Just a couple of writers on a road trip through life. Hop in, hold on, and don’t forget your rain boots.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I have a secret....

I'm from the future. 

I woke up this morning with wrinkles. I aged 30 years overnight. Or I slept on a pillow crease. Either way, scary. At least my time machine works. Now what did I come back here for? That’s the bad part about having a time machine and a bad memory. Instead of forgetting why I walked into a room, I forget why I traveled 30 years in the past to this very day. This very important day. Today is the one month-a-versary of Writer Freaks. You can’t say anniversary because “anni” means year. Or anyway annual means year and I’m not a freaking word scholar but anyway you can’t have an anniversary after one month. And yesterday was Veteran’s Day and today everyone is off work because of it, except for people who work from home and are never off work, and the day before was the Marine Corps birthday (Semper Fi) and all these milestone-type deals make me think about time. 

If I could time travel for real I would go back to when I was this awesome

“If I could keep time in a bottle, if dreams could make wishes come true…”

If only.

It’s not that there aren’t enough hours in the day. There’s at least 16 usable hours in a day, if you get the recommended eight hours per night of sleep. Sixteen hours. That’s forty minutes shy of 1000 minutes. A thousand minutes sounds like a lot of time.  How is it that I can’t manage to get everything done in those sixteen hours per day?

I decided to do a time motion study on myself, to see where I’m going wrong. 

5:16 am. Woken up by baby. Bring him into our bed and try to convince him to fall back asleep.

5:38 am. Give up on baby going back to sleep. Go in living room/kitchen to change diaper, give bottle, make coffee.

5:39 am. Discover abundance of ants crawling all over coffee maker, despite three hours of Internet research and application of several “home remedy” prevention techniques. Curse Internet people who advised vinegar, chili powder, cinnamon, borax and peppermint oil as ways to prevent ants. Wonder if using all of them at the same time was the problem.  Discover baby wipes pulled out of package and strewn about living room while dealing with ants. Clean up all messes. Curse.

6:04 a.m. Wake up girl child. Rub her back, sing a little song, pray that today is a good wake up day. Leave room realizing it is not.

6:04-7:04* Kids get ready and leave for school. Note that I am not going to detail this hour as it is jam-packed with kid issues—finding lost socks, signing papers that should have been signed the night before, cleaning up spilled milk, finding jackets, checking teeth brushing, arguing over clothing choices (yes you have to wear a jacket, it’s cold today), breaking up fights, etc. It’s enough to say that nothing productive happens between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Ever.

7:04 am. Sit at table with phone and coffee. Check Facebook. Check email. Comment on three Facebook posts. Wander to fridge. Open, contemplate breakfast. Smell something bad. Search fruitlessly for whatever has died and begun stinking. Give up. Add “clean fridge” to To Do List.

7:11 am. Return to email and Facebook. Note several emails that need responses. Try to do it on phone, decide they need more lengthy responses. Turn on computer. Watch news. Find interesting video about cool vacation spots.  Google each one, look up plane fare. Remember bank account total. Sulk quietly for several minutes.

7:41 am. Feed baby. Clean baby. Sing songs, make goofy faces. Try to change diaper. Spend nine minutes chasing down naked baby. Attempt to clothe baby. Give up, allow baby to remain in diaper only. Drink more coffee, find baby has removed diaper and is naked again, peeing on carpet. Clean carpet, clothe baby despite kicking and screaming.

8:01 am.  Return to email. Decide on emails that need response. Write “respond to emails” on to do list. Heat up coffee in microwave. Write “clean microwave” on to do list. Return to fridge. Stare inside. Close fridge, eat protein bar. Find more ants. Write “kill ants” on to do list. Return to computer. Read more news, search blogs.

8:58 am. Play with baby. Chase, read books, sing songs. Put baby down for nap. Return to computer. Write “write down writing goals” on to do list. Stare at screen. Write “go for a run” on to do list.
9 a.m. Search for freelance jobs. Note several and begin writing. Stare out window. Remember bills. Decide to pay bills. Decide to reorganize filing system. Make bed. Decide to shower before baby wakes up. Prepare to shower. Roll eyes as baby wakes up when water turns on. Abandon shower and throw on clothes. Feed baby lunch and clean baby. Play with baby.

12:30 Return to writing. Write several pieces and work on manuscript. Feel good about self for five minutes.

2:30* Kids home from school. From this point on my time management study went to hell because nothing very productive happens from 2:30-8 pm when the kids go to sleep. It’s all cooking, homeworking, breaking up fights, playing, talking, arguing, eating, cooking, cleaning, bathing, disciplining, etc. I snuck in a few more minutes of writing here and there but basically the productivity was over.

 By the end of the day, I had spent a cumulative total of 90 minutes trying to clothe/diaper my child, 2 hours and 30 minutes preparing and eating food, two hours actually writing, and almost three hours  reading other people’s blogs, news, YouTube, Facebook posts, and emails, without returning a single email, or doing one item on the to do list.

I realize some of those time wasters are necessary or unavoidable. It’s hard to make a 17-month-old comply at all times. So that one is on him. Cooking—I spend a lot of time deciding what to make and then preparing it. Kids take a lot of time. But other big time wasters are social media and general computer junk. I can waste a whole day not writing a word of my own, just messing about on other people’s blogs. And I want people to read my blog. That’s why I write it. So how can I call it a waste of time to read other people’s blogs if I want them to read mine? It’s research. 

(Had to put Marty McFly on a time travel post)
I decided my schedule needs some reform. I need to figure out how to utilize social media and also ignore it to some extent so I can actually do what I’m trying to do. It’s harder than it sounds. I haven’t figured out how to create this reform or put it into practice yet. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted.

Do you have a suggestion? Leave a comment below and please help me with my time management. Clearly, I need serious help.

Julie Simmons-Wixom is a time traveling writer diva. If you want to connect with her via email, click this link. She will respond to you from the year 2021. Just for fun.


  1. By the sound of it, you're a single mom. Wow - it sounds like you actually have great time-management skills to single-handedly raise multiple children and still find time to write. Awesome!

  2. WalkinDude-- I totally thought about that after I posted this-- my poor husband is like the Invisible Man :-) I didn't even mention him! And he didn't even cry about being so unappreciated, as I would if the situation were reversed. Reality: we have three kids-- 18 months, 7 and 12, and they're all pretty great. But kids take so much time, even the nice ones! My husband is super helpful-- he's really the best. I just wrote this in an extremely narcissistic frame of mind. I do that :-) It's bad. But I must be honest and not take credit for more awesome than I really have. I just have a regular amount of awesome, not quite the superhuman amount. Workin' on it :-)