Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Emails: the time leech

July 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Technology, specifically email, has been a blessing and a curse.  Recently, my employer asked the us employees to refrain from hopping onto our email accounts so frequently.  She said that two or three times during the work day should be more than enough. 

Although I bristled at the thought of changing my behavior…an occasional “good” email, one that makes us smile or delivers good news, often breaks up the work day. 

Well, the first day of email access three times a day wasn’t as traumatic as I thought it would be.  I was more productive.  I was able to plan and organize better because I was more focused.  And the first week rolled into the second.  My work seemed less disjointed. 

Then, I started a project that required me to email out.  I was back to my old habit again like an alcoholic having a relapse.  However, I realize how emails can steal precious time, so I have cut back again at work.  I have cut back at home.  I would like to think that I am reclaiming time to write, but I can see that I may have to leave home to get any real writing done. 

Home is the biggest distraction.  Like exercising, you have to initiate discipline.  You have to ignore the calls to help find the favorite pair of socks or the ketchup.  You have to shed the pressure of preparing meals and focus on achieving even small goals toward a writing project.  This is my next step…leaving home or finding a 6 X 8 cell with a door.

But for right now, curbing the emails is a good thing,despite those beckoning words to peek.

Do you suffer an addiction to email reading as I do?   Share your thoughts, but time yourself…after all, your response may be helpful to others, but not helpful in advancing your writing project.

A Book in a Month

August 3, 2008 Leave a comment

As a panacea to my time management issues and my desire to focus on my writing, I purchased Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt.  She claims it is a fool-proof system for writing a novel in 30 days.

Yes, this is what I want.  To knock out a rough draft in 30 days.  This goal I know would be much easier if I wasn’t working full time.  However, I am determined to give it a try.  I am tired of being the hamster in the wheel — expending energy, but not getting anywhere.  I may not progress fast enough for a 30 day book, but I commit to working steadily.

I read the first 50 pages, which covered goals and time management, fighting off your inner critic, and a chapter dedicated to resistance.  Geesh.  I thought I was unique.  Naw, it seems there are a whole lot of us writers out there wallowing in desire, but clueless in getting the work written.

I am encouraged by Schmidt’s analysis of the writer’s plight.  She comes with solid credentials.  I will keep you posted on my progress.  In the meantime, she has a website that might be of interest.  I haven’t visited it myself yet, but maybe you would be interested.  Schmidt claims it can be a motivator to keep writers focused.   Check it out if you have time. 

Also, if you haven’t already signed up to get an email notice when I post, please feel free to do so.  You will find a place to subscribe on the home page of this blog.  If anyone has also purchased this book, I would love to hear your thoughts on Schmidt’s strategy.

Where Does Your Time Go?

If you haven’t yet blocked out what you do during the day, especially a week, you are in for a real eye opener. You think you know where your time goes, but in reality, you only have some vague notion how you spend your time.

Below I have blocked out my next week. I used shades of green for personal tasks, shades of blue for work related time spent, purple for writing or reading activities, and pink for family time. What jumps out at me is that sometimes the time allotted is not so rigid, so some activities spill over into the next hour and maybe the next one after that, depending on what kind of project it is.

The second thing that jumps out at me is that the white areas are left for more writing activities. However, look at where my writing activities fall…very late at night, which most times doesn’t work well, because I end up nodding off. Someone once told me that what we spend our time doing most is what we want to be doing most. I don’t think this is an absolute statement, but it holds some merit. What do you find yourself doing most? Is this what you want to be doing? Is this something you feel you have to do to have a steady income or keep peace in the family? Or is it obligatory?

The question is “Where to find more quality writing time?” Do I have to wait until I retire? I am still pondering the answer. If you have found a solution, I would love to hear from you.

You too can try this exercise to see how your time is spent. I have posted a page so you can use this same technique.

Time Log

Where did the time go?

April 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Before I left for vacation, which is over two weeks ago, I mentioned that when I returned I’d begin a discussion on time management.  I have to confess that I might be writing about managing time more for me than for those who read this blog.

 I have the first part of the time management down — setting realistic goals with a time frame.  Those daily lists of things to do are very short term goals.  The element that I seem to suck at is prioritizing. 

I started using an online task tracker.   This is a simple, direct way in altering bad habits.  It helps people stay focused to reach goals by gently pulling out of you what you want, the things that distract you, the game plan to reach your dream.

I discovered Simpleology just before the Thanksgiving holidays.  Of course, it was a hectic time, but I managed to get through the lessons.  Intellectually, I can identify my staying on target issues, but changing my behavior is a whole other story.  I got so busy that one day I skipped it and the next time I skipped it, I missed a couple of days…and now it has been a couple of months.  So, intellectually I got the message, but I tanked on the execution.  I am back to the same writing avoiding ways. 

So, today I start again.  I am going to stick with this program, because I know it will guide me when I veer off the path.  For me, this is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle.  I got to put back those training wheels to get my balance and confidence, to prove that I can ride and stay on the road.  I took the training wheels off too soon and was wobbling all over the place. 

I know that if I adhere to the Simpleology program that my life will be transformed.  Check it out and let me know what you think. 

The best part about this program is that it is not just for writers.  It is good for any goal.  Since this program discourages multi-tasking, because that really slows up progress and efforts to achieve the goal, it seems frustrating in some senses that only one goal can be the target.  Maybe this is the first and most important lesson for me to learn….too much multi-tasking dilutes the possibilities for success.