The 6 to 6 of everyday life is a necessary evil; a daily trip around Routine and Normality ending mostly in dissatisfaction of the “I didn’t do as much as I thought I would” kind. The grind as some so affectionately call this period of time.
It is only now, when I’m back in the grind that I once again realize how much time I had during the festive season. Late early mornings going to bed at 4am because that one story is trying to get out. Waking up at 10am because my stomach has tenderly called up bae, a.k.a. hunger.
Then we engage the rest of the day in doing all sorts of things including watching that one movie everyone was raging about but hadn’t had the time to watch, the TV Series everyone says “you just have to watch” , the anime that keeps popping up on every second 9GAG post and of course, a game or four on the Xbox or PC. All of these, of course, rounded by writing, reading, digital drawing, researching, studying, online courses and a host of other productive uses of time. 10AM to 4AM is a good long time to be productive.
Now however, those glorious eighteen hours spent doing what I want, when I want, how I want, have been severed by the grind to a measly six hours. But I get paid for that don’t I?
What does that mean? Well it just means that for the eleven months that I am working the grind and do not have the luxury of doing what I want when I want, I will have to structure doing those things within the “measly” six hours I have between getting home and sleep. However, looking at it, it’s not as measly as one might think.
The first step is laying out exactly what needs to be done (Important) and what can be set aside for the moment (Not so Important) and structuring the hours accordingly. So for Gamecca magazine I have to write a set number of articles before the deadline so I set aside a large portion of time for that (Important). I’m reading a book a week so I set aside a small chunk of time for that (Semi-Important). I want to learn that particular art style so I set a little bit of time aside for that (Not so Important). And so on for each activity, task or project. These may change depending on importance of course.
The second step is to ensure that you keep to those time limits. Only an hour a day to read, then use every bit of that hour to read. Slacking off means one of the others will suffer and it will be a domino effect at the end of it all. Nothing worse than rushing to get something done due to bad time management and discipline.
Lastly, and this is helpful but not a necessary step, is to have someone hold you accountable for these tasks and projects. For Gamecca it’s easy. I have a wonderful, merciful editor but as I have come to experience, a deadline is a deadline; no two ways about it. For reading I have a pending Book Review looming over my head and the fact that I have books littered everywhere around the house is enough to kick me back into gear. For everything else, it’s really easy to slack off so self-motivation has to drive me and self-motivation is exceptionally easy to talk yourself out of.
In that case, get a friend and challenge each other. Tell yourself you won’t touch your phone until the end of that task and reward yourself with a good perusal of social media (chat to that message that has been beeping for the last hour) or however you think best to reward yourself, as long as it’s worth it in the end.
What’s your 6 to 6 grind?