Free­lance writer Anne T Don­ahue, based near Toronto, Canada, man­ages dead­lines with dis­ci­pline.

Collective Hub - - FEATURE - I’M CON­STANTLY ON THE IN­TER­NET.

I LIKE TO STICK TO A MONDAYTO-FRI­DAY SCHED­ULE,

be­cause I need an ob­scene amount of struc­ture to be pro­duc­tive. I usu­ally wake up be­tween 8 and 9am most days dur­ing the week, and my rou­tine is trag­i­cally bor­ing. I check my phone, my email, my so­cial me­dia. I con­sume as much caf­feine as hu­manly pos­si­ble, and then lis­ten to the archived BBC Ra­dio 1 Break­fast Show while I get to work.

I TEND TO WORK ALL DAY MOST [WEEK] DAYS.

I write, I pitch, I email, I tweet, I do what­ever I have sched­uled to do. I have a Ban.do plan­ner that I’m ob­sessed with. I put ev­ery­thing in it: plans, dead­lines, meet­ings. I tried to use iCal and on­line to-do lists, but they were the worst. I need to ac­tu­ally cross things off to feel like I’m get­ting things done.

I HAVE IMPOSTER SYN­DROME THAT PRE­VENTS ME FROM SLACKING OFF.

I’m con­vinced that, as soon as I take a break, ev­ery­one’s go­ing to re­alise I don’t de­serve any work at all any­more – which I know isn’t true. But it feels true enough that it keeps me go­ing when I want to slow down.

But it doesn’t burn me out – un­less I’m be­ing trolled or I’m re­ceiv­ing an on­slaught of ter­ri­ble­ness. In that case, I’ll usu­ally just head to the movies or do something out­side so I can’t be on my phone as much. On qui­eter weeks, or weeks with a lot of dead­lines, I’ll lis­ten and re-lis­ten to my favourite podcasts, My Fa­vorite Mur­der or My Dad Wrote a Porno, or I’ll check out what­ever book I’m over­due to read. un­til work­ing hours. For a long time I worked all the time at night and on week­ends, con­stantly. I burnt out. I got sick, I got run-down, and I was an anx­ious mess. So I learnt to scale back a bit. I’m still a long way from be­ing able to take a week day off with­out feel­ing guilty, but I’m slowly real­is­ing bound­aries are im­por­tant.

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