Like many writers who provide web content services, I struggle with transitioning from work time to play time. Whether I’m brainstorming a catchy headline for a current assignment or dreaming up a new blog post, my mind’s constantly spinning. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve burnt dinner or almost poured orange juice instead of milk into my coffee because I was preoccupied with work.
Every writer needs play time to relax physically and recharge mentally. Additionally, my family appreciates when I don’t burn dinner, and I need cream in my coffee. Three tools assist me in transitioning to play time after work.
A Daily Calendar
Writing blogs pays my bills, but I also need to grocery shop every week, take my special needs son to doctor appointments and do a million other necessities. I can’t afford to rush through life because I didn’t take time to quit work in time to transition physically and mentally to the next item on my to-do list. A daily calendar divided into 15-minute increments has become my go-to transition assistant.
On it, I schedule everything that happens in our home, including prepping the weekly grocery list, chopping veggies for meals and driving to appointments. Of course, I also insert time to write and edit web content. My calendar reminds me that I must wind up work by 4 PM to start dinner and that tomorrow’s lunch date with a friend means I need to finish all my assignments today. Without sacrificing work or play time, my daily calendar keeps me organized and on the path to smooth transitions.
A Kitchen Timer
In addition to my daily calendar, creamy coffee and charged laptop, I rely on a kitchen timer while I work. It keeps me on task instead of playing hours of Facebook games, my favorite way to combat writer’s block. My trusted timer also motivates me to finish uninspiring projects because I work faster and purposefully when I know I have to meet a deadline before the next activity begins.
A Shut Off Switch
Especially when I have tons of available assignments, my mind dwells on work instead of on the task at hand. A shut off switch proves invaluable when used in conjunction with my daily calendar and kitchen timer. When work time is over, I physically turn off my computer and switch off my mind. Now, I am free to play and focus on the current task, whether that’s cooking dinner or driving the car, instead of thinking about the blog post I want to write.
Every web content services provider understands the need to produce consistent, quality content. We also need quality breaks for play, errands and other life events, though. I use three proven techniques that help me transition successfully between work and play. What transition strategies do you use?
Jennifer T is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.