Challenge,  On Writing

Getting Ready for a New Year Or Challenge

Tracking Time…

That is exactly what I have been doing the last three or four days. I have been keeping track of time in basically 15 minute segments.

What I have been trying to work out for my own challenge is “Do I have the time it will take?”

Time is like water. It just fills whatever space available. But seemingly never quite enough of it.

So I have been looking at how I actually spend my days and where I could get more time and not really miss anything I am doing now.

I am on an exercise and losing weight streak. Doing 10,000 steps minimum per day (5 miles of walking for me.) With time to go in and out of the building, that takes me total just about 1 hour to get 8,000 steps and I get the rest with misc. things. Kris and I are now walking most places to lunch, which is a nice chunk of that time as well that counts toward the exercise. Better than driving.

I need to do email every day, but normally I only spend about an hour total in a couple of sessions on it. Not so this last week. I spent a lot of time working out some problems with Outlook, and discovered I missed a lot of email because I let it go and for some reason, after a week, Outlook started to just delete the email. I think I got that fixed, so if you have had something in my email you really want me to see, or a story for a pop-up that I have not responded to, and I didn’t respond after more than two weeks ago, send it again. Me and my weird setting on Outlook lost it I’m afraid. Sorry about that.

But normally only an hour or so a day on email. I spend 5 minutes on Facebook every other day or so. And every month I lay out Smith’s Monthly and every couple of months I do Pulphouse. So that is some reading and takes a few days of solid time.

Workshops take a little more time on homework days, but mostly just the recording takes some time. But all that is easy to work in and around.

So with food, decent sleep, television and a movie at times, I end up on average with about 4-5 hours a day of writing time.

Holy smokes, that is a lot more than I thought because I have been letting what few tasks I have fill the time I had far more than I needed them to. Yet when I wanted to write something, I always had the time. Now I know why. Duh.

But until I actually looked at it, tracked it, I flat hadn’t noticed, how much it was.

I have a friend that is retired and basically does nothing, and he told me one day that he is so busy doing nothing, he can’t imagine actually doing something like writing. Time is like that. Perception of time.

So I have been doing the tracking in 15 minute segments for a number of days now, as I have told so many others to do over the years. And without effort, I found four to five hours.

So “Do I have enough time to do the challenge I am thinking of doing?”

Oh, heaven’s, yes.

There went that excuse.



  • Philip Michael Smith

    Interesting to note the PERCEPTION of time. Oddly, I get more writing done on work days when I think I have “no time” yet on days off of my day job, when I theoretically have nothing but time to write, I get much less done. I think there’s more perceived room for procrastination, so I never get on task the way I do when I know I only have a brief window to write.

    • dwsmith

      Yup, that happens when people go full-time freelance. They think they will get more done but actually get less. Takes a while to make the adjustment.

    • Kate+Pavelle

      I have a similar problem. For that reason, I write from my daughter’s apartment while she is at work. She has an art room, I sit at her drawing desk and write. I do my water/coffee/bathroom trips, I try to bribe the cats to play with me by playing with their treat jar. I am not allowed to go online. Four hours later, a whole chunk of writing is done, maybe 3x as much as I would do at home. Being in a neutral environment where I am not responsible for any tasks other than writing is very freeing.

  • Mihnea+Manduteanu

    I realized these past few months that, time wise, with a full time job and all, I can also set aside 4 hours each day without stretching. For me that’s 5k words comfortably per day. I guess my challenge for 2022 should repsect that.

  • Elise Stone

    I’m another retiree who seems to do a whole lot of nothing. I started keeping a spreadsheet of writing-related tasks in 2015. (I also track my daily word count there.) When I had a regular job, I put in at least 40 hours a week, and sometimes as many as 60. I can’t seem to spend much more than half that on writing now that I’m retired.

    Of course, I could, if I just put my mind to it, but boy do I have excuses. I’m trying to work on my mindset and develop a plan for 2022 that I’ll actually follow. But right now, I need a nap. LOL

      • Rob Vagle

        What do you do for your naps? I think you sometimes take multiple naps during a day, I’m assuming maybe twenty minutes each?

        I’m just wondering what you do for naps to keep functional and productive. I have a dayjob that starts early morning (I get up at 3:30 am) and I find a nap helpful when I get home early afternoon. However, I haven’t found a nap-length sweet spot yet.

        I do believe in the powers of a nap!