November 28, 2011

6 Ways to Best Use Time

How do you make time for writing or blogging when life gets in the way? Time is not friendly, but it's fair. You get 24 hours a day whether you need them or not. Problem is, most of us need those hours plus more. Like it or not, we do have to fit in some food and sleep along the way... and some time and attention for kids, husbands, families, housework, jobs, etc.

I love organization and finished projects, but sometimes the best I can do is plan. It's called time management for a reason. You get a set amount of time, all you can do is manage it. You can't create more.

Ways to Best Use Time:

1. Set a Timer
Set a goal and a time limit. For example, I'm going to spend the next twenty minutes cleaning the house. Set the timer and stay focused. When it buzzes, walk away. Move to the next task.

2. Prioritize
For me, writing comes first as a daily goal. I focus on the writing projects in order of importance, paid versus unpaid, and deadlines.

3. Plan Ahead
I often cringe looking at my calendar. Some days are simply crazier than others. Plan accordingly. One day, when the creative juices are flowing, stock up a couple of posts. Use them as needed.

4. Ask for Help
When you get in a pinch, ask friends and family for help and reciprocate when needed. We've all got friends waiting to help, but they don't know how. Reach out. For blogs, guest posts can be a wonderful addition and fun for your readers.

5. Support
Find a network. I'm a better parent when I surround myself with parent friends. Same is true of writing. Find writers online or in your community. Support each other.

6. Combine 1-5
Some of my writing friends get together online for sprints. Set a time, check in on Twitter, and write for a solid hour. Report word counts at the end and cheer each other on. In one hour, you've combined all the steps above.

Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” Harvey MacKay

At least for me, the worst thing I can do is not have a plan. My desk is a mess of piles and things to accomplish. If I sit down and stare at it, that's all I'll do for way too long. I'm easily distracted when not following a schedule.

Don't forget to make time for fun. Life is all about balance.

But, as the quote suggests, once you've lost time you can never get it back. Use it wisely. It's one thing you can count on, limited but trustworthy.

What's your best tip for time management?


Fairview said...

I'm going to try your timer tip. I'll let you know if it works!

PJ Sharon said...

Ive had a timer on my list for a while. That would certainly be helpful. I'm big on regrouping. When my piles are taking over my desk and my calendar looks like a scribble pad, It's time to take a step back and reorganize myself. I can tackle anything if it is broken down into manageable pieces.

Tia Bach said...

The timer idea comes from years of putting my kids in timeouts and rushing around frantically to get things done while they were otherwise engaged. Then it hit me, hmmmm, timer=focus.

And I agree, PJ, it's all about breaking things down into manageable pices.

I appreciate both of you stopping by!

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

I'm easily distracted, so the timer and the manageable pieces hints are very helpful. I also get overwhelmed--"there are forty boxes of books in the garage! AAAAAHH!"

I write three things I have to get done during the day job--call the vet, the auto repair, that sort of thing--on a post-it. When I get to work I slap it in the center of the monitor. Otherwise, ADD girl here will forget. I love knowing I have accomplished at least those little things when I walk out the door.

Tia Bach said...

Elizabeth, Thanks for stopping by. I have post-it notes everywhere. It's comical. I, too, am ADD girl with an overabundant amount of OCD thrown in. Where can I add some FUN!?