Thursday, January 20, 2011

Short breaks are good for you

I don't know whether other freelance writers have similar habits, but often if I don't have something to force me to get up occasionally (such as laundry or letting the dogs in and out), I will sit at the computer for hours.  I saw an article the other day that says that's not a good idea, though.  Even taking short breaks from the computer and the desk chair can have an impact on your weight and your risk for heart disease.

I thought this was especially good information for my fellow freelance writers.  We certainly aren't the only group of workers who are susceptible to the problems of sitting sedentary all day long, but I think it's easier to do when you work from home.  You are more comfortable in your surroundings, and there are no water cooler or coworkers to distract you, so it's more likely that you'll sit still all day long without any incentive to get up and move around.

I also think, though it sounds counter intuitive, that failing to get up from time to time actually makes you less productive.  At least, it seems to with me.  When I sit in the same place for extended periods of time, I seem to be more easily distracted by Facebook, email, and what-have-you.  I think getting up and moving around occasionally probably prevents me from getting too sleepy, and that's why I work better when I do.

What about you?  Do you find that taking short breaks is good for your productivity, or bad?  Do you already get up a lot throughout your work time, or is this something you need to work on (whether for you productivity, or just for your health, as the article recommends)?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Struggling through it

I've definitely had a rough time coming back from holiday mode.  The last time I posted, I was struggling with my first week back.  Although I didn't accomplish everything I'd wanted to by the end of the week, I did get some of it done.  Last week went similarly — difficult to get going on Monday and Tuesday, and by the time I started feeling somewhat productive, the weekend was upon me!

This week, I actually planned a somewhat slow start.  I worked on Monday, even though many people I knew had the holiday off.  (Luckily, Michael had to work, otherwise I would have gotten virtually nothing done.  It's hard to work when he is home.)  I even completed what I had to do.  I had a powerful motivator: A book I'd been waiting for since November was coming out on ebook at midnight, and I wanted to take Tuesday off to allow me to read it.  I was even planning on staying up all night reading, but unfortunately I got tired and went to bed around 2am.

My "reading day" didn't go exactly as I'd hoped, but I'd planned one day off and one only.  So even though I'm still not finished with the book, here I am, back at work!  Even though it's Wednesday, since I didn't work yesterday it feels a bit like a Monday, so I'll make a few goals for the rest of the week.

1) To finish a project that has been hanging over my head for a while now;
2) To make post-holiday contact with a few regular clients and see about lining up some new work; and
3) To get back on track with my blogs.

Modest goals for only having three days left in the week, but important ones.  Since I lost virtually all of December to illness and holidays, I am feeling the pinch now from a lack of marketing, so drumming up some new work is high on my list of priorities!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

This week's goals

I used to make New Year's resolutions every year, and post them on my blog, but in the last couple years I've been feeling a little disillusioned with that practice.  Usually I don't meet them — heck, I don't even remember them past about February (if that).

January has gotten a slow start for me this year, though.  I was sick for half of December, and the other half was filled with holiday preparations and celebrations, so on the whole it was a rather unproductive month.  And after a month of not being very productive, trying to put myself in a more productive frame of mind isn't going very well.

As a result, I've decided that even if I'm not going to make New Year's resolutions this year, I ought to at least make some goals for this week — what's left of it, that is.  Here they are:

1. To finish a couple of articles that were stalled when I got sick,
2. To reestablish contact with a few clients whom I haven't talked to since before I got sick, and
3. To finish a couple of (short) new assignments one of my biggest clients just assigned me.

Partly because I didn't work much in December, and partly because new work is always slow for me just after the holidays, I have more time on my hands than I would like right now.  My horse, naturally, already found a way to give me something to do, but I should still have time to meet these three goals.

Another goal I have in mind is to get back to work on my novel, which I haven't touched since mid-November, when it became clear that I was going to have to choose between NaNoWriMo and paying work.  Since I'm already halfway through this week, though, I'll save that particular goal for later.

If you've made New Year's resolutions on your blog, feel free to post a link in the comments.  Or, if you don't do New Year's resolutions, what short-term goals have you made recently?


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