So after two months of a roughly-outlined Real Adult Schedule, I have come to a few conclusions:
1. I really genuinely do feel much better when I have one, even if the lazy kid in me chafes at keeping tabs on my free fun times;
2. I am intensely more productive with one, even if it’s really just kind of the bare-bones of one;
3. Sometimes, it makes me sad, in the same way a lot of things about settling into adulthood makes me sad.
Points one and two are things that I have always sort of known about myself, even if I really rebelled against it for a long time (and, as per point three, I do still complain about in my heart), even if the “schedule,” as it is, is barely a real thing. “Assuming I get home around 6, I will have about an hour to unwind/get dinner prep started, then dinner, then eating, then a couple of hours of free time, then an hour or so of writing*, then a shower, then unwinding, then bed.”
* It’s not a straight hour of writing, even. I usually do two or three 15-minute sessions, using focusbooster, depending on how long it takes me to hit the first 1000 words. Some nights it happens faster than others.
It’s not something I have sat down and meticulously planned out (I have still not mastered dayplanners; I don’t quite understand how one can meticulously plan out one’s day without losing precious time in the process), and of course it’s pretty flexible (sometimes we go out to eat or order out; sometimes I linger with my timewaster games longer than I probably should), but just by having one I’ve seen a huge improvement in my actual productivity. At the beginning of the year, I had a bit of a boost in terms of writing fic, but even then, I was sometimes barely hitting even the baseline minimum of 750 words a day — now I’m averaging about 2000 words, and it’s not something I’m straining that hard to manage. (Again, some days are easier than others.) It’s only about forty-five minutes extra in a given day, but I’ve been impressing myself, at least!
At the same time, though, it does mean I have to compromise on some of the other things I would like to do. A friend of mine started up a new game that looks interesting and fun, and I would like to join! … But I’ve already sort of hit my limit in what I can reasonably juggle, between the game I am already in, recharging time (the joys of being an introvert even with regards to online interactions), offline things, and writing time. I don’t want to go back to skimping on the writing, especially when I feel like I’ve finally hit a point in my own personal discipline that I can keep up with things! It was a choice I made deliberately and willingly, and intellectually I know it’s definitely going to be better for me in the long run.*
It doesn’t mean I don’t feel a whole lot of wistfulness when a large number of my friends are having fun with a new shiny thing. It’s a lot like the metaphorical kid outside of the candyshop, with my hands and face mushed against the glass, wishing there was a way I could go inside and afford everything I want. Only instead of candy, it’s a new thing to do, and instead of money, it’s time and energy.
* A friend of mine linked me to an article the other day that mentioned that the “sweet spot” for self-published authors is to put out a new book every 2-4 months. Yikes. While I have the confidence I could write 50k words regularly every 2-4 months at this point, whether or not this would be a completed story that I can hand over to my betas is another thing entirely. That’s something I’m working on. One thing at a time, I guess.
Part of me is seriously considering seeing if I can juggle things, though the other thing I know about myself is that a more forgiving system — one that says, “no, it’s all right, you don’t need to push your activity levels, it’s meant to be relaxing” means that it will, in fact, be the thing I put off, which in and of itself is not very fair, either to the thing itself, or the people that I would be interacting with within that system. I don’t have such a demanding daily schedule that it’s another unpleasant stressor on everything else; I have enough freedom that I do need the restrictions or else I just end up flopping out. Even in fun things, apparently, I need something to essentially keep me honest.
When I was a kid, I thought that adulthood meant there would be just some switch that went off in my awareness and suddenly I’d be all right with being responsible even in my free time (because even that far back, I had some inkling about the sort of lazy personality I have). Now that I’m actually of an ostensibly adult age, I’ve found that the only thing that’s switched is that instead of my parents nagging me to do things and be good and get stuff done, it’s my own internal sense of responsibility and reaction. Maybe in the end, instead of just playing an adult in my dayjob, I have actually truly become one.
How distressing. (´Д｀)