“It’s time management, Jim, but not as we know it."
(apologies to non-star trek fans - you sad people!)
I am sure there are really calm and organized writers out there who have everything in control, finish all their work, plan their jobs carefully – and still have time for creative writing. I am not one of them. I DO write lists, then something crops up, the cat gets sick, there is a great film on tv. etc etc – and at the end of the day I end up with only some of my jobs done. To make it right I mark them done and then write them is as a job for the NEXT day. It works for me, well, really… no, it doesn’t.
If I have an hour (usually on a Sunday), I will spend it going through the lists for the previous week and listing most of them for the following week. I try to not be too hard on myself, I do get SOME things done, and I AM trying to improve. Hence this weeks blog. If I outline to you what I THINK you should do, some of it may rub off on me.
To me, time management has two levels – macro management and micro management. Macro management is where I list jobs which MUST be done to take me forward towards my goals (see last week’s post). Such Items as the writing I need to do each day, important emails to answer, management of website and affiliations. The big stuff. The micro bits will be responding to emails, posts and messages, investigating new things, reading useful blogs and articles – the things which are not time sensitive.
Next comes the hard part. There is no easy way to say this – Force yourself to start. Sometimes the lists can be long and daunting for the day, with way too many jobs for even a superhuman like me to do in one day. Looking at the list is de-motivating and stressful.
What I do is to cover up the list, except for the first item, and I will not look at the second item until the first item is done. I have learned to put out of my mind everything except the job I am dealing with at that time. This way I will get through a good number, if not all of the jobs. I find it difficult to rest or relax with outstanding jobs, so I cross the ones out that are not finished and make them a ‘Tomorrow’s Job’ – then I can relax – what a cheat!
This is actually a good way of sorting out the important jobs, because if you re-schedule a job day after day, week after week – you will eventually realize that it is probably not worth doing any more and stop listing it. This method of course does not actually manage the TIME too well, but it does manage YOU and hopefully make you more productive.
Another way is to plan an amount of minutes or hours you will give to each task, and if you do not finish the task, you will have to stop and plan more time to finish it tomorrow – this way you know that you will stop working at a certain time each day – this may be better for those of you who can switch off and relax, it gives you ‘quality time’ and you can plan what to do with this time.
The key to the success of both of these methods is REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS. I am THE WORST in this respect. I expect to get up, write a novel, redecorate the house, etc etc – all before breakfast. This type of wishful thinking should be controlled. It will make you more demoralized and frustrated when you fail to achieve world peace before lunch or build ten websites before dinner.
Personally, time management is, like success, a journey and not a destination. Please let me know of your personal issues (with time management!). If you want to check out my recently released thriller. 'Deadly Election' it is available in ebook and paper back HERE.... And don't forget to subscribe to the blog ---------->
It’s time to finish now, my pot of tea is getting cold. Take care – next blog on Tuesday – write well, Arthur.
Yes, it's the obligatory cute cat pic. If you have cute cat pics please send them - I would like to feature pics from readers - it means I will get at least ONE reader coming back to see their pic published!
Meet the author
Arthur Crandon is a lawyer, the boring office kind, not the exciting (and much better paid) courtroom type. He worked as a solicitor for a while before embarking on an interesting life overseas. He has spent most of his time in recent years in South East Asia, more recently in Hong Kong. Before that, Arthur lived and worked in the Philippine Islands.
He loves to fish, and play the piano – but spends most of his time writing, eating, drinking and sleeping
– usually, but not always, in that order.
His first book, Deadly Election, draws on his strange imagination and his
experiences, together with those of others, in a land that, beneath a veneer of civilisation, operates like the Wild West and is very
dangerous to innocent and gullible foreigners.
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