STEP 1 – GET SERIOUS
Getting serious is the first and the most important of our three-step plan for easy time management. You may have already decided that you are serious, you may even have it on your bucket list, but before you get started on the three-step plan, take some time to sit quietly and think. Ask yourself the following questions – note the wording carefully!
A. Do you really want to write?
B. Or, do you really want to have written?
Many people think they would answer A, but creative writing is an activity and you must want to sit down and do it. Should you have really answered B?
If so, this isn’t just about personal time management – maybe you are short on motivation. Sometimes life can leave us too tired or drained to feel motivated and at times like this we all need a little help getting motivated – if that’s the case there is lots of help available to get you feeling motivated again.
Having said that, if you have decided you are serious about becoming a writer then you will probably find it very beneficial to try some easy time management.
Being serious means approaching your writing as though it was your regular job. Make decisions about when you will write. Then keep a writing diary and schedule your writing.
Stick to that schedule as though there was the meanest, most bad-tempered boss in charge of that schedule. Then sit down, and once you get the first batch of words on the page – the rest will follow!
STEP 2 – WRITE REGULARLY AND FREQUENTLY
Easy time management is about being realistic about your schedule. There is no point in deciding you will write for twenty hours per week when you are already juggling a full-time job and a whole host of family commitments. Also check out your to-do-list. Is it realistic? Or is it a list so long you have no hope of getting through it? Keeping your to-do-list manageable is another vital component of easy time management and if yours is out of control I have written about writing a manageable to-do-list here.
If you can only write for a half hour a day, then that is fine – as long as you are regular and consistent you will get there in the end. This is one of the secrets of easy time management.
If you write for 4 half hour sessions per week that means 2 hours per week. 2 hours per week makes 104 hours per year – that’s a lot of words!
Being serious about becoming a writer doesn’t just mean putting it on your bucket-list although if you did you might want to read this post about drawing up a bucket-list.
Easy time management means never letting anything get between you and the most important thing a writer does – putting words on the page.
Okay, so far you have been realistic. You are going to write for half an hour per day on the weekdays. So there you are on a Monday evening. You sit down at seven pm and wait for inspiration.
At ten past seven the phone rings. At quarter past seven one of the kids has lost his sock. At twenty past seven, your partner needs you to help them unblock the sink. At twenty-five past seven your friends calls in to see if you want to go out for a drink. At half past seven you are still chatting on the phone, sorting laundry, pulling the sink apart, or sitting on a stool at a bar and there are no words on the page!
STEP 3 – SAY NO!
For some of us easy time management is about saying no! If you recognized yourself in the above paragraph then you must learn to say no, politely, but firmly. Tell everyone you are not available between 7 and 7.30pm and then at the first interruption – remind them, and at the next, interruption, remind them again, keep reminding them until they learn to leave you alone. If you have a door – lock it.
If you really find it so very difficult to ask your family and friends to leave you alone for a short space of time, then go out. Go to a café, a library or weather permitting; sit on a bench at the park.
Do not feel guilty; we are all entitled to some time alone. You are not neglecting your family by claiming some time to yourself in fact; by setting boundaries and showing commitment to your writing you are setting a good example. Everyone is entitled to some time to themselves! Everybody!
Remember just use these three easy time management steps and get those words on the page – you’ve only got one life!
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