After the last week of intense pressure, preceded by a couple of weeks that were nearly at that level, I find myself in transition. It’s not just the loss of pressure – I do have many, many other pressing projects that I must now list, prioritize, and begin to implement. It’s also the loss of routines.
I find it very easy to slide into the mindset of ‘I don’t need to do it now. I’ll relax a little…” right after a school session ends. I really can’t indulge in that (much. I am taking the weekend off). The problem is that unless you maintain some kind of routine, life can get away from you. The first step to re-organizing is getting back to daily blogging. I need that, as much for the sheer discipline of having the one thing (ok, there are a lot more than one) to do in a day. And my readership is down. I’ve been absent too often, and when I am here, writing too little of general interest. Like today, which is mostly about coping with transitions that many of my readers don’t have in their lives.
But still. We all have changes to life from time to time. Mine are more frequent due to school schedules and life uncertainties. Which, in theory, means I have practice at coping with the changes. So here’s a few things that work for me. YMMV, and all that.
- Make lists. For the last couple of months I have been putting off low-priority projects, telling clients, family, and myself that they will happen after finals. Well, after finals is now, and I am going to have to go back through my emails and messages to piece together everything I need to pick up and get done. Why didn’t I make a running list? Um. I’m not perfect? Also, it would have been overwhelming on top of the NOW projects.
- Take some down time. Not a lot – I could probably let half the summer slip by, curled up in jammies and happily munching through the TBR stack. Instead, I’ll plan and schedule the down time, and come Monday morning I’ll get up, get dressed to my shoes, take a walk and when I walk back into the office, I’m reporting to work.
- Set goals. I’ve stated here and elsewhere I plan to write two novels this summer. That’s pretty clear, but still nebulous. Easy to push off. If, however, I say that, and then break it down to a daily goal – 200K words (give or take 50K) in 70 days (this is taking weekends and a full week for vacation off) then I am looking at 3000 words a day. Doable. Quite doable. A lot of work, yes, but then, this is my work this summer, barring a summer job opening up – which would be another transition, and re-planning.
- Reset a routine. Talk to your family/housemates, and work out the new routine. If you don’t, then you’re in danger of drifting along at the whim of the moment, and this kills productivity. In my case, the new routine will involve more exercise time and set hours for writing in. Also, there are things I want to continue doing, like my daily art, but I may need to reconsider the timing. During school, it happened either during classes (heh) or late at night before bed. I’m hoping to keep evenings open for family time, so art is going to move.
- Be open to change. I have a bunch of stuff behind the scenes that could precipitate yet another transition. None of us ever know when life’s going to change. So when it does, just be ready to repeat all these steps, take a deep breath, and do it again.
- Celebrate! Ok, maybe this is just me and the transition from school to summer. But I feel like I just ran a race and finished with a good time. I know what some of my class grades are, the others I won’t know for a few days yet. But barring something unseen, I did well this semester. So I need to plan something to celebrate. Being me, I think this may involve a trip to our favorite Korean restaurant and maybe that backwoods antique shop I like so much. Or a long hike. Or a trip to the zoo. Or… OOH! a trip to the art museum. Yeah… choices.
And with that, I’m off to work on an initial list.
So, how do you cope with transitions in your life?