So, because I'm trying to train myself to plan to take time for myself, but without letting it disappear into mindless TV (or movie, or YouTube) watching, I'm making myself a productivity list every morning. The list starts with the day's caveats: whether I have the kids, whether I have social plans, how heavy my Day Job's workload is expected to be. And then I make a list of what I need to do to call it a productive day. Some of those items are for the Day Job, some are household chores, and some are for my personal and social life. And some are for writing and editing. What items go on a day's list depends on a lot of factors, but to borrow a phrase from one of the managers in my office -- they're the wolves closest to my sled. Because things tend to pop up throughout the day, I don't try to assign tasks for any day except today, because I never know what the priorities are going to be tomorrow -- but I keep a running list of possible tasks (and their due-dates, if they have any), and add them to each day's list as it seems reasonable.
And when I do tasks that I hadn't counted on doing, I add them to the bottom of the list. So far, they haven't interfered with my completing the original assigned list, but I can envision that as a possibility. The Day Job tends to be crisis-driven, to a certain extent.
The goal is not to fill every waking moment, but to get to the end of the day and look at the list and think, "Yes, this was a day that I did something worthwhile." Which is why social activities and reading are, in fact, valid productivity tasks.
So far, at least, it seems to be working. Monday, I did some editing, and also finished my first, very rough draft of a story. (And also worked a minor crisis with Brainsss that turned out, eventually, not to be quite as much of a crisis as expected, but we still had to re-generate all the e-book files, because the TOC was wrong. Again.) Yesterday, I did some more editing, and some editing administrivia. Today's plan is to tackle the slush pile, attempt a prompt fic for the project Lynn and I are doing*, and start working on a flyer to take with me to MarsCon.
And, I will note, I have spent some time on YouTube, but I don't think I've turned on the TV except for the kids in over a week.
And now, having slogged through that, let me reward you with a snippet from the story I finished drafting on Monday:
I fought to maintain my dignity, casting my thoughts for any topic of conversation that might bring him back to the grave but polite lover he had been during the feast. His hand was rising toward me; I could not predict its course, but knew that I must -- must! -- stave off his touch, or be, somehow, lost. "Why me?" I ejaculated.
His hand halted in its course, paused, and fell. His eyebrows raised, questioning, and I pressed onward. "Why not one of my elder sisters? You might have been prince-consort!"
That knowing smile lingered on his lips, and he shook his head. "I do not want to be a prince," he said softly, "or a duke, or an earl. I wanted..." Caught in his eyes, I had not noticed his hand moving again; he captured my hand and lifted it to his lips. Recalling the kiss with which he wed me, I shivered at his touch and barely suppressed a whimper of fear. But the brush of his lips over my knuckles was as soft as a rose petal, and I shivered again in relief.
He drew nearer still, until I could feel his breath ghosting across the bare skin of my neck. "I wanted you."
* Prompts! I almost forgot! Lynn and I are doing a prompt a week, each, from now until summer, which we hope to collect and publish. If you'd like to leave prompts for us, here or on my Facebook page, we will credit you when/if we get the collection published. (Lynn would like prompts to consist of one noun, one verb, one adjective, and 2 other words of your choice. I'm not nearly that picky; three or four words of any variety will do for me.)