Time to Write: 5 Tricks of Effective Time Management - article

Whether you work full-time or have ten kids, your life is probably pretty busy. It can be hard to fit writing into that jam-packed life if writing hasn't already been a natural part of you for years and years. Here you'll find a few tips for those who don't automatically pick up pen and paper every break.

1) During an ordinary day, note how you spend your time.

A lot of times you can find time to write without cutting anything important. Every time you find yourself sitting in front of the TV, playing around on Facebook, or doing anything that you don't have to do, stop. Go sit down and start writing, even if for only fifteen minutes.

2) Change how you spend your time by delegating tasks.

Every time you find your hands on anything like cleaning, laundry, packing lunch, or any other activity your children can do themselves, make them do it. If you have no children, ask your significant other or housemates to divide the work with you. If you have neither children nor housemates, procrastinate on house-keeping little. Really, who are you trying to impress? Bundle activities together. Do all your errands one day instead of spreading it out during the week. This gives you more time the rest of the week to write.

3) Set your time goals realistically.

Don't expect to dedicate an entire day each week when you've never written more than a few sentences a month. If you aim too high and fail, you'll find it more difficult to establish healthy writing habits.

4) Be consistent: write down when you're going to write.

This sounds a little funny, but do it. Write it on your calendar, and develop a routine so that you and your housemates become accustomed to your "writing time." E-mail a notice to yourself, your wife, your husband, and your children. Yes, really, take it that far--e-mail and ask them to please remind you because you have a book or article that must make it to paper.

5) Find the best time for writing so that you feel productive during your writing time.

Make trade-offs so you write during times that you naturally feel creative and have high mental energy. Doing dishes and laundry don't require high mental and creative energy. Writing does. So schedule accordingly.

In the end, writing is a decision for which no amount of planning can compensate. Some people naturally move their schedules around to allow writing, but maybe you're not like that; maybe you need to work at the wanting. Think about what writing does for you, and what your finished project will do for the world. Dream a little, and you'll find that desire controlling your schedule.

Share this story
Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn
  • Thank you this is just what I needed to hear this is great advice. I tend to bumble around a great deal.
  • Sounds like an excellent plan! Keep up the good work!
  • Thank you for these pearls! I've been consistent with my writing but I'm finding that I'm all over the place in terms of 'writing time'. For instance, sometimes I'll write early in the morning and then become inspired by what I've written that I'll take that into the afternoon and will write up to 5pm. I'm pretty drained thereafter. What I'm trying to avoid is writer's burnout...is there such a thing? or is that what they call "writer's block"? I will focus on selecting a block of time and then closing the book. That's my new goal. I hope I can keep it, though as ideas come and go, like kites! Ta-ta-for-now!
  • thanks so much for the great advice.. Life is filled with many distractions and it can be hard to stay focused on writing. But having a plan time does help.. I'm not a morning person so I write in the afternoons.
  • I'm already reaching for my calander. - Lois B. Smith