The clock was my master for years. I’d get up at 5 AM to do charts, make lunches at 6, wake the kids at 6:30. By 7:30 I had to be at the hospital for rounds so the office could start on time at 9.
Then appointments were set at luxurious fifteen-minute intervals. (Five minutes more than most family doctors get because we were a teaching clinic.) And God help you if you were late to the lunch seminars and business meetings, because if you weren’t prompt, you’d arrive to find yourself “volunteered” for extra work. Need I explain that the afternoons and evenings were more of the same?
Because the rhythm of the second hand had become the music of my life, it got so I had no real need for a wristwatch. I could close my eyes, estimate the time and be off by no more than two minutes.
And the lists—oh, the lists! I’d wake with nightmares that I’d misplaced one of them or forgotten to record a vital entry in my PDA.
Then I left that world behind, and let me tell you, things changed. I kicked all left-brained organizational tools to the curb with my income. Know what? I didn’t even recycle. And that’s where I’ve been these last few years: locked in a rebellion without a cause.
See, to a certain degree, a non-linear life works for me. Essential tasks always get done. Much to their dismay, the kids have yet to be late for school. (Except for valid weather-ly reasons or last-minute mechanical problems.) The supper gets made, the menagerie fed, the finances finessed. But in my desire to leave the maniacal list-making and clock-watching behind, I’m beginning to believe I’ve swung too far into right brain-mode.
I’ve come to this conclusion over the past week as—in the spirit of true, scientific vigour—I’ve observed both my word count and my day’s structure to see if they correlate. Much as I’d love to deny it, I write better in an orderly house.
When I sit down to the computer, even if I can’t see an untidy room, its presence nags at me. Because I don’t have a specific day that I work on the books or do the groceries, every day is a day I must consider these tasks, if only to dismiss them.
As for my writing hours…well if you don’t have a concrete time when you begin to write, it’s hard to know when you’ve put in a good day’s effort and can feel justifiably proud. In other words, while I’m not constrained by a rigid schedule, nor do I feel free without one.
So I’ve decided to make peace with my left brain—it’s time. Instead of flowers, I will woo her with a week’s schedule written up on a Sunday night. M’s work schedule, groceries, my fitness regime—they’ll all be planned out.
Make no mistake; nothing will be written in Sharpie. With kids and a husband, Life will see to that. But I have to say I’m looking forward to a definitive schedule. Even more, I’m anticipating the feeling of success as my writing productivity improves. Which it will, right? Right?
Now I’m curious about you guys. Are you right- or left-brained? (If you’re not certain, watch the video below for a minute or so to find out.)
Do you have a writing schedule? Do you wing it? Even if you can’t always follow the best routine for yourself, do you know what that is? Enquiring minds want to know.