Rhonda Parrish Blogs On Her Many "Hats"

I don't like hats. I've never found one that looks good on me, never, and believe me, I've looked. So yeah, not a fan. That means when someone says to me 'You wear a lot of hats' part of me cringes. What they are saying is true, I am a very busy person who fills a lot of roles…I just don't like the hats thing.

My daughter did a report earlier this fall that said I was a good example of someone who was balanced because I had a lot of 'life items'. I was flattered, and I hope she's right, but ya know, the term 'life items' isn't very pithy and just sort of reeks of high school health class to me. (Anyone remember CALM class? *grins and then gets back on topic*).

So, hats and life items aside, the point I should be making here is one I already mentioned – I'm very busy and in many different roles. I'm a mother, wife, student, editor, writer, volunteer, writing group moderator, etc. etc. plus I have a part-time 'day job'. Each of those things comes with a subset of occupations too. Let's take being a writer for example. As a writer I need to find time to write (duh?), revise, revise some more, submit my work, promote published work and revise some more. Even those tasks have sub categories. For example promoting my work involves guest blogging, social networking (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs), emailing, soliciting reviews, doing interviews, etc. etc.

I'm not alone.

I know many people in this business who have even more 'hats' or 'life items' than I do.

So how do you balance everything? Or, more to the point, how do I?

Everyone seems to have a different system. Mine keeps evolving, which I think is good. Change is necessary to avoid stagnation and as my life situation changes necessity says so must my organizational system.

For me the most important things are my calendar and my to-do list. The calendar makes sure I don't over-schedule myself and the to-do list helps keep me focused on the jobs at hand. That is vital because without the red items on my To-Do list staring up at me from my ipod I could easily become distracted and wander off to surf my friends-of-friends Facebook pictures.

When I wrote Sister Margaret my system was a calendar and a very strict routine. Client work in the morning until 11, a work out before lunch, then writing for an hour followed by revising for an hour…you get the idea. Every minute was scripted from the time I took my daughter to school until I picked her up again afterward.

Things change. I could no longer function under so strict a system, but it served its purpose once upon a time.

What's your system?

I'm always looking for ways to improve mine and I'm sure lots of other people are, after all, people are busier than ever these days and anything that helps us work smarter or save time has got to be counted as a good thing.

Incidentally, if you happen to find yourself with fifteen empty minutes and you'd like to fill them, I can recommend a great little story. It's called Sister Margaret and it's about a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman who are hired to take care of an undead pimp… ;)

Sister Margaret
Published by Eternal Press
Available at Fictionwise
Rhonda Parrish


Tabitha Shay said...

Hi Rhonda,
I use my calendar a lot, too. Like you, it keeps me from overbooking myself. Like all wives and moms, I need my family time, plus, I need "me' time. Writing is a full time job, don't ever let anyone tell you different. It's work. And when I'm not working, half the time I'm plotting. My brain simply doesn't want to shut down. I have to make myself get away from the computer. I'm getting better at taking 'me' time...good luck with your books...Tabs

Rhonda Parrish said...

Hi Tabs :)

I feel like I'm in good company to have the same sort of system as you do :)

J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter said...

Hiya Rhonda,

This is a great entry and a question I'd love suggestions for! Like you, my plate is always full, and finding spare time is nearly impossible.

Right now, it's summertime, meaning my "brood" are all at home (that means it's 4 to 1 - yikes!). But even then, I keep a calendar for important dates, events, etc.

But I'm discovering with this new monster called networking (promotion is next) that the calendar simply stares back and mocks me, reminding me there just aren't enough hours in the day.

One thing I do, in regards to writing itself, is to completely cut off my internet oxygen supply when it's time to write. The laptop comes out, the PC shuts off, and it's time to work.


Rhonda Parrish said...

Hi Jaime :)

The lack of internet thing used to work for me, then we got a wireless network, which means I have to use *gasp* willpower to not surf the net while I'm meant to be working. Write or Die (http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html) helped for a while but I haven't used it in a while.

Anonymous said...

I think it has to be an evolving thing. It's a little bit like baking from scratch. You know the ingredients and you have them there but sometimes the humidity or the elevation makes you use less or more of something.

Right now I use a calendar and a to-do list but I need to schedule more things so deadlines don't pass me with only half written items.

Cheryl said...

Time management can be a challenging thing, even for those who write time management articles like I do.

It helps to be organized because disorganization is a huge time waster. The other thing I talk about in most of my articles is the need for a weekly or monthly to-do list based upon SMART goals, avoiding distractions and interruptions, and getting your family to respect your work schedule while you respect your family time.

I have a calendar too, but I use my to-do list that I post on a writer's forum to keep me focused.

I have several staple meals that I can whip up quickly for suppertime, and I clean up the living areas of my home before bedtime so that I don't get too overwhelmed by housework.

There are still weeks I feel the walls caving in, but usually I can keep that at bay as long as I don't forget to do what I should.

Best of luck with all your hats.


Anonymous said...

I don't really have a system. I usually have writing time and other. So if I'm doing a writing project, I'll set a few hours in the day to do that, then the rest of the hours is for housework, napping or reading or internet. My day off I use for grocery shopping and bills. Eventually, I'm hoping to have some kind of a good system. I've tried writing at night and I seem to like that (fewer interruptions).

Lee Moan said...

I don't have a study in my house - not even a cupboard I can go and write in. That was my curse for a while, until a family friend who lives nearby offered me the use of her study (she's retired, lives alone and has a big house). So when I get a free day (not often, with work, family and study commitments!) I pack up the laptop and take the five minute walk to Peace Cottage and get to work. And the best thing? No internet up there. No distractions...apart from the massive library collection of old books surrounding me on all sides. :) I've achieved so much in the days I've spent up there and I feel very lucky to have the option. Sometimes a curse can be a blessing!
Great blog, Rhonda!