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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Broken Windows

There are days where turning off the computer feels like a defeat. I turn off the computer at the end of my daily writing goals. Sometimes I have a number of words to write, sometimes I'm looking to edit a certain number of pages, sometimes I'm sending queries. Whatever it is, I try to hit that goal.

There are days time flies and I find myself at 4pm staring at the computer cursing myself because my day was lost to non-writing things. I kick myself on those days not just because I haven't done everything I wanted, but because it means I'm off schedule.

Despite my boisterous personality type I am someone who thrives on schedules. At the beginning of each school year I make a color coded schedule on Excel. It doesn't matter that I'm not in class right now and that I set my own hours for work, the semester schedule is burned into my psyche. Invariably I stick to this schedule for a matter of hours before it all falls apart. And then I freak out.

Police have something they call the Broken Windows Theory, the belief that a community that tolerates broken windows will also be plagued by more serious crimes. Psychologists (like Gretchen Rubin whose article I linked to) have taken the Broken Windows Theory and applied it to daily life. All of us have some tiny thing that makes them feel out of control.

For me, getting off schedule is a broken window.

Today both the little kids have fevers, I'm being coughed on by my darling little plague pits, and at 4pm I hadn't even hit half my writing goals for the day let alone tackled all the other projects that need doing. But, hey! Blog post! That's something. *jazz hands* I'm taking the little victories where I can find them.

What about you? What are your broken windows and what's driving you crazy this week? Or am I the only one frazzled and off schedule?


  1. Totally get where you're coming from... these sorts of things used to drive me nuts, too. I always had to be the one in control. Because... I did everything best. (You will agree with me here, I'm sure.) I've learned over the past two years, however, that each day has enough worry of its own. If something writing-wise wasn't accomplished, then it simply wasn't meant to be that day. And the less I worried about it and went with the flow of wherever I ended up, the better I wrote, the more I enjoyed myself. Looking back, I realize now that the goals would have been met either way--one just involved a whole lot less stress. I know this is a hard one, because I've been there. My girls are older now, but I can remember wanting to tear my hair out when I had plans and they went awry. Plans can always be used another day, though. That's what's so great... they don't have a limited shelf life! :) Just imagine how much awesome stuff you'll get done when everyone feels better! Find something obnoxiously not what you'd normally do, like cleaning out a cabinet or organizing nail polish or something... and when you're done, you'll still get to enjoy today's feeling of accomplishment! :D

  2. Interruptions are my broken windows. I need to be able to focus to write and having someone come along and interrupt me means my train of thought is derailed and in the ravine.

    And being told "well you never write any more" fuels the explosion that happens when the train crashes. Especially since no one checks to see if I'm writing before interrupting me.

  3. I'm not sure what my broken windows are ... probably the schedule thing! Good post though. I hope you feel better soon. *hugs*