My kids function better when they know the day will have structure.

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Every year, we take a family vacation right before the school year begins. It always works out — my kids attend a day camp for most of the summer and the camp shuts down a week before school starts so there is always a “gap” where we have no child care. Rather than wrangle the kids and their excitement right before school starts and juggle working, we take the week off and go somewhere new every year.

My trips got more ambitious every year. It started with a short road trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Then a multi-state driving trip…

I was utterly embarrassed when I lost some notes.

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I have been something of an insane note-taker forever. My chicken-scratch handwriting and bizarre methodology mean that my notes mean nothing to anyone but me, but I could go back later, and the notes would be enough to jog my memory.

Immediately after any meeting, I would add any follow-up items to my to-do list (Todoist is my favorite). Decisions made would be documented in a project management tool or email — something in writing. Information about customers would go into a CRM. The notes mostly captured the spirit of the meeting, the order in which information was discussed, and…

Household circumstances have turned my office into a multi-purpose room.

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About two weeks ago, our basement flooded. It has been like a monsoon, and our sump pump failed. Water pooled in two unfinished closets before finally seeping up through the floorboards. A water mitigation company determined that the floor was not salvageable and tore the entire thing out.

Both of my older kids sleep in the basement. The 11-year-old has his own room, and the 9-year-old sleeps in the large playroom with room dividers to section off his own space.

I knew instinctively that there would be no “quick fix.” I have heard that any company that does home improvement…

I want my son to know all of the possibilities that lie ahead.

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When I was young, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded, “a writer.”

It’s a natural question that adults ask children. They fill out “getting to now you” questionnaires on the first day of school or write essays on the topic.

My older son has always had an interest in science, and as he’s gotten older, this has morphed into an interest in coding. I foresee him as a programmer or some science-related field that can rely on his love of coding.

My younger son never had a singular inclination for…

For me, hitting a roadblock means setting work aside.

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A few weeks ago, I sent an outline to one of my editors. The feedback was “Need to shift gears on this one for a bit.”


I was all prepped and ready to sail through the final draft and deliver it to my client on time. Not only was the feedback to change the structure, but also my approach.

After noodling on it for half a day, I thought “I can’t do this. I can’t deliver this piece with the quality that is expected in the timeframe I have left. I need more time to think.”

And so… I…

How my morning routine has changed (yet again)

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My morning routine is fairly predictable. I am often awake by 4:00 a.m. I write for two hours. The rest of my family wakes, and we begin breakfast.

Until recently, by 7:30 or so, I would return to my computer, and that was my “personal writing time.” That earlier two-hour chunk was reserved for deep work, but at 7:30 for about 45 minutes, I would work on a blog post or write here on Medium.

That changed a few weeks ago. I started taking long walks in the morning. It began as a way to quell some anxiety. I had…

Getting things done with a highly structured routine.

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Last week, I met with a colleague to discuss my daily writing process. He had noticed my very routine-based approach to writing and wanted to chat so we could bounce ideas off of each other.

I really love the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In it, Currey examines the lives of hundreds of creatives throughout history, from artists to writers to composers to scientists. Through research from the creative’s own writing or what biographers have noted, each person featured has a few paragraphs dedicated to their daily rituals. Some were highly structured, like mine. …

Getting into the writing mindset each time I sit down.

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I used to think that writing was something that would strike me at random times. And while it’s true that ideas will come out of the blue, the actual act of writing is something that has become a daily ritual.

A yoga instructor once said to me, “It’s not called yoga perfection, it’s called yoga practice.” The same is true for writing, and the ongoing practice has led me to be a better writer.

Part of this practice involves setting aside buckets of time where I can tell my brain…

I never know when a new idea is going to hit me.

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I have long since learned that ideas will strike me out of the blue. Whether it is my next blog article, something for work, or an item for my never-ending to-do list, my brain will sometimes turn at the most inconvenient times.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there isn’t a “single way” to keep track of everything. It depends on the type of idea and sometimes the location. …

Making changes to my morning routine to accommodate my early-bird third-grader.

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Mornings are my sacred time. I am usually awake between 4:00 and 4:30 a.m. Coffee, journal, reading, then writing. At 6:45 I wake my husband and by 7:00 we make sure that the kids are moving so that they can be ready for school. But this means I usually have more than two hours of uninterrupted “me” time for focused writing.

About two weeks ago, my 9-year-old son began appearing in my office around 6:00 a.m. After greeting me, he would perch on the nearby daybed. Sometimes he would lie down. He was quiet, but his presence was distracting.


Anna Burgess Yang

Writer • Mother • Bereaved • Friend • Documentarian • Finance Nerd • IoT Geek • Collector • Creative •

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