This is a tricky one for me, since no two days are alike for me. Especially in the summer when the kids are out of school, everything is in flux for me. There are days when I get absolutely no writing in, and other days where I write constantly. There are weeks that go by when I get almost nothing done writing wise, but have activities non-stop, and there are other days where I sit at home and I’m just too tired and my mind is too scattered to accomplish anything, and there are days when I sit down and get into a flow and look at a dramatically increased wordcount at the end of the day. Since there is no such thing as normal for me, I will walk you through as “normal” of a day for me as there is. Those days are during the school year, when the big kids are in school.
I wake up around 7, which is way too early, considering I probably didn’t get to bed until midnight or so the night before. But I have to, because I have to start getting the kids ready for school. I wake the three biggest ones up while trying not to wake the baby up quite yet, because he takes more attention than I have to give him while I’m getting ready in the morning. The kids begin their morning routines, which includes getting their medications (one takes regular supplements to help with asthma, and one takes a naturopathic remedy that helps with focus and attention and self-control), getting dressed for school (they wear uniforms, so thankfully this is not something we have to deal with much), and getting breakfast. I don’t actually cook breakfast during the week. I buy convenience foods that we throw in the microwave.
While the kids are getting their medicine and getting dressed, I make lunches. Usually peanut butter and honey/jelly sandwiches (one son likes jelly, the other likes honey), except for my daughter, who about half-way through last school year decided she didn’t like peanut butter and stopped eating her lunch. So, depending on my available time and level of motivation, I either make her a ham and cheese sandwich or microwave some chicken nuggets for her to take. The kids get their backpacks, pick snacks for their lunch boxes, and get ready to go.
We’re usually rushing out the door at the last minute. If he hasn’t already been awakened by the other kids, I wake up the baby and stick him in the stroller. We live close enough to walk to school, so unless it’s raining really hard (those two days a year when that happens in Arizona–if it’s a light rain we still walk) that’s what we do. The boys go either to the playground if we’re on time or straight to their classes if we’re running late, and I walk my daughter to her class. Since she was in preschool last year, she had to be signed in and out. Once the kids are safely ensconced in school, the baby and I take a walk. We walk for an hour around our neighborhood, stopping to watch the construction of the houses that are going up along our route and say hi to the horses who live along the way. Then, since I’ve just been outside for an hour in Phoenix and am hot, dusty, and sweaty, I shower, and then I have coffee and breakfast (the baby eats while we’re walking).
That’s when the productive part of my day really begins.
I start by sitting down at the computer and checking messages on Facebook and four different email accounts (my personal email, my “professional” email–the one I use to send out queries, which is usually empty of new correspondence, my Splickety email, which, depending on the day of the week and the time of the month usually has anywhere from one to five or six emails that I have to respond to, or more if there are various staff emails that are getting passed back and forth, and my other personal email). If I have work to do for Splickety, I usually do it then, but sometimes I’ll put it off until I have more mental energy to invest in it. The baby is pretty good at entertaining himself, but he does require frequent looking-in-on, obviously. He’ll play with trucks or blocks or things pretty well, though, so he does a lot of that, or sometimes I let him watch Thomas or something on Netflix to occupy his attention if I need to. My needs vary from day to day, but my most productive days are when I make myself a list of things I want to get done, usually alternating housework with writing.
My list looks something like this:
Pick up living room
Write one page (that’s one notebook page, handwritten; or, if I’ve written a lot lately, this part of the list is “type 1000 words” of the already hand-written text instead)
Sweep and mop living room
Write one page
Pick up dining room
Write one page
Sweep and mop dining room
Write one page
Write one page
Sweep and mop kitchen
Write one page
The back and forth I think would drive some people crazy, but I’m extremely ADD, and the change of direction helps my focus when I do sit down again. Sometimes I get into a really good flow and can write and write and write, but that usually happens late at night after the kids are asleep. During the day there are too many interruptions (snack for baby, clean up the mess that snack for baby made, pick up the room that I just picked up because baby brought out toys or shredded toilet paper or otherwise undid all the work I just did, put on a video to occupy baby long enough to do the next thing on the list, realize it’s lunch time and I need more coffee, come back to realize movie distraction didn’t work well enough and redo what baby undid AGAIN, put baby down for a nap and listen to him holler himself to sleep, etc.) to do that anyway, and so dividing my tasks into small, manageable bites really helps me be more productive. Plus, I like looking at my list later and seeing all the things I’ve gotten done.
I usually have the computer on and check in periodically on Facebook, especially if my Castle Age guild has a battle going on (one of my few diversions–don’t judge) or if there’s someone online I particularly want to converse with (and I generally multi-task, so even if I’m chatting I may be cleaning or writing as well), and I check any new emails I have. Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty much always “on” but I’m not always sitting in front of my computer staring at the screen. Anyway, somewhere in the middle of that list, I glance at the clock and realize it’s almost time to get the kids from school, so I pack the baby back into the stroller and go fetch them, and then there’s a period of general mayhem as we get home, get started on homework, fight because the homework isn’t getting done, nag, plead, discipline, and otherwise get the homework finished, then have to get oldest child ready for Taekwondo. Usually my hubby manages to make it home in time to take child, at which point I may try to continue on my list. I usually don’t like to stop until the main part of my house (living room, dining room, kitchen) is done. If I’m really ambitious I’ll make the kids clean the playroom or their rooms so I can sweep and mop in there, but almost never do I get both those extra areas completed.
Shortly before my son and hubby are due home, I get started on dinner. What we have is directly related to how tired I am (which by this point is usually fairly exhausted). Sometimes what we have is a phone call to hubby asking him to pick up pizza on his way home. Then I spend the rest of the evening flopped on the couch playing on Facebook or watching TV with the hubby. At some point, we manage to get the kids to bed, and then, since it’s finally quiet, we may or may not have the energy to have an actual conversation. Sometimes we just watch TV or listen to music, and on very rare occasions we go to bed at a decent hour. But more often than not we stay up later than we should, because that’s the only time we really get to hang out and see each other or spend time together, and go to bed after midnight only to start the process over the next morning.
And that’s what a day in the life of Avily is like. Hope you had fun with me!