I find the start of a new school year to be a good time to work out how I’m going to structure my week and to come up with a vision of what my ideal week would look like. I start with the big things that can’t be moved, add in all the everyday things that need to get done, and then work out what time is left and what I want to do in it.
This year is unusual, as everything is more up in the air than it often is. As far as I know the schools will be returning to business as usual at the start of term next week. But there is a real possibility that at some point in the future everything will shut down again and I will be home-schooling the children again. So what do I plan for? Do I make a weekly plan for them going to school and going back to all their normal activities? Or do I make a plan for continuing home-schooling and trying to work alongside them? Or do I do both? Of course, I am working out what to do in both scenarios.
I like to know what is going to happen and what I will be doing. So this uncertainty is difficult for me. I struggle to make any decisions at all as I don’t know what things are going to be like next week, next month, or next year. Well, maybe next week I can guess at, but the others are too up in the air to even do that. And my controlling nature can only handle that by stopping thinking about the future at all. So for the last few months I have been not daring to look further ahead than a few days, or a week. As that is about as far ahead as I can make decisions with any certainty that they will come to pass.
I’m trying my best to keep on top of all the things that are going on and what we are meant to be doing, but I rely on the calendar alarms on m phone to remind me. And I’m not going to apologise for that. Technology is a great tool and it is there to help us.
My current idea for when (assuming they do) the children return to school is to split the time they are away into three sessions of about an hour and a half: two before lunch and one after. Then in the mornings I can do the first session of either drafting or editing, whichever is my primary task that week; the second session can be social media, maintaining my blog & website, admin and promotions; and the third session can flex depending on what I have to do that day. It also gives me the flexibility to swap out one of these sessions a day with doing chores, seeing friends, or jobs round the house. And I’ll have another session some evenings to return to my primary task of either editing or drafting.
If the children return to home-schooling then I think we can switch back into the schedule that we had for that before, as it seemed to work. I will need to prioritise what I do more as I will have less time to commit to editing or drafting. And those two tasks are more difficult to do in smaller pieces of time as they benefit from focused attention. But I will manage.
That’s what I keep telling myself. I will manage. I will publish these books and succeed as an author. I will see my dreams happen. Despite COVID-19 and all the current uncertainty. I don’t need to worry about what I’ll be doing three months from now; I need to worry about what I’m doing today. What is the next action to take to get to where I want to go? Then do it. Over and over, and then I will get there. Too much planning can be a handicap as you end up spending all your time thinking about the different permutations of what might happen and never actually working on the things to get there.
So I am trying to turn this uncertainty into a blessing by stopping myself from planning too far ahead, as I can’t right now, and forcing myself to focus on the next step. What is the next action to get where I want to go? That I can answer, even if I can’t answer what the schools will be doing.