Whenever I despair about not having enough time to work on some writing project or other, I think of Manon Roland, and her very strict productivity regime.
Those who know how to organize their work always have leisure time. It is those that do nothing that lack the time to do anything. Moreover it is not surprising that women who spend their time in useless visiting and who think they are badly dressed if they have not spent a great deal of time at their mirror, find their days too long through boredom and too short for their duties. But I have seen those we call good housewives become unbearable to the world and even their husbands through a tiresome attention to little things.
An Eighteenth-century wife and mother, she says, ought to be well enough organised that she can fulfil her housewifely duties and do something useful with her life, such as write philosophy.
She has firm ideas as to what those housewifely duties consist of:
I expect a woman to keep her family’s linen and clothing in good order, to feed her children, order, or herself cook dinner, this without talking about it, keeping her mind free and ordering her time so that she is able to talk of something else, and to please, at last, through her mood, as well as the charms of her sex.
But all this, she tells the reader of her Memoirs, ought not to take up so much of one's time that it would stop us being productive writers. She herself, even at her busiest, never spent more than two hours a day doing housework.
This is where I live blog about my new book project, an intellectual biography of three French Revolutionary women philosophers.