Time management — I have to admit this is a major challenge for me and so I’m always looking for some helpful tips to keep me on track and more productive. Recently, I came across a few that I’m passing along just in case you, too, may find there’s room for improvement on this front:
Take a look at your time flow: If you keep track of the way you’re spending your time, you might find that you’re less efficient and focused than you think you are. To get a handle on this, you can either keep a handwritten log for a few days or you can go the hi-tech route: There are actually apps — including one called Toggi — designed to help you boost your productivity.
Divide and conquer: As writers, we need to guard our creative time zealously and carve out as much time each day as we can for working on our projects. At the same time, if publication on line and in print is a looming issue, we also need to set aside time for research and submission. Some writers manage their time by devoting 80% of their time their writing and 20% to social media and submission; others find that using a submission service, such as writersrelief.com, works best for them. Whichever approach you take, allocate your time carefully.
Consider the Pomodoro Technique: One tool that some writers find helpful in managing their writing time in a focused, efficient way is the “Pomodoro Technique.” Basically, this involves using a timer for, say 25 minutes of writing, then breaking for five minutes, then writing for 25 minutes, then breaking again. Some writers find these intense bouts of writing “against the clock” actually helps them concentrate and get more done. The technique is named after the Italian originator’s timer, which was shaped like a tomato — OK, I know you’re laughing, but hey, why not give it a try and see if works for you?
Dump the multitasking idea: One of the keys to effective time management is simple, but surprisingly effective: do one thing at a time. When you are writing, write. Ration your emailing and social media activities so that they don’t leak into your creative time and distract you from the work at hand.
Set aside time for organizing: If you’re like me, even though you work on your computer for much of the day, you still have lots of paper around. To keep the paper tiger from gobbling up your writing time while you rummage around for an old draft or your notes, make it a point to set aside some time each week to just attend to keeping your paper under control. Clutter is a such a big time-grabber that there’s a bestselling book called, The Life=Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Now that we’re all more focused and efficient, let’s write on!