At the end of my work day on Wednesday, I contemplated the hours completed on my Sister Catherine Living History script. I’d also worked on pre-submission edits for book five in my series, “Justice in Big-G City.” I was pleased with my progress. The first draft of Sister Catherine was nearly done and I was having actual fun working on “Justice.” But also, I felt burned out on desk time. A quick look at the extended weather forecast suggested an excellent opportunity to juggle my schedule a bit- -85 and sunny on Thursday, 67 and very windy on Saturday. So I did a day shift.


But don’t you always work during the day?


Mostly, 9, and that’s what day shift means to normal- -I mean, most- -people. In this instance, I shifted the kind of work I do on Thursday to Saturday, and vice-versa. Thursday was about yard work. Saturday, I’ll return to “Justice” and Sister Catherine.


Day Shift: shifting Thursday’s writing projects to Saturday.



This flexibility is one advantage of being self-employed. Still, I’m so rigid about doing the same things on the same days of the week that it’s actually hard for me to day shift without a twinge of guilt. It’s like my mental and emotional self is being held hostage by a set of days-of-the-week embroidered tea towels.


I remember making some of those. Monday-Washing. Tuesday-Ironing.


Exactly, Lily, and thank goodness we no longer have them as I’d probably be obsessing about that stuff, too.


Most creatures, including humans, are creatures of habit. There are good, practical reasons for this. For example, it helps insure we eat and sleep regularly. But there are times when it gets to be too much of a good thing.


Thursday, for example. Before I launched into yard work I did my usual Thursday 45 lap swim at the YMCA (because let’s not get too carried away with the schedule flexibility thing). After my swim, when I walked into the shower room, the shower I always use had someone else in it! Stupidly, this startled me. But since there were still 2 showers available I used one of those and it was fine, but backwards to my usual orientation. I mean, the floor sloped in the opposite direction to the drain!


Oh horrors!


Snark if you must, but I had to strategize to keep my balance on an unfamiliar angle. Okay, not constantly, but still. . .


After the semi-traumatic shower shift, the day shift was relatively easy to handle. I made a trip to Home Depot for more bags of mulch (one can never have enough!), an edging tool and a replacement plant for one that had been beaten to death in last week’s ferocious wind. At home, I deadheaded and edged and re-potted like a woman possessed, and mowed the back lawn, too. It felt good to be out in the sun (under a coating of SPF 30 and the cover of a UVP 50 hat and long-sleeved shirt), much better than falling down the writing rabbit hole at my desk.


Day Shift: Saturday’s mulch procured on Thursday.



Saturday, when it’s cold and windy, I can revel in that day shift, too. I’ll be good and ready for “Justice” and Sister Catherine, maybe take a cocoa break in between. Saturday also comes with an end-of-day reward, a Walla Walla Summer Chamber Music Festival concert at GESA Powerhouse Theater!


Day Shift: A reward at the end of a working day Saturday!



This suggests the following equation:


Day Shift=Flexibility + Reward


Must you?


Good question, Lily. I’ll get back to you on that. . .


It’s important to set a schedule and mostly stick to it to get things done. But it’s also important to shake it up from time to time to stay energized enough to keep working. For me, making a day shift is like a mini-vacation, doing something that seems festive because it’s different than my (far too cherished) day to day routine.

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