Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Time Management: a challenge for anyone...
First off, I'd like to remind you that you can still visit with Ruthie Schall and I at Books, Books and More Books. I'll be hanging out there all week answering questions and just plain gabbing. One lucky commentor will win a free download of Curse of the Marhime. I do hope to see you there.
Now on to the business at hand: Time Management
With the New Year safely a couple of weeks behind us and Valentine's Day fast approaching, I thought this as good a time as any to talk about managing one's time. A task I take very seriously but inevitably lose track of no matter how well I plan and map. Is it the same for you? Does time run away from you? Do you find at the end of the day, week, month, you still have that list of chores, goals, and plans you began with? Do you find something always take preference bumping your well-laid intentions of accomplishment?
Well, let's take the first step right now to accomplish our goals and chores or whatever is on that all important 'To Do' list. I invite you all to participate and work together at giving each other ideas and support in this important endeavor. Afterall, we have jobs, writing careers, families, marketing to do, carpooling adventures, activities with the kids, appointments both personal and professional, home chores, meals to create, birthday parties to hostess and attend, and a whole slew of other things that take up our precious writing time. What's an author to do?!
Here's what I do, all be it, with good intensions when I start out, but this year I'm sticking with it. As a matter of fact, I worked this way throughout last year and it has kept me on the ball and accomplishing much of my goals. My main goal this year is to make a lot more time for writing and planning projects along with marketing them.
Here we go:
1.) Get yourself a day planner or journal(Day planners with large daily spaces work great). List your daily plan, weekly, and if you want to jot down monthly certainly do so. I work with two. I have one for personal business: bills, home goals, appointments, activities, etc. and one for my writing.
If you are a list person, fine! Just jot down your goals and plans but keep them in a file as you tick them off. This way you can see your accomplishments as time goes by.
2.) Set aside a day of the week for specific goals. For example: If you have several writing projects you are working, you may want to give a day to each one. Pick a certain day a week to work on marketing, blog/website updates, etc. You get the picture. Have a day that you do nothing but watch favorite TV shows or get out and do something with family. Make sure you schedule time for yourself away from work and the computer. This will take the stress and pressure off of you and relax you hopefully allowing you to come back with the creative juices flowing:)
3.) While sitting at the computer or wherever you write, get up frequently. Walk away for a bit when your brain gets tired or your ideas just seem to run dry. When this happens to me, I get up and do some other house chore or step outside and do a bit of gardening, then come back fresh. I am accomplishing two things. Taking the pressure off to write that scene and clearing my brain while getting something else accompished and off my list at the same time.
4.) Like most of you, I am sure, I involve myself in many other projects other than my own writing. How do I keep myself organized? Spreadsheets. I like to use spread sheets and create specific files for the many different activities to keep them all straight.
For example: over the holidays, as you all know, I hosted a slew of author and editor interviews at my blog. This project kept me extremely busy from September on and the way I kept track of it was on printed calendar sheets. I was able to keep all the visitors fresh in my mind and straight. Each guest had to be posted to the blog by me, so every morning I would get up and post each guest along with all their links, clipart, and bookcovers, etc. It seems like tons of work and it was, but it was a lot of fun and the payoff afforded me lots of additional "Marketing/Promo" traffic to my blog and website.
I hope some of my practices are inspiring and helpful to you. I am looking forward to hearing your comments and ideas on how YOU manage your time. Let's make this an open forum. As we think of ideas to share, let's continue post them. I will certainly keep this conversation going as long as we need, because it is such an important and all inspiring one.
Have a wonderful day!