Coffee heat rising

Stress Control: Second insight

Yesterday I described a small epiphany that freed up as much as two hours a day of precious morning time. It helped to relieve the stress and frustration aggravating the bruxism, the insomnia, and the general irritability that help to make my life miserable. Surprisingly, a day later another, equally significant revelation dawned.

Second moment of insight: blogging has been consuming way too large a chunk of my day. And because I’d been doing it first crack out of the box, every single day, it added to the time-stress created by a huge raft of daily chores that need to be done before I can even think about going to work or having a life. It prevented me from getting any exercise in the morning, and…well, it can’t be healthy to spend hours on end staring into a computer monitor.

The minute I would roll out of the sack, usually around 5:00 or 5:30 a.m., I would take the dog out briefly and then stumble directly into my office to call up WordPress. This had become such a firmly established routine that Cassie would run straight to the office after finishing her morning business.

Then I would spend one to two hours writing and cruising the blogosphere. From there it was on to cleaning the pool and watering the plants, another one- to two-hour set of tasks. All this took place before I so much as brushed my teeth, to say nothing of feeding the dog, brewing a pot of coffee, and fixing my own breakfast.

I don’t want to quit blogging, first because I enjoy it and second because FaM is just beginning to make a little money. But long before this, I’ve thought that I devote far too much of my attention to computer screens and far too little to living a normal life.

A day after the pool insight, I happened to feel rested enough to write three posts in one day. As I was about to publish the second one, it occurred to me that I could buy a day of vacation from blogging by scheduling that post to go live 24 hours forward. And the third post could go up two days forward. Hmmm…two days in which I would not have to write for the Internet.

I already had a guest post in-house and was about to ask Stephen Taddie for permission to post his latest investment letter: two more days off! Suddenly, I had the makings of a five-day break.

Next morning I stayed far away from the computer, much to the dog’s confusion. Didn’t even check the e-mail.

Now, with neither the pool-and-yard frenzy nor the writing-and-surfing session starting my day, a good four hours of the morning were returned to me. If I got up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., by 7:00 or 7:30 I was ready to get on the road.  And best of all: I felt neither frazzled nor horsewhipped!

So, that’s how I’m going to deal with blogging from here on out:

Write about three posts twice a week, and schedule them out over the coming days.
Do at least one easy-to-scribble retrospective “Best of FaM” post a month.
Solicit guest posts to give friends and fellow bloggers a say at FaM.
On days when I’m not writing, stay away from the computer monitor as much as possible.

After a couple of blog-free and pool labor-free days, I began to feel a lot less stressed. It’s no wonder my temper has been short, and no wonder I’ve been grinding my teeth. On top of the workplace headaches, I’ve been trying to do too many at-home jobs—half of them unpleasant jobs—in way too little time.

So, two small flashes of insight led to reorganizing routine activities so as to free up four hours of time—every day. Have you had a similar experience? What strategies do you use to keep yourself from being overwhelmed by responsibilities and tasks?

5 thoughts on “Stress Control: Second insight”

  1. Congrats on freeing yourself from some stress. Isn’t it wonderful when you get to roll out from under something like that?

    Question: What’s with the buxom wench at the beginning of your blog these days? I’m not one for clicking on links, so I thought I’d ask you.


    • @ Patty: Lush little critter, isn’t she? 😉 I was startled to see her displaying her wares on the front page of something so staid as FaM. Google’s rules prohibit blog proprietors from clicking on Google AdSense links in their own blogs, for the obvious reason that this would be a pretty easy way to capitalize on the ads. Also, I was afraid she might be an ad for porn, and I sure don’t want to risk my computer’s security by wandering into one of those sites. However, I noticed that up in the upper left corner there’s a logo reading “Evony.” By googling that, I discovered that it’s a role-playing game!

      So, I think she’s harmless. A little racy, maybe, and possibly visiting a site that won’t sell many games, but what the heck. She’ll probably rotate off the page in due course.

      LOL! Would that all buxom wenches in the mythical time this game inhabits could have had her access to make-up artists, plastic surgeons, and PhotoShop!

  2. Isn’t scheduled posting wonderful? I realized that while I enjoy actively blogging on a daily basis, sometimes I need a break or need to be away from the computer. Put that together with the occasional (once a week or so) days when writing comes as easily as typing and voila! Scheduled posts for an entire week!

    During the end times, I did have a bit of trouble mustering the energy to write and, of course, I’m having a little trouble getting ahead on those days when I just don’t have any writing mojo, but it sorts itself out. Ultimately, it can be a bit of a lifesaver.

    On those mojo-less days, I just start squidges of ideas and leave them in draft form for re-visitation at a later date.

    • @ Revanche: Yesh, the schedule posting business is…well, th’business. Another handy discovery is that I don’t mind writing in my old paper journal — I can sit anywhere I like to do that and it’s not as uncomfortable as trying to type on a laptop. This also generates some draft posts, which are easy to revise online a day or two later.

  3. I usually have one or two days a week where I’m tremendously inspired to write blog posts and then I take the other days off from writing (I’ll jot down ideas for future posts but i won’t flesh them out at the time).

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