So I kicked that cold, and I got through the few days of bitterly cold and dry weather that had my knees rehearsing for what being ninety might be like, and actually I didn’t do that bad in terms of productivity and sanity in spite of everything. (There’s been a lot of everything, having to do with personal and job stuff I don’t think it’s cool to discuss here. Hope you understand.)
BUT, starting tomorrow, I’m healthy again and, with a few exceptions scattered around each week, I will, in the main, have control of my own time for a while. I’ve been convinced of the power of Cal from Study Hacks’ system (which I have no right whatsoever to call Uber Time Management; I’m just amusing myself there) from my part-time experience with it the last few weeks, and now I want to give it a go for real.
However, I should mention that I’m openly interpreting this schedule in a way that I feel will fit my life; I’m not copying it (properly called "Fixed-Scheduled Productivity") wholesale. I think this is an important point, since I’m always telling people not to interpret or "guesstimate" things too much with regards to polyphasic sleep. There are reasons I think this is a different thing, though: Polyphasic sleep works as a system due to some (rather poorly understood) quality or qualities of human physiology. While consistency in the schedule is necessary to adapt to it, there is not good evidence that any schedule can be adapted to by applying enough consistency; and further, it might be dangerous to push through sleep-deprivation too long, so constantly "working on" a schedule is a pretty bad idea. Hence, it’s better to stick with what will probably work. When it comes to scheduling, though, getting it wrong isn’t dangerous; making changes is relatively painless; and one could argue that consistency and discipline alone may be able to make almost any schedule work, if it fit a person’s lifestyle — there’s a lot less in the way of possible biological limits and hinderances here than there is with sleep. So I feel alright about handrolling this a bit.
My goal is to be able to juggle several daunting "administrative" tasks, while simultaneously putting more and more concerted effort into my writing, and also into things that might make it more possible for me to spend more time writing in the long-term. (Again, many of those plans and tasks are at stages that it’s not wise to be public about the details; and again I apologize for the ‘tease’.)
Here’s how the schedule looks, starting tomorrow. (Under the cut in case you don’t care.)
(I took yesterday Firmly Off as it was badly needed; today I’m putting together my plans for making the most of the coming weeks and months.)
- I’m going to 6am class all three times per week, in addition to my regular doses. It’s both to keep me getting up early, and so that I start these potentially very difficult days in the right frame of mind. The early classes are Monks’ classes, with the long meditations and meditative forms, and they do start a day right!
- I have two Administrative and two Writing periods a day. Admin in the early morning (8:30-10), Writing after (10-12p), then a break for lunch and a nap (until 1:30p), Admin until mid-afternoon (1:30-3:30), and Writing until the day is over at 5:30 or so. I took a hint from Cal and decided how much of my time I wanted to spend on certain things (and then realistically decided that I couldn’t spend all or even most of it writing fiction, and reluctantly allocated half for the administrative things, because they’re quite big and there’s between three and five of them going on at a time. Que sera.)
- I get up to exercise a bit between each section of my day. My cell phone alarm (the one that my family says "sounds like a funk band is trapped in your phone and frantically trying to get our attention") lets me know when it’s time to switch tasks.
- Unlike Cal, I do have "work" that I do before and after my "day" ends at 5:30, such as my share of the housework. But also unlike Cal, I’m polyphasic and stopping work at 5:30 leaves me literally seven hours of day left to do whatever, plus three in the morning before I get started. (I know, o.O, right?)
- I’ve divided up my administrative times: The one in the morning is for Big Admin Project Maintenance, which includes lists, emails, letters, phone calls and scheduling meetings and such for the various Admin Things. The one in the afternoon is for Personal Project Maintenance, meaning this site, fiction submissions, and a few other things I want to do while I’ve got the time (you will find out about those, don’t worry!).
- Every day my FIRST admin task is to write a short list of the specific tasks I’ll address during each of those time-blocks on that particular day. Similarly, my LAST task is to update all the measurer-ers keeping track of what I’ve done — crossing things off lists, writing down how many pages I wrote today, etc. (I started doing these "first and lasts" last week, and they’re a real help.)
- Similarly, I designate the types of writing times: The morning one is for fiction, and make no mistake, if all that works about this schedule is that I get two hours to write fiction every single weekday, then holy gods and golems, will I call that a success! Even since I’ve gotten much stricter about writing every day, I’m often lucky to get an hour. …And the afternoon one is for nonfiction, meaning blog posts and articles and such. I may even have a paying project or two to work on in there. ;)
- One thing about Cal’s system that I think is a great idea, but that I may not be able to implement myself, is the "tell everyone and everything that is not on your schedule to eff off" part. I think that’s brilliant, actually; and I do intend to protect my scheduled time as much as possible. Random things that need to happen at odd times, though, are a certainty, and for monetary reasons I won’t be able to turn them down. So sometimes life will barf my schedule. I’m preparing to be patient, and do my best to make up at least my fiction-writing time whenever I can. Hopefully it won’t happen TOO often!
So that’s the skinny. My Everyman3 sleep schedule will stay the same (though I expect it to improve quite a bit in terms of stability; and if it does, I may take the opportunity to experiment more with other schedules, too). I’d like to get my "diet" back too, mostly because I really miss how mindful it made me, and how great all the food I ate was tasting, but I promised myself I wouldn’t mess with it until after the holidays, which, I keep forgetting, are going to entail all kinds of craziness themselves, too.
As always, I’m really interested to hear what anybody else thinks. Also, if I owe you an email, blanket apologies…I got behind at Life this week!