Thursday, March 12, 2015

AARRGGGHHH! Or Feeling Overloaded by Aileen Fish

That scream is going off in my head daily, of late. With multiple deadlines, cover reveals, book releases and so on in the next few months, my workload is non-stop. It's funny how we picture living our dream jobs but never see the work needed beyond the fun part, which for me is the writing. And the research...but that's another topic that too often derails my to-do lists, so I'm closing that door right now!

I'm not one who copes well with stress. I tend to binge, whether writing, cleaning, sorting...and can set off a flare-up of Chronic Fatigue. I am easily distrac-- oh, look, shiny! And I'm supposed to be reforming my diet and exercising consistently. I also tend to put things off until the last minute (she says as she types this blog twelve hours before it goes live. Hey, I'm improving!).

Rather than learning to juggle like Patrick Dempsey (seriously, McDreamy juggles! Watch him on I try to use apps to organize my workload, life, plans, etc. The main one I use is the Reminders app that syncs on my iPhone, iPad and Macbook. You should see the reaction of my almost-three-year-old granddaughter if she's holding my phone before her 9am dance class, when my daily reminders pop up one after the other. The poor girl thinks she broke my phone.

I bought another app, Home Routine, with the hopes of setting up housework chore lists and such, but haven't had time to figure it out. Oh, the irony, right? I've learned how to set Reminders to repeat daily, weekly and monthly, which helps, and have learned how to put a time in the description that doesn't move the reminder to that time, when I need to do something before a deadline.

But the biggest tool in my kit is the little ones my quilting friends have taught me over the years. Set a timer.

Simple, isn't it? A quilt is made one seam at a time. You take the 224 pieces stacked in the pack of the photo and turn them into the arcs at the front, then add the arcs to other pieces and you have a quilt. Ha! It sounds less daunting when I write it than when I sat down to sew. But my quilting friends said to set a timer for the time I could spare--thirty minutes? An hour? When the timer goes off, move on to something else.

In theory, that timer is keeping me from the edge of the cliff. In actuality, I'm not about to test giving it up and seeing if I can get things done on time.

And that quilt? Well, we'll say it's a bad example, or an example of what not to do. With a job change, a move, loss of a job, sudden need to publish as much as possible as soon as possible, the quilt got set aside. A wedding quilt became a fourth anniversary quilt. As I said, I tend to put things off...

Do you have any methods that help you get through your schedule? Please share. You never know when you might be saving someone a meltdown.

USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Fish is an avid quilter and auto racing fan who finds there aren't enough hours in a day/week/lifetime to stay up with her "to do" list. There is always another quilt or story begging to steal away attention from the others. When she has a spare moment she enjoys spending time with her two daughters and their families, and her fairy princess granddaughter. Her books include The Bridgethorpe Brides series and the Small Town Sweethearts series.

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  1. Oh, that sounds so familiar, Aileen! The timer is a great idea. I'll have to try it. Best of luck with all you have to do.

  2. I was reading this, Aileen, and then saw something shiny, and was gone for a while... :)

    As Patti said, it sounds familiar. I wish I could share a method that works to keep me on task. I have used the timer idea successfully, then got away from it.

    Love the 4th anniversary quilt!

  3. Great blog. I'm with you on being overloaded. For writing goals of the day, I have to write a certain number of words before I can play a couple of games I have on my phone. That can help sometimes.

  4. We need a retreat for writers where we bring our quilting and cross-stitch and get the idea.

  5. I love the timer idea! Thanks for sharing. Don't think I'm tech savvy enough to keep up with the apps! Maybe some day. :)

  6. I can so relate to you - too much to do, far too little time. How is it I'm 10x busier now than when I worked full time and wrote when I can snatch a moment or two? Love, love the timer idea! I must order one today, unless I get distracted first by something shiny. ;)

  7. Thanks, ladies! I's nice to know I'm not alone. Melinda, I didn't know you do crafts, too.

  8. OH, right there with you, Aileen! We are all master jugglers. :) If I can ever find the time, I like to work on dollhouse miniatures--it's another way of world building. And another creative outlet. Which reminds me, I have to do a baby roombox for a shower a month. Guess I'd better get cracking! Thanks for the post--LOVE the quilts! :)

  9. Great post, Aileen. The older I get, the harder it is to be efficient and juggle everything on my schedule...despite New Years resolutions!

  10. Thanks, Anna & Roxanne. It's funny how creative writers are in other areas. And Roxanne, I figure I'll make a new resolution list after I accomplish the ones from the past, LOL!

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