Writerly Productivity: The Half and Half Schedule

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Note: Today’s post is about habits and daily schedules. Depending upon how you’re wired, this will either be interesting or deadly dull. 😉

Ah, schedules! Back in my corporate days I had a color-coded schedule that was rather overblown. It was tighter than a mouse fart, integrated with my to-do list, and I tended it like a Zen garden. But when I ditched my business suits for jeans I resolved to be schedule-free.

I was over it! No more telling myself what to do, when. Freedom, baby!

Well, few people are truly schedule free. Most of us tend to have a schedule even if we don’t write it down. And I’ve learned that the whole “sit down at the same every day and write” thing means more books, so my love of the daily schedule has returned, albeit in a less rigid form. And for the months of July and August I’m experimenting with a new schedule to see if I can pull off two new tricks:

  1. Exercising regularly

  2. Working on two books at the same time

Today I’ll break down my plan. Who knows? Perhaps someone else will find it interesting. But I have a mostly selfish motive. By putting it here in my blog I’m less likely to slack off.

Exercise

Last year, P & I completed the Couch to 5k running program but we didn’t stick with it. I liked running, and I’ve been wanting to get back into it.

Writing

Also, I’ve been intrigued by the example of prolific writers like Amanda M Lee who work on multiple books at once. Write book A while editing book B, for example.

So, fellow productivity nerds, here’s what I’m trying out:

The Half-and-Half Schedule

Named for half writing, half editing.

7:30 Drink Coffee, read, blog, and/or wake up.

8:30 Walk and Walk/Run on alternate days for 30 minutes

9:30 Write (project A)

12ish Lunch (usually listening to a podcast)

1:00 Edit (project B)

3:30 Marketing Hour

In practice, my routine won’t be quite so tidy. I take a lot of afternoon walks so sometimes a task or two gets pushed into the evening. Sometimes I start my day later because my body wants more rest. And I have some meetings to manage. But I like the schedule and I’m curious to see how this will go. Can I stick with the running? (P will run with me. ❤️ ) And can I get into a groove working on two books at once? Writing and editing are distinct activities, so I’m hopeful that switching between them won’t exhaust my brain.

I recently read Atomic Habits and thought it was excellent, so I’ll adopt the author’s advice to make good habits easy.

  • Setting out running clothes the night before.

  • Saving tasky (less intense) work for the end of the day when I’m tired.

  • Focusing on super pleasant runs, enjoying the experience instead of pushing for speed or achievement.

Anyway, that’s the plan!

I’m drinking coffee now and waiting for my brain to boot up. And after our quick morning run I’ll try my first half-and-half day: writing Ellie Tappet #4 in the morning, and editing Power Play after lunch.

I’ll check back at some point and let ya’ll know how it’s going.