This year has a big one in our family with the little one starting full time kindergarten. I had been thinking this change would actually lead to an increase in my productivity as I’d have two extra days to work, but something quite the opposite has happened.
It turns out that five straight days, week after week, of early mornings and school runs has actually put me into a massive creative rut that I’m struggling to lift myself out of. It’s not that much more than last year, so why the rut?
Last year Cheese was in preschool three days a week, leaving us two days together during the week to sleep in, see friends and family and generally not have to be on a schedule of any kind. Now, suddenly, I find myself chained to a tight schedule again five days out of seven, even though I work from home and don’t have to start work at any particular time. Ironic, is it not, for a remote writer to be chained to a schedule again?
This is what my days look like now that school is in.
6:20am: Alarm 1 goes off. I press snooze and roll back over.
6:30am: Alarm 2 goes off. I peel off the sheets and get out of bed.
6:30-7am: Instagram. Yes, that’s right, I use this half an hour to Instagram. I’ve worked out that the majority of my audience is online at this time so I post and comment to ensure my photos are reaching people at the right time online. This is also why my Instagram posts have a large number of typos. I also drink a lot of caffeine during this time.
7am: Make Cheese’s lunch, lay out her school uniform.
7:15am: Wake Cheese up and give her breakfast (she only eats yoghurt for breakfast so at least it’s easy!).
7:20am: Jump in the shower and get myself ready for the school run.
7:30am: Get Cheese dressed for school.
7:45am: Leave the house and drive Cheese to school.
8:30am: Leave Cheese at school. Drop by Coles and pick up whatever groceries we need and drive home.
9:30am: Home and finally can start the day with a bowl of yoghurt. I see a pattern here. Work until 12pm on anything from replying to emails and writing for blog to pitching and writing freelance assignments or copywriting gigs.
12pm-12:30pm: Lunch! Usually two boiled eggs and maybe some cheese and crackers and an apple.
12:30pm-2pm: Finish up work followed by any other errands that need running like going to the post office, photographing products, editing images and responding to more emails.
2pm-2:15pm: Get ready for school pick up by packing snacks or clothes for swimming.
2:15-3pm: Drive to the school and park.
3pm-5:30pm: Take Cheese to the playground or swimming.
5:30-6:30pm: Home. Clean out the lunch boxes and cook dinner.
6:30pm-7:30pm Eat dinner all together.
7:30pm Cheese has books read to her.
8pm-9:30pm: Attempt to get Cheese to sleep.
9:30pm-9:45pm: A few minutes to relax.
9:45-10pm: Get ready for bed.
Rinse and repeat.
Now I’ve broken it down I can see what’s happening and why I’m in such a rut! I spend most of the day either doing domestic chores or childcare, no matter my creativity is zero!
You might be asking where is the husband in this picture? He does one pick up and one drop off a week and we alternate reading books and putting Cheese to bed at night, but honestly it’s a small drop in the ocean of things needing to be done.
Now I’m working from home five days a week I’m starting to feel lonely working all by myself, so that is also contributing to the rut.
Is there an answer to getting out of this rut and getting creativity back? I don’t honestly know. I am going to try to get out more to meet with fellow creatives and try and perhaps break up the morning with working from a cafe near the school before rushing to do more chores and driving back home. Will that help? Why knows?
What about you? Have you been in a creative rut? Do you have any words of advice?
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!