Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How I'm Organizing My Writing Time

I'm such a goof-off. My October plans for writing were to become more consistent by sticking to a scheduled writing time but October has not gone smoothly. With NaNoWriMo on the horizon, I hope that this trend doesn't last. My good  intentions this month simply disappeared, with a few other plans I made, into the murkiness of my life.

I did write but not as much as I'd hoped. Most of the month I spent dealing with the weather. Not in some magical way but the changes in weather patterns tend to make my Rheumatoid arthritis worse. On top of that, for a couple of weeks I experienced plummeting blood sugar and I don't know why. I had to make adjustments. My blood pressure was also down by about 10 points on both sides of the equation. 

I know there will be some who think such problems should have no impact on writing but when you can't operate the keyboard because your hands are swollen and the joints stiff, or  you can't stay awake due to the extreme fatigue, then it has a huge impact. 

On a positive note, I found part of the problem was caused by dehydration. I had several days where I was extremely sluggish and unable to stay awake. After everything else checked out, I thought I might be dehydrated. So, I checked my skin. To do this pinch the back of your hand, below the knuckles and let go. If your skin is slow to return to normal, you're dehydrated.

Since I failed the test, I drank 24 ounces of water and in a hour I was awake again. I forget to drink and eat now that I'm not working. I don't get hungry or thirst and I don't go to lunch on a schedule to remind me. That isn't a good thing. I take a diuretic blood pressure pill and dehydration is a risk. 

I seemed to have licked the water problem. Less stress overall has probably resulted in the changed in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. So, now I need to bring myself to task.


I went in search for something to assist me in staying on track with my writing. I'm terrible with schedules unless I have a calendar handy to prompt me and then I have to make myself stick in the chair for a specific amount of time, regardless of what happens. I decided I needed a timer, something a bit more elaborate than the basic kitchen timer I have on my phone. 

I have a friend who does a work schedule where she does her housework in breaks. She works 30 minutes and takes a 30 minute break. I've tried it and found it a great way to get a lot done and not feel overwhelmed. Months ago I ran across an article about the Pomodoro Technique(T) and it was basically my friend's method. 

I've wanted to implement this type of schedule for my writing time but I needed a good timer that allowed me to set the schedule I wanted to use without having to reset it each rotation. There is a Pomodoro timer but I didn't care for it. 

After examining several timer apps for my computer and phone, I only found one I really liked called Breaker. I've tried it several times and am happy with it. The ease of operation and low profile are just what I was looking for. And I can program a variety of schedules and rotations.


If you know me, you know I'm a rabid Google fan. I use everything Google that I can. I have email, blogger, YouTube, G+, Google Drive, and Google Calendar. There are other Google items but I'll stop with the most common. 

Google Calendar is my lifeline to my life. I schedule everything on it, right down to reminders to call someone. I have the app on my phone and it reminds me where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. I could download it to my laptop with Microsoft Mail or Outlook but I don't like either of those and it just adds stuff to my computer that I have to sort through and clean out periodically. Online, Google requires none of that. 

Today I found an app that I hope will prove useful in keeping up with things when I'm on the computer. Gminder is a small app on my taskbar that loads everything I have on every calendar that I tell it to load and reminds me. At the moment I have three calendars I monitor: one personal calendar for all my appointments, meetings, and assignments, one for NaNoWriMo calendar to let my region know when, where, and what time we have meetings, and a third tracking calendar as a separate log. 

I loaded Gminder on my computer on Tuesday, told it what calendars to load, and my scheduled items appeared in the minder. I got a notice immediately that it was my birthday. Did I really schedule my own birthday? Probably not. But my contacts' birthdays are included on my calendar so, if my birthday is in my contacts, then it is on the calendar. Why put my own name in my contacts? I have three email addresses and three phone numbers. This way, they're all handy if I need to send them to someone.

On first glance, I think I'll like Gminder. If I hate it, I'll have to schedule myself a reminder to come back and tell you. I think Breaker and Gminder are going to be excellent tools in my arsenal to get organized. One can only hope that they are effective. It's a choice.


  1. So, does Gminder trigger an alarm every 30 minutes without having to be reset each time?

    1. Nancy, if you set an appointment every 30 minutes it would. It rings a bell! Breaker is really good for the 30 minute cycles. You set the cycle for the length you want, and the length of breaks between. It will do as many loops as you want without resetting.


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