There are many things that writers can do manage their time better. Today, I will outline six ways that writers can manage their time most effectively.
I. Writers should divide their day into time slots
Writers should look at all the activities or types of activity that they must do on a daily basis to advance their writing goals. Then writers should allocate time slots for each activity and stick to it. Writers should also decide what part of the day they’ll devote to writing. Everything else that needs to be done should be accomplished outside of this time frame as often as possible. Writers should write down the allotted activities and time slots on a large piece of paper or on a dry erase board and put it in a prominent place in their office.
Writers should treat their writing time like an appointment. If writers commit to their writing in this way over time, they will be successful.
II. Writers should prioritize their “To Do List”
Writers should always prioritize their to do list to remind themselves of what they should work on first. This can keep writers committed to their most important writing projects. It’s so easy for writers to find things they would rather do instead of write. Writers must avoid being side tracked from their most important writing goals.
Here’s what I do. I use three different colours of ink to prioritize my writing projects.
1. I use red ink for high priority items. This colour of ink tells me that a project has to be completed right away.
2. I use black ink for upcoming writing deadlines. This colour tells me that a particular project has to be completed with the next one to three months.
3. I use blue ink for ongoing writing projects that have no deadline as such, or that have a contractual deadline of six months to a year.
III. Writers should determine when they are most productive
Most writers have different times of the day when they’re most productive. Writers must try to figure out these times so they could do their best work and not worry about fussing all the time.
For instance, I work best first thing in the morning. I wake up around 5:30 a.m. and write for two or three hours before I go to work. This time has been sacrosanct for me for the past 20 years. And I have really done a lot of writing because of this. Most successful writers have a consisting time to write regularly.
IV. Writers should be methodical as often as possible
Many writers go off on flights of fancy once in a while. It is important that writers ensure that there is a reason and benefit to everything they are doing. Otherwise, writers may just be adding to their unproductive time by doing anything and everything and yet accomplish very little to advance their writing careers.
Writers should be methodical in the small tasks that need to be done. They should clear them out so that they could focus on the more important things.
V. Writers should understand the difference between urgent and important things
The temptation for writers may be to view everything that is important as urgent. But this isn’t always the case. Many times important things are not urgent. By keeping this distinction in mind, writers can concentrate on what is most important. In the process, writers will come to see that sometimes the urgent stuff isn’t all that important. Writers should ruthlessly prioritize their writing tasks so that the time slot they allocate to a particular writing project is accurate and hits the important stuff.
VI. Writers should delegate as much as possible
Serious writers may need assistance with some superfluous tasks that need to be done but ones that take them away from some much needed writing time. For instance, some writers who work full time and are trying to be writers as well may have to get a cleaning lady once every few weeks or twice a month. This can help writers to carve out time for the more important things, such as getting their writing done. In addition, writers will feel less frazzled if they’re not overwhelmed by activity.
Time management may be difficult to achieve at first for writers. However, with a bit of practise, it is possible for most writers to carve out time to write by prioritizing and delegating. All writers must be ruthless and once they set an allotted time to write, they must write regardless, unless (of course) it is an emergency.
Irene S. Roth, MA