Managing Your Writing Time
So, I’ve been away from my Cherishedflight blog for a day or so. I know you’re wondering why. Well, I’m managing my time…or I’m trying to be a better steward of my time. Effective time management is probably the best tool for anyone who wants to be successful. Without it, everything eventually falls apart.
I spent the latter part of 2011 researching effective time management tools and decided not to horde the information, but to share them with you. Here’s what I discovered:
Removing clutter is very liberating. Once you do this and create YOUR own space at home (See last week’s Creating YOUR Own Space blog for more details on this), then you can get to work.
Keep It On The Clock
Most writers I know are always working on multiple projects, but spend most of the day wasting their time because they don’t know how to effectively manage double-dutching projects. Have you ever thought about putting yourself on the clock? By that I mean literally keeping yourself on task with a timer.
I tried this on one a day when I had three deadlines for three different projects. That morning, I assessed how much time I wanted to spend on each project—two hours for one, four on another, and the final, forty-five minutes (that was a quickie)—and then I set my timer on my phone and got to work. Can I tell you, that particular day was probably one of the most productive days for me. Timing my day kept me from being distracted by random thoughts and activities going on outside my window, and I didn’t get up to do the laundry or answer the phone. I knew I needed to complete my task before the alarm buzzed, and I wanted to make sure I accomplished that goal.
It may seem a little odd in the beginning, but once you start working, the level of focus you will apply to completing your task will inspire you.
Put Social Media On Snooze
A writer’s mortal enemy is social media. What you think may be a quick status update or a mentions check turns into you wasting time to read, and maybe respond to all of the messages, @mentions, tags and DM’s that occurred while you were offline. I suggest you turn your ringer off, flip your phone face-down, and get to work. You can always catch up with your social media family later. Trust me, they can wait.
Have A Writer’s Sit-in
If other people live in your home with you, raise your hand. Ok…now, if you have children, raise your hand again. Ok…we are in the same boat. I am married and have three small children. When they are home, and not napping (seriously, what six and four-year-olds take long naps?), how are you going to meet your deadline? By creating office hours, that’s how.
Create a sign that says the following:
Office Hours from 9am-2pm (or whatever hours you want)
DO NOT DISTURB!!
Creating this sign lets your family know you are at work, and are serious about not being bothered by scrapped knees and tattling children. This works best if you either have older kids, or a spouse who can be with the little ones while you work. I didn’t include teenagers because they spend more time in their room and have no desire to bother you. In fact, many of them don’t want to be bother by you, at all.
If you have small children, and by small, I mean younger than three, you will probably have to wait until nap time to squeeze in some writing time.
I’m sure you have your own time management tools that are effective for you and your writing process. Whatever the case, put them to use. You will thank yourself when you have that completed manuscript in your hands.
What are some time management tools that are working for you?