Time for many of us is a tricky commodity – especially writing time. Most of us leave a full day’s work, head off to the gym or night class, or for a drink, or perhaps return home to a barrage of personal tasks and family demands. Like love, chocolate and mo.ney, there never seem to be enough, and time passes by while you speculate about what you would ideally like to do.
In order to gain an order of semblance in your life, you need to re-focus and set reasonable time frames, maybe an hour at the gym three times a week until you finish school, you can still win the marathon, or thirty-minutes spent on your book, whether it’s writing, researching or marketing. The key is to allocate time and the trick is to maximize it.
This does not mean cutting corners or rushing, it’s about respecting and appreciating how valuable your time is and making every minute count. It’s about prioritizing your time by identifying what is valuable to you. As Stephen R. Covey wrote in his book, First things First: “To value something is to esteem it to be of worth. And values are critically important. Our values drive our choices and actions.”
Here are 5 ways you can make time work for you:
- Utilize your travel time by making notes while on the tube/subway, train, bus or taxi. Listen to books on your IPod; use your planner or laptop to expand on your idea(s). When you are stuck in traffic, do not work yourself up into frenzy, especially if you cannot do anything about it. Use that ‘stuck in traffic’ time to go over in your mind what things needs your attention and make mental notes.
- Organize your space – if everything is a clutter around you, so your mind will be just as confusing, hence, non-productivity, because you waste time looking for things. Simply having things in their proper place will shave valuable minutes as you won’t waste time searching.
- Measure your tasks – make a list and break large tasks down to smaller ones. For instance, decide what aspect of work you need to do to aid the completion of your book. If you need to research, set time aside for that. If you need to contact someone to write your foreword, do the same. Get a planner – you will not regret it. Break tasks down on a weekly to daily basis instead of trying to do it all in one go.
- Say no – saying no when you are unable to do something or go somewhere does not make you a bad person. Of course, plans are not set in stone and sometimes things are beyond our control. However, if you have a set agenda and you are being asked to do something or go somewhere at a time that will have an adverse effect on you, or infringe on your time with someone special or your kids football game, there is no reason for you to feel bad when saying no.
- Take a well-earned day off, or take a day out of your weekend and spend some time alone. Go for a walk in the park, have a latte at a café, go to the library, anywhere that is quiet so you could go over your list to see what steps you need to take for you to finish your book. If you don’t have a focal point, everything seems like a chore and you will not be able to think clearly, much less see how you can rectify the situation. A little time away from the daily grind will give you a clearer perspective.
Approach tasks in small, regular bursts and you will get into a routine and accomplish so much in the long term.
Write It, Work It, Publish it!
© 2011 Cherry-Ann Carew
WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, NEWSLETTER, MAGAZINE, BLOG OR WEBSITE? Please do, but ensure you include this complete resource box:
Cherry-Ann Carew, aka The Power Writing Coach, Editor, Founder of Writetastic Solutions and best-selling author, helps fiction and non-fiction writers with their creative expression to add value to their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you with your book at www.writetasticsolutions.com.