I was an untidy child.
Where my brother relied on a ruler to line up his toy cars, I lived with jumbled abandon. Thank heavens our mother was teetotal, or the ghastly state of my bedroom would surely have driven her to drink.
I can’t remember when it was — or what prompted it, for that matter — but at some point I changed. Always one for extremes, I went from being super scruffy to annoyingly tidy. It turns out being too much of a neat freak is just as counterproductive. Maybe even more so.
I spent countless hours scrubbing every nook and cranny of my home with a toothbrush and all I got for my effort was a fleeting sense of accomplishment (and washerwoman hands). Not pretty or productive.
I eventually let go of my compulsive behavior and found a happy medium. Now I focus on doing the right thing at the right time. But what does this have to do with writing more?
Why mornings (and evenings) matter
What do your mornings look like? Do you fly out the door with wet hair and a slice of toast clenched between your teeth?
If that sounds like you, you’re either a snooze-button junkie or you’re doing stuff in the morning that you could be doing the night before. Both can make for a stressful start to your day. Rushed mornings can also mean you come home to a pile of dirty dishes, an unmade bed, or other tasks you didn’t get around to doing.
Living like this drains your energy and saps your creativity. Is it any wonder you’re not writing more? Or at all, for that matter?
Think about what you can do in the evenings or on the weekend that will give you more time in the morning: ironing a shirt, polishing shoes, packing lunch, etc.. Using this approach will not only give you a sense of accomplishment; you’ll also feel more relaxed knowing you have less to tackle in the mornings.
The indisputable benefits of being a neat freak
Chores suck, I get it, but the alternative is worse. If you get into the habit of not just staying on top of your chores, but actually doing them at the right time, your life will transform itself.
You’ll be more creative. It will help you overcome that bout of writer’s block you’ve been struggling with.
Messy surroundings leave you uninspired and unable to focus. The opposite is also true. Without the distraction of clutter your mind is free to create.
You’ll have more time for the things that matter.
You can put all that extra time you used to spend doing last-minute chores to much better use. You could write 500 words for your new novel, pitch that magazine, outline a blog post, schedule your editorial calendar for the rest of the year. The list goes on.
It will free you up to plan for freelance-writing success.
Whether you are already a free agent or if intend to quit your cubicle in the not-too-distant future, the sooner you start planning for your imminent success, the sooner it will happen.
Time is elastic
We’ve all experienced how five minutes can feel like a week or how an hour can fly by in a nanosecond. When you focus on doing things at the right time, you’ll get them done sooner. Conversely, leaving your chores until the last minute invariably means they’ll take longer.
Why? Your head isn’t in it.
Doing something the night before won’t make it more fun, but you’ll be focused on the task at hand and ultimately more efficient. Leave it until the morning and your mind will be elsewhere (the office, the traffic, your inbox, etc.).
Doing the things you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do them is boring and nerdy.
Obviously you’d rather be [fill in the blank], but at least give it a try before you count it out. You can thank me (in vegan cupcakes) later.
How do you plan your daily chores so you still have time to write?