Some days I have it all together, and I can do what I need to do, and it all gets done. There are other days and weeks that my priorities are out of balance, and at the end of the day or week I have accomplished nothing.
That feeling that you have accomplished nothing is discouraging, and it makes me want to just give up my writing, which is something that I love dearly. I would rather write than eat or sleep. I would write all day every day except my body would revolt, and my pain would be very intense. I need to write while lying down in my bed as it is. (I’m getting off track.) I can’t stand those days that try as I might, I get nothing accomplished.
Time is the one thing that every person in the world is given the same amount of. It doesn’t matter if you are a CEO on Wallstreet or a Shepherd in Scottland you each have twenty-four hours to use. How you use those hours today will determine where you are and the choices you can make tomorrow.
I was listening to the podcast the Creative Penn and Katie Forrest was the guest. One of the things that she pointed out is that you can’t manage your time until you know how you spend your time. She suggested that use a tracking sheet divided into fifteen-minute blocks of time and that you track you time for one week.
I tracked my time for one week and what I discovered is that my time was interrupted by Facebook frequently. I just would get sucked into the platform and that’s that. Also, I spent a lot of time looking at my YouTube and WordPress analytics. Those are just time sucks. By the time they are analytics you can’t do anything about them and I should schedule some planning time so when I look at them it is strategic.
After you know where your time goes you need to decide where you want your time to go. I want to write four books in by spring 2022. I want to earn $500 a month by 2023. Those are big goals. So, I need to keep my eye on the ball, and spend my time working toward the two things that will get me where I need to be. Unfortunately, there are other things that I need to do on a fairly regular basis like clean the house and walk the dog. I need make time for those things also. Below are 25-time management ideas to help you meet your writing goals.
- Set a schedule. Look at your time and make a commitment to yourself and carve out writing time. Then mark that time as busy in your calendar.
- Use the Pomodoro technique. It was invented by Francesco Cirillo. Set the timer for 25 minutes and write for that time then take a short break. Set the timer again for 25 minutes do this four times and then take a longer break. The idea is to train yourself to concentrate for longer periods of time. When you are comfortable with the 25 minutes try 30 minutes or 45 minutes.
- Set a goal for each writing session. Every session needs something to strive for. You can work towards a certain number of words per session or a finished scene or chapter. Use something that is a challenge and something that is concrete and measurable.
- Have your own writing space. I have two writing spaces. One is in my dining room and the other is in my bedroom. I have a laptop will travel and have colored pens and other office supplies in both places. I do my writing while lying down in my bed and part of my editing process is printed out and needs to take place at a desk. My dining room office is wonderful because the way the sun comes in through the window.
- Turn off distractions. Turn off phone distractions those pings that make you look to see how who left a Facebook or Twitter message for you. Those are distractions that can suck your time without you realizing it. I know I didn’t realize how much time I spent checking my phone until I did the time log.
- Use a to do list. Make a list of things you need to do and stick to the list. There is also the joy of crossing things off your list. Make sure you prioritize your list. You want to work on the things that are going to get you to the goals you set for yourself (my goals are to write 4 books by spring 2023 and to make $500.00.) So, spending my time doing other things doesn’t make sense.
- Get up early or stay up late to write. Write while everyone else in your house is asleep. Write when you have the most mental energy and the most focus. Write when you won’t be disturbed.
- Don’t wait to be in the mood to write. Make a commitment to write and write. If you make the commitment to write, everyday write every day. If you can’t write everyday and can only write on the weekends then keep that commitment to yourself and to the writing.
- Broaden your definition of writing. Writing can mean just the physical act of writing but there are other things also research and character development can be part of writing. Some parts of the writing process have nothing to do with the physical act of writing it is a mental activity.
- Tackle the tough stuff first and break it down into small bites. If you have a big ugly task, do it first so it’s out of the way and break it down into smaller jobs so it feels less daunting.
- Don’t believe in the myth of multi-tasking. Do one thing do it very well and move on. Multi-tasking is harder on your brain and you are more likely to make mistakes when you multitask. It’s better to do one thing at a time.
- Outsource the non-essentials or the things you really don’t like to do. I am so lucky my husband helps me around the house so I have time to write. But there are also things like bookkeeping, social media, video editing and who know what else will crop up that should be outsourced in my wheel house.
- Treat writing like a business. Treat writing like a business it could actually become your business or it could remain your hobby. The choice will be yours. I come to work Everyday ready to work just like I did when I worked a corporate job, I just do it lying down.
- Get your words down first. Making your writing your priority and getting those done first and being able to cross them off your list is a huge accomplishment and a great way to start your day. Even if your writing at night getting those words down before you do your other writer business tasks will make you feel writerlier.
- Use your day job’s down time. You have a 15-minute break use that time to research the name for a character in your novel. Lunch hour use that time to write 500 words on your novel.
- Say no. No is a complete sentence. You don’t need to come up with an excuse. You can just say no simple as that. Don’t let your priorities become someone else’s priorities if you do that you will never achieve your goals. And that’s sad.
- Accept your limitations. Know that you may not be able to do everything and be everything. You are only one person. It is the Sylvia Plath dilemma. Choose what is most important and make those your priorities choose two or three things to give 100% of your time and attention to.
- Beat the clock. Set the timer for one hour and write take a break and then set the timer again and try and beat your word count. Do it again and again each time trying to beat your word count.
- Make a meal of it. Write 500 words at breakfast, 1000 words at lunch, 2000 words at dinner, and 250 words twice during the day for snack. This works well if you like to eat while you write.
- Write midnight till morning. In the wee small hours of the morning when all is quiet that is a great time to write. If you can get the sleep you need at another time, and if you can be awake enough to be productive.
- When you write, write. There is nothing more important than putting the time in. sitting in the chair and just doing the hard work of writing. Sometimes it is nothing more than hard work. No sugar coating it. You and I just need to get behind the computer and write.
- Get enough down time. Make sure that you refill the creative well with down time. I like to spend my down time reading. Sometimes I read writing craft books or books in the genre that I write in. But I spend about a half an hour or more each day reading or listening to books on tape. Because reading is such an important part of improving your writing skills, I think this is a great use of my time.
- Plan more edit less. Nothing could be spoken more like a true plotter. But it’s a reality the more you plot the less developmental editing you will need to do. It saves time at one end, but takes time at the other end. I’m not sure over the life of the book creating process if it saves time or not. But it is something to think about.
- Keep learning about writing. Be a life long learner in the career you’ve chosen. Keep reading about linguistics and plot structure and character arcs. You are an expert in your field. Responsible for the joy and filled leisure time for many people so do your best by continuing to learn and improve on your craft.
- Batch activities. Do like things together if you have to do social media posts do them all at one time and use an ap to schedule them throughout the week. If you need to answer emails set a timer and answer emails for and set amount of time.
Remember that you only have 24 hours every day don’t waste it. Use tools to help keep you on track and set goals and work toward those clear and established goals every day.
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Share with me what your clear goals are, what are you working toward put that in the comment box.