The week before last, I had my phone set to Airplane Mode for a couple of days. That worked nicely–the sense of freedom it gave me was, well, freeing. Then last week happened.
There was a lot going on all week, and I kept thinking Airplane Mode would happen again the following day, but that never seemed to work out–and it came to a head on Friday. I had texts from a kid, texts from people wanting to ask questions about the kids, something like 30 texts (to make it more difficult) to schedule visits between the kids we have here and their siblings who live elsewhere, calls about a vehicle in the shop for repairs, and in the midst of all this…I also texted and called to coordinate things like my mom’s birthday party, meeting for lunch to pre-celebrate said birthday, and arranging to borrow a vehicle for the weekend. And driving to borrow said vehicle.
I got nothing done. Well, a lot of things were managed, but it was a completely unproductive day for writing. This is not okay.
So that was frustrating. My wife and I ended up having a late-night conversation yesterday, which was obviously not going to help today’s productivity a whole lot but was nevertheless overdue and necessary. We agreed that I’m simply going to be unavailable, to anybody, until 2:30 PM on weekdays. My phone no longer displays any notifications of text messages, and all calls are forwarded to another number, which goes straight to voicemail and records whatever people want to say, then forwards that to my email address. I took email off my phone too. I’m no longer allowed to call my wife to ask questions, or to plan things, or for any reason other than an actual emergency. (Turns out she, too, has things to do that aren’t aided by interruptions…weird!)
Nope. None of that.
My wife and I also agreed to go back to having scheduled meetings every week…sounds odd, I’m sure, but they used to work pretty well. We have a shared Evernote folder, and what we did before was create a note with an “agenda” tag for non-emergencies that we felt we needed to talk about. So then we’d set aside time to do all that talking, and deal with whatever we’d put in there. As long as we kept having the meetings, that worked. When we let life and a desire to do deep dives into projects prevent the meetings from happening, it meant there was little point in using the agenda-setting system, so we didn’t do that, and we would either interrupt each other or drop the ball or try to manage it all via email or…well, who cares what else? That didn’t work very well. So, we’re going back to a system that used to work.
As for Airplane Mode? I’m also using that. I don’t really need it to stop myself from browsing the Internet, or using social media (I actively dislike social media). It’s there to keep me from being interrupted. So, with the changes to my phone’s setup, it’s less necessary–but it still saves battery life, and I might as well turn it on.
All that said? Since, today, I’ve had a chance to stop and think a bit? I’ve spent my time thinking, and making both notes and plans. I need to make decisions about my previously-published novels and pen names. I need to work on new covers, new titles, and scheduling time to edit/rewrite each of them before re-publishing. New print editions, too. Audiobooks? Maybe. Someday. Not now.
I figured some–but by no means all–of that out, maybe. I’ve also worked out some details of the next two books I’m planning to write. I’ve downloaded a bunch of cover images. I’ve written no new fiction today. That’s…going to have to be okay.
I would write more here–for values of “write” that mean “dictate”–but this post has been long enough. I still have things to do. Back tomorrow.
Have fun out there!