Today’s prompt in the 52-week blog challenge is “Managing Writing Time.”
I’m not a member of the Cult of Busy. You know what I mean — sometimes there’s a cultural push to be busy all the time. We’re urged to work more, play more, schedule more outings and activities, all because we seem to place some added significance on a jam-packed calendar. Wring the most out of each day! Live life to the fullest! Work hard, play hard! These are the messages from the Cult of Busy.
I never thought of myself this way, as someone pushing to squeeze everything into my already-stuffed schedule. Instead, I think of myself as someone who has a lot of things she really wants to do. I really want to go to farmers markets, cook fresh meals instead of eating out, and try new recipes. I really want to knit sweaters and sew skirts. I really want to run and lift weights and go for long hikes in the woods or on the beach. I really want to succeed in my career, and I really want to write books. Lots of books. All the books.
Am I busy? Sure, but it doesn’t feel that way. It feels more like I get to do all the things that I love. There’s little stress from trying to do too much, just the pleasure from doing the things I love. So it came as a surprise to me when I was having dinner with a group of girlfriends when one of them said to me, “You’re the busiest person I know.” And all around the table, my friends chuckled, nodded, and chimed in their agreement. I just don’t think of myself that way. But they sure do!
How do I manage my time, especially my writing time? Here are my favorite tips for time management.
- Love what you do, and do what you love! Then instead of thinking that you have to do things, you’ll think that you get to do them.
- Turn off the TV! I do watch some TV but not every day. It soaks up so much time! I save my limited viewing time for shows I absolutely love, and I skip the rest. It’s not a deprivation when I get to do other things instead!
- Focus! If I only have an hour to work on something, I make sure to work on that thing before I get distracted by social media or other fun toys. If I finish before the hour is up, I get to play online for a few minutes. It’s a good reward!
- Use a timer! This might sound a little silly, but does it ever work. I set a timer for small bits of time — 15 to 30 minutes, usually — and lock onto a project or task until the timer chimes. If I feel the urge to back off the task before the bell dings, I take a deep breath and keep going. If I know it’s just for a few concentrated minutes, it’s easy to keep going!
- Delegate! If I can dish off a task that someone else can do better, faster, or cheaper than me, I do it. I have no pride about this. I don’t have to do every single thing myself!
So this is how I balance two jobs, freelance work, a workout schedule, hobbies, a family, and all the other things that have to happen in my week.
What are your favorite tips for time management?