Sunday, May 15, 2011

What I want to do on my summer vacation

The grading will be done tomorrow, which means I'll have my grades calculated and in to the registrar by Tuesday. And thus, the semester will end. Summer vacation, hurrah!

Unlike the halcyon days of my youth, where summer vacation meant reading, the scent of sunscreen, reading, slumber parties with friends, reading, swim practice outside, and reading, summer vacation right now just means I don't have to work my day job.

I have a lot of plans for this summer, and most of them revolve around some kind of writing work.  (Though I really am looking forward to at least pretending like I will catch up on my reading.) I have a lot of projects. And I'm thrilled about that - I haven't said yes to anything I'm not excited about. But there are a lot of projects.

So my goal this summer is to learn to work smarter. Because right now I am really good at the "get up in the morning and work all day until you are so exhausted you have to sleep, with occasional breaks to feed myself and the fuzzy residents of the house" plan. Lather, rinse, repeat, until the day comes (usually about once every seven to ten days) where my brain is so burnt out it stops functioning, and I get no work done, and I am racked with guilt at my failure.

Yeah, not really a long-term sustainable plan. For a number of reasons. So I need to learn how to take down time, at least once a day, and have it actually be guilt-free down time. I need to learn how to schedule my days in a manner that keeps me busy, but not exhausted. And I need to find a way of doing these things that I like, that feels organic with how I function, because if it feels forced, I'll never stick to it.


  1. *le sigh* At this point I'd like a summer vacation, period. On the other hand, I'd probably end up bored out of my wits within 72 hrs... la force de l'habitude. ;)

    The "get up in the morning" plan is eerily familiar, even if I have to feed both the fuzzy and the smooth. Luckily, the ankle biters unfortunate enough to call me "Mum" tend to intervene every now and then and drag me over to the Fortress (and the park within).

    Just... keep happy this summer. Overworked or not. :)

  2. I can relate to the bored witless within 72 hours feeling - I am, er, not good at doing nothing.

    And thanks. Keeping happy is definitely going on my to-do list. (To-be list?)

  3. Oh, man. I miss the days of summer vacation that involved eating too much ice cream, falling asleep by the pool, and generally being outside until dark. (Even to this day, to properly enjoy summer, I need to buy some of those long ice pops in the plastic tubing; they ALWAYS remind me of being a kid. *grin*)

    You'll find out how to work your process. For me, I can't say, "I'll take a break at noon." Instead, I go with, "When my eyes start to get all bleary, I'll take a break." Then, I find, it's the right time -- and I don't feel forced.

    Also, for me, giving my brain a rest gives me better ideas. If I go for a walk, or do the dishes, or bake -- I find that I come up with ideas or figure out how to fix a plot point. So, really, when you take breaks -- it is serving your writing. *grin*

    Hooray for exciting projects! I'm looking forward to hearing about this, as you're able to divulge them. :-) ~Ali

  4. I've been experimenting with intentional breaks. I actually do this on a schedule when I'm working -- 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes break on 2-3 hour cycles.

    It's a little forced, I'll admit.

    But I get SO MUCH MORE DONE. And without being fried afterwards.

    The breaks, the down time: we NEED them. Our brains & bodies work better. A LOT better.

  5. I'm going to start by trying the revolutionary idea that my lunch and dinner break should actually be breaks.