Booked (Day #15)

Lil Mil was born on a rainy day.  We brought her home from the hospital on a rainy day.  Her first week of life was a septet of rainy days.  Since then, there have been more rainy days than sun-shiney ones.

In other words, mama and baby have spent a lot of time indoors.

At first, I thought the nasty weather was a blessing in disguise.  After all, I have a book to write and not a lot of time to write it.  So what if I’m stuck inside?  The more hours I’m at home, the more productive I’ll be.

Great theory.

But that’s just not how it works.  Not for me, anyway.  It never has been.  Even pre-baby, when I was home writing full time, my most productive day was always a highly scheduled one — a day composed of several chunks of writing time, sandwiched between other activities.  It’s not that I can’t work for long stretches of time — I can — it’s just that having something else on my schedule works like a kick in the pants.  I’m more productive from 9 – 12 if I know I have to be somewhere at 1.  And I don’t just mean something I want to do at 1 that I could just as easily do at 2 or 3.  I mean something with an official start time.  A lunch date.  An appointment.

A movie.

Yup.  I went to a movie today.  A “Monday Morning Mommy Movie” at the Grove.  I have lots to say about the experience, but not today.  Today is about the virtue of a packed schedule.  The benefit of being booked.

The movie started at 11.  Since I’d never been to a MMMM before and didn’t know the drill (How early did I need to get there?  Could I bring my stroller?  My car seat?  Would it sell out?), I wanted to be there at least an hour early to give myself time to get a coffee and feed Lil Mil and generally check things out.  That meant I needed to leave my house no later than 9:40.

Lil Mil woke up happy at 5:30 this morning after a fairly decent night (I won’t describe what “fairly decent” has come to mean in our house.  These, like other terms and phrases used to describe quality of life in Life with a Newborn, are highly relative terms).  I decided to dress her first, so that I wouldn’t be scrambling to do it at the last minute.  By the time she was fed and dressed and buckled into her bouncy seat (she has now decided that she doesn’t like her swing), it was 7 a.m.  Just over two hours until it was time to go.

So little time … there was no way I could be productive in such a short stretch of time.  Surely Lil Mil would scream and cry and demand my attention.

Yup.  She did.  For a full forty-five minutes.  BUT!  Not until after I’d spent a solid hour and a half working on Chapter Four (which was supposed to be done last week, I know.  Hence the reason my game plan is so intensely irritating to me right now).

An hour and a half!  All at once!  And I didn’t just stare at my screen or brainstorm blog topics.  I worked.  On my novel.  I progressed.  I produced.  And then, at 8:30, when Lil Mil decided she needed to have a meltdown RIGHT THEN, I stopped (to her credit, Lil Mil opted to have her meltdown while we were still at home.  During the entirety of our outing, she was a perfect angel).

Why does having somewhere to be inspire productivity?  I think it’s because that somewhere to be is my carrot.  My prize for a job well done.  I think I know that I’ll enjoy my lunch date or appointment or movie all the more if I feel like I’ve earned it.

Sadly, there is rain on the forecast again tomorrow (is this LA or Seattle?  Seriously, people).  But I’m not going to let that stop me from filling my dance card.  I’ve got people to see and places to go.  And a novel to write in the in-between time.

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