Aug 23, 2008

Do Not Disturb

by Margaret Turley
Big Hearts and Great Minds at Work.
Please do not disturb!

I recently had my daughter move out and then 2 days later had a sister from the ward move in to my home. My office was moved from a separate bedroom to my room when I moved to the master bedroom at the other end of my home. The room is large enough that my desk and computers are on one side and the bed and dressers on the other so that I have a “place” to work – like when I go into the office and sit in the assigned cubicle.

I have had a non-family member share my home as a roommate before, but it has been several years. At that time I wasn’t telecommuting, or writing. So we decided on putting a sign on the outside of my door to let indicate when I cannot be disturbed. I made the sign for when I’m telecommuting (working as a tele-nurse from my home office via phone and computer) so it is a friendly non-threatening way to let anyone that happens to be in my home at the time that I am currently unavailable. A little quirky – but so far it’s working.

I’ve decided I’m going to post a similar one for when I’m writing. It is essential to have uninterrupted work time for my writing. I tried to list the reasons I don’t make as much progress as I should. Logically if I write 1000 words a day (four pages) I can complete a novel in 100 days, have time to do the editing, polishing, marketing and then move on to the next within 6 months. Ha – I’m not doing that. But obviously it can be done – as there are many authors that have books published every year, or sometimes two or three in a year. So my goal is to write a thousand words at least 4 days a week. That gives me 3 days off the hook so to speak – to breathe, catch up or whatever.

One of the rules is that I cannot answer my personal – cell phone while working. I believe that it would be helpful if I did the same while I’m writing. Turn it off or leave it in another room where I won’t hear it. That way the flow of writing, my train of thought won’t be interrupted. It is giving myself a place and a time to work – just like going in to the office for a paycheck.

My thoughts wandered around how I could use this little device or something like it for other things in my life. I thought about how Mom would go to her quiet place by the fish pond or fountain to read her scriptures in a chair at home. She does the same thing at my sister’s home – made a quiet spot out on the porch – where she reads her scriptures in the morning. I need to follow that example, and instead of rushing at the last minute to cram in the reading that is due, or prepare a lesson, I need to give myself the time to prayerfully ponder on the words of the Lord and let them sink deeply into my soul. That way I can keep the oil replenished in my lamp and be ready for the time it is needed. I need to set aside a time and place for my spiritual growth and rejuvenation.

Another example my mother has set is to take her journal with her wherever she goes. I have yet to follow her footsteps in this pursuit. She often writes while on a break at work, or while waiting for someone. The journal has poems, stories she remembers from her youth, and random thoughts she has from day to day. She has filled several notebooks with her writing. Occasionally she shares her entries with me. I’d be more diligent in journaling if I did the same.
How about exercise? Yep that is another item I need to set a time and place for as well as any other worthy pursuit or goal that I want to achieve. By setting a time, and making a place we notify ourselves, our family and friends that we are busily engaged in a worthy cause. Something we want to prioritize. Something sacred.


  1. Over scheduling your life is something I do regularly. I have yet to discover if it is the answer to getting things done. How's it working for you?

  2. When I overschedule I become physically ill. Then I get nothing accomplished.
    It took me several years to figure that out. Now I make it a part of my planning - to not overschedule myself. That way I get a lot more accomplished.


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