(MoneyWatch) I've spent numerous hours over the past few months working on a novel. I completed a draft, and sent it out to my beta-testers to read. Now I've gotten most of the feedback and gotten ideas for revision. The problem?
I need to carve out time to do it.
I suppose if my life looked differently, I would go hole up in a cabin in the woods somewhere. I, and someday I hope to make that my reality. But right now, if a retreat is going to happen, it's going to have to be local and fit within business hours.
Fortunately, I think that's still doable -- for me, and for other people who want to finish up big projects. Here's what I did to prepare:
First, I carefully scheduled all phone calls and meetings next week to occur only on certain days and at certain times. The goal was to have at least 4-5 hours open on 4 days of the week -- ideally in the morning when my mind is freshest.
Second, I found a retreat location. Nothing fancy -- just a branch of the local library system that's airy and big enough that I can move away from anyone who starts talking loudly. The point was to get away from my usual work space with all its distractions.
Third, I worked through the scope of what I want to accomplish in those 16-20 hours. I made careful notes so I have a road map, because "revise novel" is a pretty intimidating sounding project. "Insert a new scene with Janie and Anton in the early part of the second section" is more doable.
Obviously, not all jobs can accommodate an in-office sabbatical -- though probably more can than we think. Many people shy away from scheduling things around lunchtime, so seizing the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for focused work on a project a few days a week might be doable. A quiet conference room could serve as a retreat location in a pinch, but so could a coffee shop or your own library if you can control where you work.
And if those hours don't work? Many successful people. Many people could create a retreat from 6:30-9:30 a.m. several days in a row if they wanted. If there's a project you just don't seem to have time to finish, that might be a good choice.
When do you carve out time for big projects?
Photo courtesy flickr user VSELLIS