My mother is, quite possibly, the most brilliant woman on the face of the Earth. For the majority of her life, she has been a homemaker and mother. But I grew up on a farm where there’s more to do in a day than in the average household. My mother managed three kids, a husband, aging parents, an enormous garden, and more than her share of chores around the farm, including tending to a tobacco crop and livestock. Looking back, I’m postively astounded at the amount of work she completed in a day.
But Mom was super organized. She had everything parsed into days—Monday was laundry day, Tuesday was yard day, Wednesday was house cleaning day, Thursday was grocery day, and so on. Of course many tasks had to be done every day, like harvesting whatever produce was ready and feeding livestock (and hungry humans). The best thing was that everyone in our household knew the routine, so we could work with and around her.
I’m always looking for a better way to work and be more organized, so taking a cue from my mom, I’ve been experimenting with parsing my workload into specific days. To get started, I took a look back over my previous months’ schedule to see what things were set that I had to work around, what things tended to fall on certain days, and what tasks made sense when grouped together. To that end:
I’ve dubbed Monday as “Marketing Monday.” It’s the day I check pricing and sales on my books and coordinate advertising around upcoming releases. I check my Adwords results and tweak those parameters if I need to. And I try to touch base with readers on social media.
On Tuesdays, I meet my critique partner for dinner, and since we meet at a mall restaurant, I save up shopping chores to do on that day, either before or after we meet. And I know I’ll be on the train going to and from, which gives me an hour round-trip to read or answer email. And because I’m usually trying to finish writing and reading pages to take to my partner, I know it’s going to be a busy work day, so I make Tuesday an “off” day for exercising.
(Strangely enough, Tuesday is also a busy day in general in the book industry. My first agent and I noticed this phenomenon early in my career—we called it “Good News Tuesday” and “So Sorry Thursday.” We theorized that EVERYONE in the industry meets on Monday, so editors are eager to impart good news and dole out assignments the following day. Conversely, they tend to put off delivering bad news until later in the week…but usually not on Friday because they don’t want to ruin anyone’s weekend—or their own!)
Tuesday, by the way, is the day I most look forward to because it often brings, as forementioned, good news, and because it’s always a stress reliever to get together with my critique partner and have a nice meal that someone else has prepared.
For all the reasons that my Tuesdays are hectic, my Wednesdays aren’t. So I decided to schedule Wednesday as my “marathon writing day.” Which works because I’m usually reenergized from the previous evening’s critique meeting. This is the day I most avoid the phone.
For some reason, it seems that most of my conference calls have taken place on Thursdays, so now I set aside Thursdays for conference calls and webinars, and for placing other business calls (and returning calls I missed Wednesday). And while I’m talking about the phone, let me say that the phone can and will consume an entire work day. I prefer to conduct business over email; I like having a record of what’s being done, and when. And overall, it’s more productive, especially when a group is involved. (Thursday is the day of the week that I look forward to the least—have I mentioned how much I dislike talking on the phone?)
Fridays are “Financial Fridays.” I do filing and banking and pay bills and once a month, I reconcile my accounts through Quickbooks. It’s not exactly fun, but it’s a good way to end the week so money matters aren’t nagging at me over the weekend.
I try not to work on weekends, but I usually do. Sunday evenings I tend to revisit social media, clean my office to set the tone for the week, and plan my page production for the week.
Keep in mind that I write every day (or attempt to). Some days I’m more successful than others because life happens and the universe doesn’t seem to acknowledge my tidy schedule. But I’ve found that by setting aside one day a week to concentrate on a related set of tasks, I’m less distracted and I tend to get more done overall.
If only there were eight days in a week!
Q: What’s YOUR favorite day of the week and why?