Tag Archives: work

No excuses left!

Well, there are always excuses, but I’ve got a lot fewer now than I had a fortnight ago.

My husband and I spent last weekend clearing out one of the bedrooms that had been a repository for Random Useless Crap (which had been useful at some stage), and rearranging it into a workroom for me, leaving him in sole position of the other bedroom as an office.

We’ve bought actual desks – one each – and I’ve got a new laptop to replace the creaky old desktop computer I’ve had for years (thus discovering that our home broadband isn’t nearly as slow as I thought it was). Now I just need a chair… we’re both using dining chairs that we got free some years ago from someone who was throwing them out, presumably because they have the tendency to come apart at inopportune moments. You have to balance quite carefully and not make any sudden moves…

But the result of all this industry and expense is that I now have somewhere in the house where it’s actually possible to work reasonably comfortably, and a decent-sized screen and keyboard with which to do it. Now all I have to do is find the time.

Some people seem to be able to just sit down at a computer and start writing, and keep going until they have a complete story (like Stephen King, or like the Mad Hatter: start at the beginning, go on till the end, and then stop). I am not one of those people. I need a plan, with step-by-step instructions. Otherwise I tend to get lost, or stuck. And the week after next, for the first time since 2006, my husband and I are actually going on holiday. Real holiday, where you actually sleep somewhere that is not your house for more than two nights in a row. We’re going to a little cottage somewhere in the Peak District, and we’re taking our respective computers, and we’re determined to do nothing but relax, plot, write and… maybe do some other stuff.

However, the advantage of having had no time (in between cooking, cleaning, ironing, studying and working) to do any actual writing is that I’ve had quite a bit of time to think about the story and the characters. And my two main characters have changed; I realised that I had a big problem with my fantasy world – i.e., that really it wouldn’t have worked the way I had it. I also found another character presenting herself to my attention. The solution turned out to be that if I merged my main character with the new character, that made a change to the world possible that straightened out the problem.

I wouldn’t have thought of it – or at least not until several thousand words down the road – if I’d had the time to start writing a while ago. Of course, one change means that other changes happen – having changed my main character, my other protagonist also has to change. So I’ve now got two completely different people, and I’ve got to work out exactly who they are now. But, it should be a better story for it.

So, the week after next is The Week For Writing. Because if I can’t get a plot plotted with a whole week assigned to just that task (and maybe some other stuff…) then I have no hope of getting anything actually written.

Let’s see what happens. 🙂

You know you always said there weren’t enough hours in the day…?

David Neeleman said: “Seat assignment didn’t matter if you’re flying Dallas to Houston and you did it 38 times a day. People just got on, you didn’t sit next to your wife, and it was a 45-minute flight. It didn’t matter.”

Tiff says: 45 minutes x 38 = 1710 minutes. 1710/60 = 28.5.

Now, if you are flying to Houston 38 times a day, which would be 28.5 hours’ flying time, that’s a pretty mean achievement since most people only manage to pack a measly 24 hours into a day. But in order to fly to Houston more than once, you also have to fly back. So add another (45 x 37)/60 = 27.75 hours. Add the two together: 28.5 + 27.75 = 56.25.

And the Nobel Prize for Physics goes to David Neeleman for managing to invent the 56 hour day.

I hope my boss doesn’t find out.

The Gentle Art of Procrastination


That is what I have been doing all week (or more), and that is why I haven’t been posting anything but ‘Thought for the Day’.

Procrastination is when you have a task you know you are going to have to do, but you keep putting it off and putting it off, and doing other things instead just so you can say you’ve been ‘too busy’. It’s ultimately self-defeating, because you still have to do the unpleasant task, and by the time you do, you have to do it in a hurry.

Or, if you are an advanced procrastinator (like me), you know that The Job is quite important, so you can’t do anything less important in front of it in the queue. Which means that everything gets backed up behind The Job. You’ve no idea how backed up I am at the moment… 🙁

Still, I have now done The Job and life should get back to normal. I can stop obsessively doing all the ironing, and fiddling with my brand-new iPhone 5 (which absolutely had to be set up exactly right as a matter of urgency, you understand).

I shall now go and enter all the other (backed up) tasks on a List. There are now so many of them that I need to get them pinned down where they can’t wriggle around and multiply. They’re worse than rabbits, I tell you, and a lot less fluffy.

Of course, the Making Lists is also a technique in the advanced procrastinator’s armamentarium; one can spend so much time making lists, and then Lists of Lists, that one doesn’t actually have time to do any of the tasks on any of the lists…

You just can’t win…