All too often we place the perfect schedule on a pedestal.
One day, when the kids are grown, when we have the perfect desk, when we have more time, when we’ve left our job… we’ll find the perfect schedule and our fingers will fly over the keyboards to produce record breaking numbers of words. They’ll be insanely good quality words too.
And we and our perfect schedule will ride off into the sunset together.
The reality is that life is a constant stream of changing schedules, and each one requires a transition. Even the Holy Grail of a perfect schedule won’t arrive pain free.
For writers, this most often presents itself as the switch to leaving the day job and becoming a full-time author. For many, it’s the end goal, the ultimate life level unlocked.
And that’s dangerous. Why?
Because that belief means that many writers don’t plan for the transition. They expect that full-time writer life will be an abundance of time (did you hear the LOL from the full-time authors in the back?) leading to an overflow of words every day.
They fail to factor in that every single transition costs you and requires an adjustment period.
Since you’ll certainly face many changes to your schedule in the future, here are some of my tips to help you with the adjustment period that will surely follow:
- Build in an adjustment period. Simply acknowledging that every schedule change will feel awkward and clunky and will require a period of adjustment will help you ease that transition. And let’s be clear. The transition period will happen, whether you plan for it or not. It will just kick your ass more if you don’t plan for it.
- Ask for help. Any time your schedule changes, you should reach out to your support circle and ask for help. You may need to cancel your evening plans for the first few weeks of the new schedule. You may need to ask your spouse to take the kids for a few hours over those first few weekends so that you can reflect and plan, recharge and rest. You may need to go back to your core areas of focus (fully explained in the book) and see what’s realistic for you during the period of transition.
- Be realistic. Any change will take time. Don’t expect that your new schedule will be wonderful on Day 1, even if it’s the exact schedule you’ve been dreaming of for years. Expect that at first it will feel clunky and awkward and strange. Don’t even consider reviewing whether the change is working until a full month has passed, and longer depending on how big the change was.
- Speak to others who’ve made similar changes. One thing I recommend you do is connect with others who have made a transition at around the same time as you, and especially if the change you’ve made is to become a full-time author. Reach out and find another person who has made the jump at around the same time, and treat them as a Transition Buddy. Just hearing that the problems you’re facing aren’t that unique will give you some comfort. It’s easy to imagine that everyone else dives into new schedules immediately without issue, but that simply isn’t the case.
- Celebrate your wins. When the new schedule fails to live up to your high expectations for it immediately, it’s easy to become discouraged. Celebrating your wins is a great way to avoid that. And celebrate everything! You wrote words? Hooray! You did a blog post, updated your email autoresponder campaign, or were invited as a guest on a podcast? Whoop! Make a note of these accomplishments and – here’s the key – review it whenever you feel as if you’re not achieving enough.
- Accept your limits. Let’s say you were writing for an hour a day and getting 1,000 words done. Suddenly, you’re full time and you go into that imagining that you’ll write for eight hours and get 8,000 words done. But is that realistic for you? Are you capable of sitting down and writing for eight hours a day, every day? Have you ever managed it before? Have you ever reached 8,000 words in a day? You’ll avoid tons of heartache if you set yourself goals that reflect your writing limits. For example, I can write 10,000 words in a day on occasion, but I can’t do it every day, no matter how much time I have available.
- Set boundaries. If your schedule change allows you more writing time, that probably means you’ll be at home more. And oh how quickly your loved ones may see that as you being available at all hours to do housework, meet for coffee or make their mundane phone calls. Hopefully you’ll have a support circle who will respect your writing time, but all too often we have to train even the understanding people in our lives that shit just ain’t going down that way. Holler? Now, it’s tough. It’s so tough. If your spouse has gone to work and left a trail of mess behind them, you might develop an eye twitch from trying to ignore that crap all day long. But you must ignore it. Or you’ll find that your new schedule looks like a whole lot of laundry and not many words.
If you are struggling with adjusting to a change in schedule and need more help, a time review consultation may help. You can contact me to enquire about this service.