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Help Me Figure Out How to Spend 12 More Hours a Week

punch_clock.jpgMinor milestone in my household coming soon: my son is starting preschool, meaning I'll suddenly have more time on my hands. It's only three mornings a week though; as much as I'd like to hire someone to read to me, it's not enough time to start anything major. But it is enough that I can't waste the opportunity. Four hours of quiet, non-Sprout time in the morning is perfect for getting the high-priority stuff out of the way. I need to come up with a game plan so I don't end up watching SportsCenter and fiddling with iTunes the whole time.

I have my own strategy, of course, but I wanted to ask the wise elders here how I should spend an extra 12 hours a week, and see if we can spot any holes in my plan.

Here is the "real" work I try to accomplish in a given week:

  • A weekly sports column, which is a compilation of national coverage of the local teams, so it involves a lot of Google News searching and some stitching together Monday mornings before I file it.
  • Intermittent freelance writing, which usually means phone calls, interviews, transcription, and research too.
  • Accounting, bookkeeping, and various paperwork for my wife's real estate business. This can suck up a lot of time if I neglect it, so I need to peck away at it day by day.
  • A handful of brilliant, insightful, and unforgettable posts here, naturally.
  • And if I have any time left, more "creative" writing like essays and a book proposal that's been sorely neglected for the past six months.

In my current situation, I try to do most of this stuff early in the morning before my son gets up, during the afternoon naps, or on the one or two days a week we get a babysitter. He's going to keep going to Grandma's once a week, so I'll still have one full day to work with in addition to the three mornings. My wife works a lot, with many evenings and weekends, so when she is around I try not to dump the kid on her and run downstairs to the man cave. This means working at night is out of the question unless I'm on deadline; besides, I have a lot of stuff to do, but I'm not that important.

The column and freelancing gigs are non-negotiable, so they're obvious candidates to occupy my newfound free time. The bookkeeping is also high-priority, but I don't necessarily need dead-quiet solitude to do it. This is a good candidate for non-school days or early evenings when my son is absorbed in his toys. I should probably lump the blogging and creative writing together, because they both operate on the same brain functions. For whatever reason, I feel like I do these best in the afternoon, either because of how my process works--i.e. I feel like I have to get the required, "chore" items out of the way first--or because of the nap-time habit.

I'm not looking to overhaul the whole regime, just work in those extra mornings. As a benchmark, I'm satisfied with what I get done, except for the more creative stuff. I'm sure this is because I relegate it to garbage time, and by then I usually need a break.

So, given that workload and those time constraints, how should I rearrange my week to take advantage of an extra 12 hours?

About wood.tang

wood.tang's picture


Matt Wood is a writer, former IT drone, sometime realtor, and full-time stay-at-home dad. He and his family live in Chicago.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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