3 Time Management Tips for Writers
One of the big questions writers have is: How can I make better use of my time so I can have more time to write?
Every writer struggles with this area. Our tendency toward procrastination keeps us away from writing and it gets in the way of our goals. It's easy. It might be frustrating, but it's easier to do nothing or to be lazy than it is to bust our butts to achieve our writing goals. We know that there is pain involved in working on our writing.
On top of that, things seem to pop up whenever we plan to sit down to write. It never fails. Whenever I get gung-ho about sitting down to write, something comes up. I have to make a special trip to the post office to pick up a package, or my husband scheduled a meeting with the CPA and we're leaving as soon as I get home from work, or the cats (or dog) just threw up all over the floor and it needs to be cleaned up.
When things come up, we're left feeling frustrated, irritated, and worn out and wondering why on Earth everything wants to sabotage our writing work and staunch our progress.
The good news is, there are some things that we can do to make better use of our time even when these things pop up and we can't say "no."
First, we need to free up some time and get intentional about what we're doing. Most people waste so much time during the day by multitasking.
Getting ready for the day always takes me longer when I spend time checking Facebook or my email on my smartphone. Or when I'm writing a blog post and I get bored and start working on something else, like checking Facebook or my email. It's a waste of time when we set out to do something but then do something else.
By being intentional on what we are doing, like sticking to our writing session and working on writing only, we become more productive.
Even time spend on social media should be intentional. Is your goal to spend just five minutes once an hour checking social media and interacting with people? What is it that you want to get out of doing each task?
The next thing we need to do is to be focused. If you are writing a blog post, stay focused on writing that post. Get the first draft done in the time you have allowed for blog writing. Don't multitask. Do one thing at a time. Don't even eat or answer the phone when you're trying to write.
Lastly, we need discipline to say "no" to others, ourselves, and our procrastination habits.
Whenever you get the urge to check your email or your Facebook news feed or Twitter, remind yourself that you are on schedule and that you need to get your work done before you move onto something else. Get really good at saying "no" to things that want to pop up and interrupt or distract you whenever you sit down to write.
The trick to making this work is to have a schedule. If you plan to write every day from 6:30 to 7 AM, during that time, you can tell yourself, "no, I am writing right now. I can do that later." And if you have social media time plugged into your schedule, you can remind yourself that you already have time allotted to that activity. It gives you a better argument when you have a schedule because it allows you to remind yourself that it's not time to do the things you shouldn't be doing.
If we want to meet our goals and we're sick and tired of making zero progress, we must get to work. We must start making better use of our time so we can devote it to the things we want to accomplish. With intention, focus, and discipline, we can create a successful environment where we are working toward our goals, making the most of our time, and being as productive as we can.
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