Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RoW80 Update - The Balancing Act

Have you always wondered how that one person you know manages to balance a full-time job, raising two kids, keeping a house clean, managing their writing career, keeping in shape, and the numerous other things they seem to keep up with?

I do too.

I knew this wouldn't be a walk in the park, but I guess I wasn't prepared for how difficult some of the decisions I would have to make were going to be.

There are days where, as I approach the evening, I feel exhausted, and I know that I still have my daily writing, reading, exercise, and housework to do, and as I look at the clock, I start negotiating with myself to figure out which items I can accomplish that day before I pass out, and which tasks will just have to wait another day.

I tend to be one of those people that, when I start feeling overwhelmed by a situation, tries to avoid the situation altogether.  This way of living is in stark contrast to RoW80, and I'm coming to terms with this as I push past my first week of the challenge.

My progress on my novel was minimal over the past few days, but I did manage to extend my detailed outline through about the 60-65% mark in the novel, giving me about two weeks or breathing room in writing before I run out of outlined material.  I've started reading a difficult book, The Power of Paradox, a Christian philosophical text.  I've done well on exercise, and my housework efforts have been okay, but I still feel like I'm falling short.

I really appreciate all the kind and encouraging comments over the past week, and I will continue using them to push forward.

Good luck for all my fellow RoW80 participants the rest of the week!

RoW80 Detailed Goal Progress

Writing - I will write something toward finishing my as yet untitled book from NaNo last year, even if only 50 words, every day.
     8/19/12 - None.
     8/20/12 - While I did not get any actual words written in my novel, I was able to create a detailed outline of an additional 5 scenes, enough to keep me writing for a couple weeks, I think.
     8/21/12 - None.

Reading - I will read at least 10 pages of a book each day.
     8/19/12 - No books read, but I spent much time reading blog posts... that counts for something, right?  :)
     8/20/12 - I read 10 pages of "The Power of Paradox".
     8/21/12 - I read 12 pages of "The Power of Paradox".

Blogging - I will write at least three blog posts each week, one of which must not be ROW80-related.
     8/19/12 - Wrote Weekly Check-In for RoW80
     8/20/12 - None.
     8/21/12 - None.

Exercise - I will get "real" exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.
     8/19/12 - My older daughter got to try riding her bike without training wheels for the first time, so I spent quite a bit of energy running alongside her.  Not 30 minutes in total, but some aerobic exercise nonetheless.
     8/20/12 - No exercise.
     8/21/12 - I spent two hours of the afternoon playing laser tag with our high school youth group.  If that doesn't count as exercise, I don't know what does!

Housework - I will, in some small way, make my house look better each night than it did the previous night.
     8/19/12 - Picked up most of the disaster in our living room from the kids' playtime.  They are like a tornado!  Cleaned up some "debris" in our basement's finished area, and helped move some furniture for my wife.
     8/20/12 - Cleaned up a little bit in the basement.
     8/21/12 - Put some dirty clothes in the laundry room.


  1. I am the same way-when I get overwhelmed I tend to curl up in a fetal position and try to avoid, avoid, avoid. ROW80 has helped a lot, for me, to make smaller, manageable goals and work towards something bigger. Like with exercise, I don't have a ton of time to devote to this, but I try to find creative ways to do it. (especially regarding exercise goals, such as 3 10 min. workouts in a day, instead of a block of 30 mins). And sometimes things have to be set on pause. For me, this is usually my blogging or reading goals, until I can get back on track. But whatever it is, it's okay if we miss a goal here or there-life happens and it's all about re-prioritizing as we go along. :D

    Given everything on your plate, you are doing an amazing job. Keep it up and have a great week!

    1. Smaller, manageable goals are exactly what I need. This is why, for reading, I decided that just reading 10 pages a day would be enough to get me on board without working me too hard.

      I like the idea of splitting up my exercise... I may have to steal that one from you.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Sounds to me like you're giving it your best. I'm with you on the coming home feeling exhausted piece. I appreciate that you are still weighing your tasks to get some stuff done each night. My next battle is trying to wake up earlier cause that would help me. I have a hard time falling asleep, so mornings aren't my thing right now.

    Love that you're reading at least 10 pages a day. Hopefully the reading helps to inspire and calm you throughout the week too. Good luck!

  3. I've tried hard to get myself on a schedule to wake up earlier, with little to no success. I have the same problem as you... I'm not getting to sleep soon enough. I hope it works out for you!

    Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Mike, I know just how you feel. My mom kept our house like it was a museum. I don't live up to that, and I constantly think I should.

    I guess we all do what we can, and have to let the rest get done as it gets done. I know that what helped me was my introduction to caffeine when I started writing. I still can't write without it.

    Planning also helps. This might sound like a bit much, but get one of those 60 minute kitchen timers. Then time out how long it takes you to do a specific chore. Cleaning the bathroom, picking up the living room, etc. Then make a schedule. If things don't get done on one day, they will sometime within the week. Also, don't forget to plan for frequency.

    Are your girls old enough to help you with picking things up?

    Wow, this is long. Sorry for the length!

    1. My mom was, and still is, the exact same way! We actually had a room, our "living room", where I wasn't even allowed to sit on the chairs or couch, growing up!

      I like the kitchen timer idea. I may talk to my wife about us trying that out as a couple each evening.

      My kids are 6 and 4, so they are technically old enough. My 6-year-old will clean with the right motivation, but my 4-year-old is the most obstinant child I've ever met, and nothing short of fear of death would get that child to clean, and maybe not even that!

      No worries about the long comment... I love the feedback. Feel free to keep it coming! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. Break down goals into smaller bits, maybe? At least then, you can track steady progress. This is a tactic I employ. When I see myself lagging, I re-evaluate. Am I spending too much time on 'non-essentials'? I make writing visiting, posting, and all social medias come after the writing. I also complete one task, then do a household chore, then...repeat. It breaks monotony and allows me to claim success in all areas. (a little cheatsy-peatsy, but it works for me!)

    Don't know if these will help! Just keep writing. No matter what else happens, you'll be progressing toward the ultimate goal, which is finishing your manuscript.

    1. That's what I'm trying to do with my daily goals, which will (hopefully) add up to completion of my round goals by the end of the round.

      Will it work out? I'm not sure if I'll accomplish my round-end goals, but I'll certainly have made good progress, if nothing else.


    2. You've the perfect attitude, Mike! Progress is progress - and it's better than if you'd done nothing.

      Oh...another 'trick' I use to motivate myself (and clear goals off the 'to-do' list) :

      I'll write a page (or whatever), then drop for one round of an exercise. Whether it's twenty push-ups, squats, or sit-ups...doesn't matter. 1) The exercise relieves stress. 2) Twenty push-ups are better than zero push-ups. Ha! 3) I've moved my body, and therefore, my brain works better. 4) My satisfaction levels go up - as I can add a check in the 'done and done' column.

    3. I absolutely love this idea! I'm going to find some way to use this. Much of my writing is done outside my house, either on breaks at work or at other locations with wifi hotspots, as I don't currently have internet at home.

      However, the idea of combining the mental rigor of writing with the physical rigor of exercise sounds so appealing my co-workers might just find me doing push-ups in my office!

      Thank you so much for this idea!

  6. Just wanted to pop in and let you know I responded to your comment on my blog.

  7. I'm one of those people that others say they wonder how I fit it all in. What I don't say up front is that I have a lot of help around the house from my husband and daughter, and that makes a huuuuge difference. My day job is not very stressful, and almost never involves overtime. I read while I walk on the treadmill - this is the first exercise regimen I've stuck with for any amount of time because I don't get bored! Great way to get two things done at once. :) And sometimes, I still get overwhelmed - like I did a couple weeks ago. You guessed it - I took time off. It helped greatly. Good luck figuring out what works for you - and take a little time off if you need it!

    1. My wife is very understanding and helpful in our house as well. My kids, on the other hand, are more of the problem than the solution. Hopefully that will change as they get older!

      I've been meaning to borrow my parents' treadmill, which they rarely use. I might make the effort to borrow it this weekend, and try the walk-and-read dual activity. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the input!

  8. I am definitely the same when it comes to trying to juggle multiple life chores. I end up putting them off and then avoiding them altogether, and then feeling guilty about how little I accomplish. Nice work on getting a bit more of your outline in place. Good luck for the rest of the week :)

  9. Thanks for the encouragement. I'm rooting for you to find solutions to these problems right along with me! Let's not feel guilty, and instead, just praise the little progress we have made. How's that sound?

    I can tell it's a Friday... I'm much more upbeat than usual!


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