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Happiness Project Update 6: Get a Grip! You’re Not Single Anymore, It Takes 90 Minutes.

11 Jul

While still working on the aiming-high-career-path section of my happiness project, I realized that even though I continued having periods in my life that truly sucked, I’ve learned that I can have moments of peace during the chaos and this brings me momentary happiness.

I reached the Phil Jackson kind of Zen. But it’s not like I’m in an 80s movie and I’m living the happily-ever-after-roll-the-credits moment.  But I’m momentarily happy and that’s important when you’re taking it day by day.

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So when applying this day-by-day philosophy to my writing career, I took a good piece of advice from Rubin’s book and her section on career.

Work Smart. It’s not mind-blowing, I know. More like fortune cookie mentality, but sometimes fortune cookies are awesome.

Carving out time to be productive. This proved to be difficult when I, mother of two always working a double-parenting shift, barely had time to take a shower. But it was just difficult, not impossible.

Rubin mentions that as I writer, it was hard for her to set aside a good chunk of time, four hours, to write and this made her feel frustrated and inefficient.

Holy Crap! Me too.

I thought finally someone who gets that I need a couple of hours to get going and then begin my storytelling process. But then Rubin went on to explain that sometimes in that four-hour block, distractions appear and she doesn’t really use the four hours.

I’m guilty of that. I don’t know how many times I’ve decided to clean up, wash dishes, and put away toys during my writing time. I mean aside from the fact that I’m a little Howard Hughes, and I need a clutter-free environment to work, sometimes I go beyond that scope.

I decide to rearrange the clothes, which are not even in the same room. I decide that my car needs to be washed, or the toilet needs to be scrubbed. All great chores, but not really within my work space.

Procrastination is a writer’s Kryptonite. I’ve often been exposed to it. Sometimes too much when watching USA Network, FX or AMC.

So during this analysis of time and trying to be more productive, Rubin revealed her secrets. She did better when she had less time — like when you’re on deadline. You feel a rush. You feel the pressure, but you still have a surge of creativity, because you know your time is limited.

But let’s not get crazy, it’s not like you’re feeling the pressure of a college final either. It’s 90 minutes in your home — probably in your Costco sweats making a dent in your couch, with sandwich in hand. The only pressure you have is you — you and your crazy writer mentality.

These 90 minute intervals were the plan. At first I might have thought that wasn’t enough time, but once again if you know your time is limited, you’re going to use every second.

Then I thought about it in sports terms and it made sense. I mean if you’re trying to lose weight, be a better tennis player, swimmer, or triathlete and you workout 90 minutes every day or even every other day, you’d probably be on the cover of Shape Magazine with no airbrushing needed and winning all kinds of trophies in every division.

So as hectic as this ride is, I realized it was chaotic because my expectations still hadn’t been adjusted. I was living in my single-chick mentality. When I was single, not married, no kids those four-hour blocks came in abundance. Now that I’m living the adult life, I can’t find four-consecutive hours by myself on a weekly basis to save my life. So I decided that my four-hour expectation needed to be dumped. I thought I would try Rubin’s 90-minute interval strategy and see how it would work out in The Guat World — the you’re not single anymore world so stop thinking you have all this time.

I don’t know if that will make me crazier or happier, but it will sure make things different.

Stay tuned, we’ll see what happens.