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