Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Time Management

On Being a Published Author
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
April 23, 2012
Day 20

A question I'm frequently asked is how I balance working full time and writing. The quick answer is, I just do it. Now I know that's not very helpful. Truth is, I've been balancing my real life and a full time job all my adult life. Adding writing was like adding biking or jewelry making or a puppy. One simply does.

If you do a search using the words 'time management for writers' you will find a plethora of information. Probably the most prevailing bit of wisdom says what you've already heard everywhere and that is to make time to write something every day. Sound advice - if you have time for it. The good news is you do!

Because there is so much information available, I’m going to skim over a few things I’ve found to be helpful.

#1 - Stop multi-tasking every waking hour. Seriously. Go back and read the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge M blog on April 16th. Sometimes a project needs your undivided attention. By focusing on one task, you actually get it done faster, and sometimes better.

#2 - Set goals. Which ones are up to you, but set a few so you have something to work toward. Just keep your expectations of what you can accomplish realistic.

#3 - Make a reasonable To Do List. Checking items off the list can be enormously satisfying. Make yourself feel good.

#4 - Invest in yourself. Get good equipment. Do I need a fancy wireless keyboard? YES! Do I need a laser printer? YES! Do I need two monitors? YES!I love having my character bio sheet open and visible on the second monitor as I write. And never shortchange yourself in the acquisition of knowledge and skills. The bigger the skillset the easier the writing, i.e., the quicker the story hits the page.

#5 - Always make time to do what you love. It recharges your batteries.

#6 - Learn the difference between urgent things and important things. If you do the important things first, your stress levels will be low. You can’t avoid all urgent tasks, but you can eliminate a lot of them by doing important things first.

#7 - Don’t overbook yourself. Get a good calendar in a format you like and will use, and write down everything you have scheduled. Incorporate your To Do List into your calendar and really get ahead.

#8 - Break down big tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. You’ll get just as far taking small steps as you will big ones, and some days are made for small steps.

#9 - Keep an eye on the big picture. You’re greater than the sum of your parts. Getting two small things done correctly is better than getting four big things done poorly, because that’s four big things you might have to spend time re-doing, which is no fun.

#10 - Make time to exercise. A lot of good ideas have come to me while I’m walking. I’ll even call and leave a message for myself on my phone so I can write it down when I get home. Keep the oxygen flowing to your brain. You’ll get more writing done in a shorter amount of time!

So there it is. Ten tips that save me writing time. Some might seem counterintuitive, but they work for me, and that’s all that matters. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you.

KC Kendricks
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