

    I think we live in a society that emphasizes quantity and productivity. “I had a productive week,” we chime. How much have we done? How much can we do? But not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted, as the saying goes. We emphasize moderation in other aspects of our lives–why not in our work?

  8. SJ, “try again and keep moving forward” – that’s the ticket! And thanks!

    Raelyn, balance is always the goal–so hard to find sometimes. Thanks!

    Karen, thanks–I’m all about baby steps!

    Julie, sometimes we just have to prioritize, huh? I’m happy with what I got done–thanks!

    Coleen, I don’t think it does.

    Patricia, your schedule sounds like mine used to be when my husband owned the bar–I did all that stuff (only was Treasurer for my RWA chapter, not President, thank goodness). Sometimes I wonder how. But you’re right, nothing wrong with slowly!

    Denise, I’ve done the same thing, and totally agree! That’s why I just try to accept doing more slowly now.

  9. I think you do a lot. I’m always impressed by all that you accomplish. I keep going until exhaustion forces me to lay down and rest or take a nap. Of course, I can’t do that when caring for the grand babies, so I psyche myself up to get through the day, then come home and collapse! It’s such a great feeling to make progress, though, even if it’s slow.

    Hey, Jennette, I want to use your funny wedding story in an upcoming post. I was wondering if you happen to have a photo from your wedding with the bottom of your hubby’s shoes and the message that was on them that everyone could see when you two were kneeling at the altar. If you don’t, I’ll see if I can find a photo and play around with it on Pic Monkey.

    I enjoyed “The Storm,” first episode in Time’s Tempest. Doing a serial is a great idea! Looking forward to Episode 2!

  10. Awww, Lynn, thanks! For your kind words on both my post and “The Storm!” I got sidetracked on Episode 2 with another Saturn Society project, but I think you will really like this one. 🙂

    I do have a photo–I’ll scan it and email to you!

  11. Getting up super early helps me get more things done. I’m a morning person, and pretty much brain dead by 7 p.m.

    You still amaze me with how much you can fit in, even if you do have to do it slowly:)!