I talked a bit about this on Bsky yesterday and it was useful to some folks there, so thought I’d post about it here.
I have a lot of trouble with breaks in routine. Working freelance (or writing), I do best with uninterrupted time. It’s one thing to put down my mouse in Photoshop to answer the phone; if I’m in the middle of editing and someone knocks on my door, that is tricky to get back to. If I’m in the middle of formatting, pausing to answer even email can throw my brain off of what I was doing, and I can make an error.
And, just in general, things like a really late start to my day can throw me right off. Or an unexpected phone call (cue me on a three-way call between the patient support program and my insurance, dropping everything to fill in more forms and bursting into tears). I very rarely give up everything I have to do, but I do quickly go to “oh my god, everything is messed up today, I won’t get anything done” and sometimes I give up.
Yesterday started bad.
I woke up early with allergies, happened to check my email and there was a very stressful one (literally everyone I know will now think it was them–it was not work or friend related lol) and I had a panic attack. Wednesday is my writing day, and I had a goal of 8K on Waverly 6. Instead, I was up on four hours of sleep, being talked off a ledge by a friend, making phone calls, and otherwise freaking out.
My day was shot.
I had a strong bout of the “why bothers” as I had my WIP out and for three hours I did not write a goddamn word. I had no focus. It felt like the day was a wash and I was disappointed I’d have to spend my writing day probably just doing writer admin stuff.
Enter the Day Reset.
This is a thing Krista recommended once, and damn if it doesn’t work.
Day going badly? Get up and take a shower.
Have some water to drink, get something (preferably nutritious) to eat, but take that shower first. Get dressed. Be hydrated and fed, and sit down again.
It resets your day.
Even though I didn’t really get settled until late afternoon, I still managed to write 6K and figure out where the next several chapters are going to conclude the book, and attended an author roundtable event on forensic psychology.
I hate that it works.
I really want to just give up and say something was a wash. But when I’ve got a list of things I need to get done–whether it’s work, writing, cleaning, walking on the treadmill, etc–not making any progress all hangs over me and makes the next day worse. So the reset really works for me.
Monday was a struggle–I slept in, and while I did get up to freelance, I was going to skip the treadmill. I need to keep the living room pretty thoroughly vacuumed and use the dustbuster around the treadmill to keep the cat hair out of the motor, and I hadn’t done that on Sunday, and did not think I’d do it on Monday with so much work to do. But a few hours into the day, I thought I wanted to take a shower, and then I thought, well, I might as well get a treadmill session in first, and that completely helped my day. I didn’t get in my usual three walking sessions, but I did two, which is better than the zero I was headed for. And even with the extra hour of walking and time cleaning up, I still got through the bulk of my work to-do list.
(Also on the list of things I hate: ninety minutes of walking is really good for me. I split it into three sessions. It helps my energy level, helps my brain, and goddamn am I ever resentful. This is also how I feel about eating broccoli.)
Getting a little bit off the list is better than giving up and getting nothing off the list. I know we know this intellectually, but this is one method of helping with it.
So try a Day Reset if it’s rough. And buy Krista’s new book (yes, that’s really Krista).