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Anticipating Monday 13 June 2010

Posted by The Inimitable M in One-offs.

Publishing is not an 8-hour-a-day job.  Granted, when you add in commute time and lunch hour, most people have a 10-hour day, but there’s no lunch break or commute time here.  It ends up 12 hours of straight-up work on my end. 

Like it is for most people in their regular jobs, even while working on massive projects assigned to you, phone calls long and short – always unplanned – frequently interrupt the day.  On top of loads of short calls, I receive at least one phone call a day that lasts an hour or longer.  It’s a rare occasion that I don’t.  That hour is not only lost to me as far as my workload is concerned, but it is exhausting.  I add that lost hour to the end of the day.

At the end of my 12 hours on the job, I always ask myself the same question, “Why couldn’t I get more done?  What happened to my list for the day?”  Hope springs eternal that maybe just for one week, voluntarily, other people will be more restrained in their demands that I produce for them their work and answers “yesterday”.   It’s a nice dream, but it is my own fault this happens, and I know it.  I am an enabler.  I allow other people’s anxiety-driven demands to affect my day. 

This comes from a childhood environment in which the one who threw guilt on others the best was the winner.  A singular case in point was my maternal grandmother, with a domino/trickle-down effect through my mother onto me.  I was born a doormat and remained a doormat most of my life.  Without going into great detail, let’s just say that after all these years, the circle has not effectively been broken.  Now, it’s not family that does it to me, it’s others. 

In business, this is not good practice.  I set rules, and then things come up – people come up – and the rules are inevitably broken.  I promise myself every time that I am going to stick to them.  Still, I allow others to control situations.  I am in charge.  I am the one who should be in control.  This should not be happening.  It is because I allow it to happen, though, that it does happen.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…no more. 

These are not new rules, but, as the summer gains momentum, and I replace my role as sycophant with the role of suzerain, I will adhere to them.

1.  Check email three times a day.
2. Post to FB fan page before 8 a.m. and stop responding during the day.
3.  Post to Twitter before 8 a.m. 
4.  Do not respond to unexpected/random phone calls. 
5.  Use email for everything, including adding things to the schedule.
6.  Do not allow others’ anxieties into office and personal space.
7.  Do not allow others’ expectations to force schedule or workflow changes.
8.  Do not argue with anyone.  State the case, then walk away.
9.  Close the virtual office door at 4 p.m. and concentrate for 3 solid hours.
10.   Just.  Say.  No. 

These seem like simple rules.  I should be able to stick to them, and I should be able to get others to see that these make for an optimal editor/writer relationship. 

For those who are my friends as well as our authors, there has to be a split between the two roles, and it has to start now. 

Friends call for friend reasons without bringing up work at all, when the work day is over or on the weekends.  Friends email for friend reasons using my personal email address, not my work address.  I appreciate with all my heart those who know how to make that split. 

For the few who don’t, it’s time to learn.



1. RaShelle - 13 June 2010

Hi Maggie – I’m sure this must be so difficult. It’s Sunday, so as someone to wants to get to know you better as a friend and a professional, I wish you well. I’ll print out the rules and adhere to the for your sake. =D
And the enabler thing – one weekend – wow, you and I could compare stories I think.

2. aardvarkian - 13 June 2010

Good luck ❤

3. Anticipating Tuesday, Six Weeks Later « ~The Inimitable M - 26 July 2010

[…] M in Life. Tags: editing, observations, work, writing trackback I worked very hard to institute the work rules in June.  Six weeks later, they almost work.  I’ve done my part, and so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9 and 10 run […]

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