Managing Your Time – For Writers

January 16, 2008 at 11:44 am | Posted in Bria, career, goals, time management, writing | 3 Comments

Last week we discussed priorities and how they effect your time and how you manage it. If you haven’t done the 10 min exercise yet, do it HERE.

This week I’d like to talk about Svelting Your Time. Just like you’re body, you want to put good things in to your time – that’s how you enjoy life the most and accomplish what you want. BUT, just like you’re body, we often put things in our time without thought and it leads to the equivalent of a jigglin’ tummy.

OK, take out your priority sheet.

Often the Important List and the Time List don’t line up is because of things beyond our control. For example, no matter how far down the list your job may be, often because of the mandatory hours, it’s number one on the Time List.

Looking at your Time List, circle any priority that is not lining up where you want it to be AND that is movable.

Great! Now let’s look at some ways to get things where we want them.

The first thing I suggest is to print or write up a nice, clean copy of your Time List and put it somewhere you’ll see it early in the day EVERY day.

Mine is typically on a colored index card with an inspirational quote at the bottom. I stick it in the place where my RPM’s are on my dashboard. I can see it when I’m sitting at a light or stopped to talk on the phone. When I get in the car, the flash of color is a reminder to live life by MY priorities, not someone else’s.

Let me ask you a questions: What isn’t on your list?

Is clean house on your list? Well, for most people the answer is no, and yet we spend hours a week cleaning our homes. I am in NO WAY suggesting you live in a pit, but just learning to consolidate your home chores is a great way to gain time:

• Do you sit and talk on the phone, or are you getting mindless things like dusting done
• Does everyone in the house have chores or (at the opposite end of the spectrum) are you the person running behind people picking up after them
• Do you clean as you go
• Do you put something down and have to put it away later or do things go directly to their homes
• How many times do you move unopened mail
• Have you put yourself on the Federal “Do Not Call” list: 1-888-382-1222
• Do you carpool, or are you always the person who drives
• Have you learned how to say know
• If TV isn’t on your list, how many hours do you watch it

Ah, Television. We use the phrase “Time Killer” for a reason. Once that time is gone, it’s never coming back. Let me challenge you to turn the TV off for 3 months – I took this challenge 5 years ago and it changed my life.

Now, I hear you all screaming – What? Give up TV cold turkey? What about Lost? I give myself 1 hour a week unless there’s something special on (special being something I can only see then and never again OR is informative and useful to my writing, life, or career.)

A trick I learned is to unplug my TV. Every time I want to sit and veg, I have to crawl behind the corner consol to plug it back in (that’s where all the dust is living I found out) – Most times it just isn’t worth it.

OK, so you gained a couple mins here and there. But, human nature has us filling it in with more useless time fillers. Don’t let your evil twin steal the time you worked so hard to gain.

Next week I’m going to talk about getting organized to have Time be your companion not your competitor.

Gain a few mins, carry your notebook, and Go Write,



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  1. I suck at time management. I have no backbone and change the schedule around. Okay, I promise to do better!

    I like your cards idea. I did a spread sheet, in colors, blocking out the time allocated for major things. I may try the cards, too. Of course, I’m not supposed to be checking your blog right now.

    As for TV, I’m not too bad. Usually, 1 to 2 hours in the evenings. It’s my husband and my “together” time as we veg on the couch. But I’ve been turning that into my “check blog time” with laptop on lap.

  2. Nice Laurie – I’ve been making a list this week of blogs I should be looking at at least once a week – Any good suggestions?

  3. Did you check Jenny C’s? The two writer blogs she points to are awesome. Both are about the flaming topic in the news, but each with a different voice. Now I’ve discovered two new writers to check in on. This is really a whole new world to me. Addictive. My new evening entertainment. Although I think I need to adjust my schedule to include reading books.

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