One of the things I get the most around here is, “I don’t know how you’re doing everything you’re doing.”
I imagine I answer some version of that at least once a week, if not more. Earlier this evening I realized that I seldom address it seriously, I generally choose to make a joke of some sort instead, and I’ve never discussed it with the All Things Southern porch at large. Tonight, I’m thinking that kind of response isn’t helpful to anyone. I’d like to try and do a better job in the event that it may help someone else.
My experience has been scheduling is all-important. At least for me, I can’t let the week unfold without daily goals for direction. To be even clearer, that looks like this:
Mondays: I tape the All Things Southern radio segments right here at my house in what I fondly call the Redneck Radio Station. I upload them via FTP for my masterful sound guy, Mike Blakeney, who is also the “helper” you hear in the kitchen on Wednesdays. He does a little magic to the files before I mix ’em with the intros and commercials and send them out to the affiates who carry the daily segments. This is done by download for most of my stations although a handful still prefer CD’s, which requires me to burn copies and get them out to the stations by Tuesday morning so they can have them in time for the follow week. Once this is done, I drive an hour and a half to Monroe, LA to host ATS LIVE, my talk show on TALK 540 KMLB. ATS LIVE airs from 5-6 PM CST. Out of town listeners can join the porch party through my streaming link!
Tuesdays: Time to begin writing the content that will be taped the following week. This is the same material that will air concurrently on the website. In a perfect world I would get all five segments written: Monday’s Porch Chat, Tuesday’s Chuckle, Wednesday’s Taste of the South Recipe, Thursday’s Southern Quote, and Friday’s Southern Comfort. In the real world, if I get two to three of the segments written it has been a successful day and I’m “on schedule”.
Wednesdays: My day to keep my granddaughters while my daughter-in-law works! The wee ones generally arrive a little before noon. This is also the day I update the website with fresh material for another week and upload the weekly video. What time is left in the day is dedicated to working on whatever segments still aren’t written!
Thursdays: Time to tape the weekly video for the next week. For years I paid a friend to tape/edit and upload these babies, but alas, he took another job that prevents him from helping any longer. I now do it all, which is NO DOUBT reflected in the quality of the videos, but hey, a country girl can survive. Hopefully those writing deadlines for the next week are wrapped up at this point, but if not, this is the day to do it!
Fridays: Administration day at ATS is a bit of a catch-all. From book work, shipping duties, and tech issues, to scheduling future radio guests and working on speeches for any upcoming engagments– Friday is the day to oil the squeakiest wheels. I deliver four to six columns at a time to Newsstar, a Gannett owned daily in Monroe, LA for my Sautrday inspirational column and I write a monthly column for a magazine called Louisiana Road Trips. Fridays is generally when I make sure these obilgations are met as well.
Saturdays: While I absolutely love traveling and speaking to all types of audiences and I try to present at as many book festivals as invite me, finding myself at home on Saturdays is a blessing! It’s my time to work on other writing projects that are in various stages of completion, beyond the weekly demands of ATS.
So, there you have it. Sundays are reserved for worship and down-time. As ATS has grown, she has threatened to become a tyrant with her never-ending demands for more and more of my time but several years ago I made a commitment NOT to work on the Lord’s day and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I enjoy this time to truly recharge for the week ahead. (The only writing I occasionally allow is on whatever Bible Study I’m writing because, for me, it’s not work! It’s pleasure. A cup of coffee and my laptop talking/writing with Father is my idea of relaxing!)
And that brings me to the bottom line, the true secret that makes all of this work. My weekday mornings begin with prayer and Bible study and nothing and no one is allowed to steal this time. Some people might say, “Shellie, you wouldn’t be so pressed to get everything else in if you didn’t give up that type of time every morning” but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s no exaggeration to say that without that daily infusion of peace and strength this train would derail in a heartbeat. A heartbeat.
Think about it. Looking down is one sure fire way to drop the balls. So there you have my tips and strategies for managing my work instead of my work managing me. What are yours?