The idea for this blog has come as I sit at the back of my son’s after school karate class. One of the huge upsides of working for myself is I get to see more of my boy during the week, although having to volunteer (or more specifically being volunteered) to be the parent helper at his clubs is less attractive.
You see, working for an institution or a company gives a structure to your day that one might often resent, even if it does allow you the excuse to opt out of having to listen to a load of seven year olds inadvertently break wind whilst completing their warm up stretches, but it’s something you have to replicate if you want to be successful.
Having waved my family off in the morning the temptation to take my MacBook back to bed, under the guise of starting my work, was strong, especially on the dark winter mornings. And before I knew it midday would arrive and all that would be in my Word document would be a load of gobbledegook that I had inadvertently typed with my chin as I had dropped back off to sleep.
So for me daily word targets were the key. Substantial enough so that I would resist relocating my office to the bedroom but not so aspirational that it didn’t give me the motivation to get stuck in, hoping I may get the opportunity to knock off early.
A slight caveat to this was that some days it’s easier to get into the zone than others. But whilst I had to accept the truth of this, at the same time I couldn’t allow it to become an excuse for just plain laziness. In much the same way as it’s hard to get out of a meeting with your boss just because you feel a little tired and, generally, aren’t that up for it, sometimes with writing you just have to get on with regardless.
So what is a fair daily total? Well for me it’s 4000 words. Substantial enough to see me avoid the lure of going back to bed, but not so large that I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel when I first boot up my MacBook.
And, sadly, it also means I can’t avoid helping supervise my son’s flatulent karate class.