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Office Hours

The importance of keeping a schedule

I love a schedule and as school begins again soon, it seemed like a good time to talk about the hows and whys of keeping “Office hours”, even when you work from home. (I work as an online support teacher for a private school.)

I’m a list maker and get genuinely excited about calendars, day-planners, and online tools. (My husband teases me because one of my favourite stores is Staples…) During Covid restrictions, I found keeping a schedule was even more important for my mental health than previously. It helped me to stay focused, gave me a sense of purpose (and a reason to get up in the morning) and alleviated some of the loneliness I might otherwise have felt.

Beyond that, a schedule keeps me accountable. As an independent author and publisher, I could easily fritter away the hours without getting much accomplished. External deadlines imposed by agents, editors and the like actually work to motivate us to do the work, but when there aren’t any of those in place, it is very easy to procrastinate.

I really noticed this when I first retired from teaching public school. Like so many others, I had often lamented, “If I only had more time!” I thought that more time was what I needed to become more productive. It turns out, I became less productive at first because I didn’t feel the urgency to use my free time wisely. 2019 was one of my least productive years in terms of writing and publishing, yet I had retired the previous June. This is why I now set daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly goals for myself. Without some kind of framework, the days seem to just fly away.

Of course, one must be flexible, but for me, creating SMART goals keeps me moving forward in my writing career. (More about SMART goals in my next post.)

For now, let me introduce you to my current favourite organizational app which I’ve been using for at least a year now. Asana has literally changed the way I organize my writing life! Check it out for yourself here: http://app.asana.com

Parts of this article first appeared on InScribe’s professional blog in May of 2021.

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