I Needed a New Plan

My writing habits were improving but I wasn’t writing enough. Potential blog posts were being worked on but not completed. I’d schedule time to write but when the time came I’d usually just focus on other things for my job. 

These other things kept me busy but deep down I knew they didn’t have the long term potential for future gains and earnings that writing and the blog would provide. 

I really enjoyed the writing but the fear of what others would think was holding me back. 

When I was researching to become a better writer and develop better habits I noticed that all of the books, blogs and podcast had a similar message. Focus on the identity of who you want to be, establish the habits that type of person would have so you can start to see yourself in that light and find someone who will help to hold you accountable.

For me that meant, in order to view myself as a writer, I needed to consistently write to consider myself a writer and have someone to hold me accountable and help edit my writing. Luckily I married into a family of talented writers; my wife included. My sister-in-law Colleen is a published writer, former college writing professor and a director of marketing. She was perfect and most importantly, willing to help me out. 

I knew Colleen would provide me with constructive criticism, new ways to approach topics and the confidence to overcome my fear of appearing stupid. Soon after I was finishing posts and hitting my goal of one new draft a week.

Unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic hit and now I was self-isolating at home with my wife and two sons under five. Since no one had anywhere to go I figured I’d have more time to write. I quickly realized that being home with two kids left me with less time than I had before. 

That’s not to say I didn’t have time to write I just needed to figure out when the best times were. 

My first inclination was that as long as my boys were being quiet then I could write. The younger one doesn’t stay quiet or still for less than ten minutes so that was a mistake. I just ended up getting irritated and blaming them for not writing as much. I knew it wasn’t their fault and I was starting to become pretty moody toward everyone. 

I needed to rethink my new situation as a whole because there were a lot of other things I wasn’t taking care of either. I wasn’t working out, doing household chores or enjoying the time I had been given with my wife and kids. I came to the sudden realization that there were certain times of the day that were better suited for certain tasks or projects.

To see how I could fit the projects into my new life I broke down the days into the natural time blocks our kids were dictating without factoring in anything that I wanted to do:

  • 6 – 8am: Boys wake up and get settled into morning 
  • 8-10am: Breakfast and playtime
  • 10-11am: Zoom school meetings
  • 11am — 12pm: Bike ride with the boys or destroy basement
  • 12-1pm: Lunchtime
  • 1-3pm: Youngest naps and older one has quiet time
  • 3-5pm: Playtime, outside time, practice numbers and letters
  • 5-7pm: Family and dinner time
  • 7-8pm: Boys go down for bed
  • 8-10pm: Relax and hang out with my wife

Now that I had the day broken down into its natural flow I could see what times were best suited for certain projects and allow me to be present for my family. I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish during the week: writing, developing website, working out, household chores, learning/research and my own personal downtime. Then I cross referenced those tasks with the daily schedule and started to put the new puzzle together (puzzles were a popular activity during the pandemic). 

  • 7-9am: Workout – My wife and I could switch off during this time. The morning is better for me because I lose all motivation to work out after 10am.
  • 9-11am: Learning/research or chores – This time was perfect to listen to podcasts, read books & blogs, or clean part of the house. The boys are pretty active during this time but I realized I could work on things that I could easily put down and walk away from. 
  • 11-1pm: Bike ride or playtime with boys and lunch together.
  • 1-3pm: Writing, web development or errands.
  • 3-8pm: Family time, chores and dinner.
  • 8-10pm: Time with my wife or open for tasks (Tiger King, The Last Dance, etc.)

Once I started following this new schedule I instantly saw better results in my projects and mood. I was enjoying my time with the boys, writing and reading more, working out, well the working out wasn’t happening as much but there were plenty of enjoyable bike rides. 

This new system simplified my days because I knew exactly when I could get certain things done. And if something didn’t happen on a given day I wasn’t angry because I knew I had the time tomorrow. 

However, when I looked back on my week I noticed that I was working on some things more than others. There really didn’t seem to be a proper balance for what I was working on. One morning listening to a sales podcast, at the designated time, I discovered a new system that would change everything. Check out the next blog on a system that showed me a way to feel balanced and fulfilled at the end of each day and week. 

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