It’s kind of fuzzy

I can’t focus on anything these days to save my life. Not that I was ever particularly adept at maintaining balance and focus in my life. But when I had a small life with little responsibility it was easy to compensate. These days my life includes so many people and so many activities and my brain is exhausted. I don’t as well as I should. I don’t exercise as well as I should. And I don’t shower my wife with affection and attention like I should. I think this also might be one of the root problems I’m having with my writing lately. And then there are the neglected friends, the neglegcted family, and the pile of unaddressed wedding thank you notes that still need to go out.

So what to do about it all? Normally I find writing lists and keeping notes helps, but then I lose the lists and notes. Part of me feels like that guy in MEMENTO who needs to keep pictures and sticky notes on everything. If I could narrow it down to one major reason I think I would pick a lack of energy as the source of my troubles. It would be so much easier if I was all peppy and zip full of energy all day but that ain’t ever going to happen. And it’s going to all go to hell once the baby comes along, so I need to get it under control now.

Exercise and diet seem obvious choices to help this, but its’ not as easy to fix as you might think. Every minute I’m out jogging or walking with the dog is time I’m not at home with my wife, or writing. And cooking takes time and energy, and then on the weekends we’re working at the house or running around town and good nutrition suffers.

So I’m opening this up for suggestions. How do I get my head screwed on straight these days?

12 thoughts on “It’s kind of fuzzy

  1. Get sleep. Push aside whatever else you have to push aside (except for the Mrs.), but get a couple of nights in a row of eight hours. When you’re more clear headed, the rest of what lies before you goes by more quickly.

  2. You’ve got three of the most stressful life events happening all at the same time: marriage, baby, new home.

    What works for me is to allocate some time to each goal. It’s never enough time, but it’s a chink at each if nothing can be put off (like the house?).

    I agree with Steven that sleep is #1 (can’t do anything without it) and next diet and exercise. Don’t have any great ideas on diet except to throw $$ at it (seems more expensive to buy the right food, peapod, etc). Living long and healthfully is a gift to your family and yourself.

    Hang in there!

  3. It takes time and practice. On the plus side, you already have a firm goal in mind, a specific task to achieve it (finish your novel), etc., something I lacked until I got started on CrimeSpot. Don’t get frustrated – you need some time to goof off, too, so don’t feel guilty about that.

  4. Spouse, house, job, and child (or baby on the way) are quite overwhelming, and when you add the goal of writing a novel on top of it, well, organization is key. Time management skills come slowly, but you’ll get the hang of it.

  5. Try multitasking. Get the Mrs. to go jogging. Cook with her (or just have her near by to chat.) Park far away and walk to do your errands. Bring a notebook everywhere you go to jot things in while waiting in line, etc.

    As for meals– cooking quick meals is easy. Nothing I make takes more than 20 minutes to prepare. And I have to make almost everything I eat from scratch– down to bread and dough.

    And prioritize.

    Good luck. Life changes are never easy, but they can be great.

  6. Take out? Ready made “quick takes” from the supermarket?

    How about “watch less TV?”

    Ditto Clair on walks with the wife (and the same when baby arrives). House? As long as nothing’s leaking or about to catch fire or the health department isn’t getting ready to show up – it can all wait. If you set even a little time aside each week to write, if it means house projects take longer – then you’re better off.

  7. PS: When I started grad school I knew it would be years before I’d have time to start my next novel, but I did find time to write a short story or two – knowing this extra-busy period had a finite limit is what keeps me going….

  8. I let things go until they drive me crazy. That way I spend a day cleaning the house, the next day offline and with my kids, the following day working on my novel.

    Does it suck? Very much. I don’t feel like I can get a handle on anything (and that’s with diet and exercise improvements). But the two things I’m trying to keep in mind:

    1) This is temporary. In the not too distant future, the boys will be in school. Even though that will bring its own set of difficulties, at least time boundaries will be clearer (i.e. I’ll have more blocks of writing time).

    2) Things have a way of working themselves out. I have been so stressed over meeting deadlines in the last couple of months, but have been making plenty of time for my family anyway. The deadlines got made on time. Yes, I’ve had to reshuffle priorities (reading blogs, writing blogs, online socializing have alll taken a back seat) but with the help of to-do lists, I was able to contact a source here, write a paragraph there. It worked out and my kids didn’t kill each other.

    Take it easy and oh, one more thing: don’t make plans. The more rigidly you plan something, the more likely it is all to fall to shit. Learn to roll with the punches now. Nearly five years after the birth of my first child, I’m wondering why I didn’t learn sooner. Just stubborn, I guess.

  9. Kid coming. Newly married. New home.

    Gee, I wonder why you’e having trouble focusing/

    I’ve found that sometimes I need to give writing a break in order to take care of, and appreciate, even more important things — kids, wifes, houses, family, health, peace of mind, rest. Well, maybe not rest.

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