Creativity

Start Your Week Off Write: A Time Management Formula That Works For You


image, Peace Tower, Ottawa, Canada, Creative Commons

I made progress last week working towards balancing blogging and working on my WIP by cutting back my social media time. (See last Monday’s post Confessions – Spending Too Much Time On Social Media? for info on that.) It looks like the writing universe wants me to continue focusing on this area. I attended my local writers group and this month’s guest was author Jim Laughter. His subject – time management. Okay, okay I’m getting the hint.

Jim Laughter is the author of several books including The Apostle Murders and From Victim To Hero: The Untold Story of Steven Stayner and the Galactic Axia series so   obviously he is doing something right. I got out my notebook and determined to glean some wisdom from him. He started with one of the oldest time management axioms from an ancient book of wisdom:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to gather stones and a time to scatter them…

The key to time management is to figure out what needs to be done in which season. As writers, our goal is a publishable document, so the question needs to be: When is the best time to perform what task to create a publishable document? The answer is different for every writer.  Jim broke it down to a nifty equation:

when + what = time

Think about the different stages of writing to help you discover your ‘when’.

Writing is a combination of tasks: brainstorming, writing, editing, proofreading. You want to create –do the actual writing – at your most creative time.When that right brain is using its muscle. When is that? The time you are most alert. For many people, it may be first thing in the morning. For others, late night might be when the muse comes calling. For me, it’s usually between about noon and 4 pm, though I find myself writing after 9 pm because of alter ego Perfectionist Me who tries to distract me with procrastination. Use your down time to do more left-brained tasks like editing and proofreading.

Want more nuggets about time management for writers? Check out these links:

My goal now is to schedule my creative activity when I’m most creative. Makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂 Thanks, Jim!

Question: When is your most creative time? Are you using it to write? Why or why not?

12 replies »

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. I am almost always multi-tasking. I have to write lists or it is too easy to get side-tracked on low-priority busy-tasks, Thanks for some more great links.

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    • Thanks for commenting,Kristen. Multi-tasking can get me off in a ditch as well, even with lists, because somehow low priority tasks all start waving their hands at me, trying to get me to pay attention to them, too. Sticking to the list pulls me through, but I can still get distracted by that dust bunny under the sofa. 🙂

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  2. I am really enjoying these posts about time management and social media because these topics are in the forefront of my mind right now. How often have I written in my journal about the routines that support my creativity, and yet how often have I failed to stick to a schedule? I did a lot better, honestly, when I was working full time and had only the option of very early morning writing (which does coincide as a prime time for me). I started going to the gym early when I was developing that habit (which was another life decision related to health), but that hasn’t been good for the health of my writing.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    http://www.thereflectivewriter.com/blog/
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me.
    Word maven loves–and learns from–ordinary life.”

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    • So glad the posts are helping you, Judy! I have a similar situation of having to give prime time to writing or activities to help my health right now, and I have been leaning towards the health activities. I figure if you’re not the best you that you can be, it will show in the writing, so I try to divide the time between them, and if one has to not be attended to for the day, health wins. Hopefully, with practice I can get my schedule in balance and cover all the things at all the right times. That is the trick, eh? 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. Good advice, and I’m glad you’re listening to the Universe, lol! Trust me, when it thinks it isn’t being heard, it brings out the Thor-sized Hammer and smacks you up side the head. It hurts, lol!

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  4. Time management has been my biggest challenge. I try to stick to four hours on WIP and as much time as I can possibly find on social marketing. But I have to take a break about every hour and move around because my body hates me if I don’t. That’s when I fold laundry, empty the dishwater etc. Thanks for a great blog!

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    • I have the opposite schedule: about 3 hours on social media and as much time as I can find on WIP. I need to get it switched around. 🙂 I hear you on the having to get up and move, my bones don’t like it when I plant myself in front of the computer screen for too long. Mini-walks around the house are good! 😉

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  5. This is great and also timely for me Kristin! I’ve been revisiting my time management plan because I have wandered off the path a bit this summer. Like with the gym. I’d been going 3-4 times a week for over a year then got sidetracked by taking extra vacation time. Now I have to carve out that time again. Ditto for budgeting social media time. I will be checking out your ref links. Oh and I’m a night person, which is my ideal time to write if not distracted by those dust bunnies.

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