After some experimenting, I’ve finally found the perfect solution of getting everything done in a day. That is, to split my day up into several chunks.
About three to four times a week I get up at 4am. It’s to take advantage of the quiet time before the kids wake. For years I thought I was a night owl and would work late into the night. And only in the last year did I discover that, in fact, I worked best in the morning.
Around 7am, sometimes earlier, the kids tumble out of their beds. A quick breakfast of porridge all round, and I’m back on my computer or blackberry – for emails, the day’s to-do list and jotting down ideas and notes.
After the school run, on the walk home, is a great time for ideas for features. I put it down to the fresh air and brisk walk.
Then I enter phase two of the day. Mostly it’s finessing what I wrote from earlier in the morning. Then it’s on to drafting the next piece or researching more ideas. Lunch is either at the desk or standing up while prepping the kids’ tea.
Phase three of the day, I’ve found the most difficult. Slightly sluggish from lunch – even if it’s only a light one – I go into tunnel vision. It’s one foot ahead of the other and getting on with it until it’s time for the school run again.
When we get home, that’s phase four. And this part has to be executed with military precision. The kids get their tea within 30 minutes of setting foot in the house or they go ballistics from tiredness and low blood sugar levels. While they feed, I slope off back on the computer to round up the day’s work, tie up loose ends, or there might be a conference call.
Actually, there’s no such thing as finishing up a day’s work. Working for yourself is unlike working for somebody else. Work just trickles into the next day and the cycle continues. Exactly the same as having children.