Friday, 3 September 2010

Coffee Break: Time Management

Good morning Racers! How are we all today!? Good I hope. I’m in a bit of a rush today so please feel free to grab something quickly for breakfast and join me in a very quick Coffee Break.

I’m very busy at the moment. I’m writing my second novel, editing my first in the hopes to get it ready for self publishing, working my part time job and preparing to start my first OU course next month. This course will hopefully be the first in many which will lead to my degree in English Language and Literature. I’m very excited about it but I’m fearful too. You see I have a problem with Time Management. I have the best intentions of sitting down and doing some work - be it writing the second novel, editing the first or doing some studying but I get distracted and one thing leads to another and boom! I’ve wasted hours doing very little instead of doing lots and lots. I often wonder why I don’t get things done. I mean, I don’t work full time and I don’t have any family. Basically I should get lots done when I don’t.

So my question is, how do you manage your time? How do you cope doing everything when you have a family/job/studies demanding your attention all the time? I need advice!


Cathy said...

Prioritise the things that have deadlines or consequences. That'll be daily life stuff, work and the OU study.Then fit everything else around that. Set yourself some achievable targets on the writing, but don't beat yourself up if you don't meet them, I rarely did when I was also doing OU study. Keep off Twitter and Facebook as much as you can, as it is far too easy to fritter time procrastinating on there. But don't forget to factor in some fun/me time too!

Annieye said...

My mantra is

'Do It, Delegate It or Dump It.'

Basically this means that when the little tasks crop up, like answering an e-mail, ringing someone back or even just popping to the shop for milk, either do it straight away, get someone else to do it, or don't do it at all. I know exactly how long things take, both at work and at home, and try and plan things so I can have writing or reading time.

I know that I can, undistracted and without any interruptions, write an average of three sets of Committee minutes in one working day. I can iron four shirts in just under ten minutes and to sweep and clean my kitchen & utility room floor takes me twenty-five minutes.

It's the little things that gobble up time. Knowing exactly what you can fit into the time available helps.

NB. You need to be ruthless about the 'dumping' part, but don't worry, you'll find your own level of intolerable untidiness and know just how long you can leave the kitchen floor before cleaning it!

Leatherdykeuk said...

Set yourself achievable targets for the day.
Mine, for exaple (bearing in mind I have no editing or deadlines at the moment) are: 4 short form and one long form poems, 300 words on Jasfoup's blog, 500 words of a short story and 1-500 words of a novel every day, plus a tweeted haiku while I walk the dogs.

DOT said...

I too studied at a late age, well not that late because my time management is obviously better than yours; however, the point I want to make is pressure of tasks always produces a more organised mind. Don't worry too much about what has to be done. What has to be done will be done.

And talk. One of the great things I discovered in my studies was how necessary it was to communicate with fellow students for mutual support. You are in a unique enviroment.

I envy you. It is a thrilling, roller-coaster of a journey you have embarked on.

Enjoy. And congratulations.

Karen said...

I'm very bad at managing my time - the more I have the less writing I seem to get done so I'm no help whatsoever I'm afraid!

Oh, I do work much better with a deadline and find that nothing else distracts me once I get going, so maybe that's the answer :o)

Talli Roland said...

I am very regimented with my time or I waste it! I always set a schedule. Without a schedule I'm useless!

Bluestocking Mum said...

It's no good asking me. I have to get up at 4 in the morning sometimes to try and get everything done.

I'm a bit like Cathy and everything that has consquences or life depends are at the top and usually get done. But the rest is a nightmare. I wish I had a PC that I couldn't get broadband on. That would be bar far my best investment!

Debs said...

I write lists and work through them. I love crossing things out when they're done, but tend to find some things on repeated lists ie defrost fridge freezer (not writerly, but it's driving me mad and I've been meaning to do it for two weeks).

Generally though, if I go to the shed, I sit down and write for hours until I'm interrupted.

Denise said...

At the moment I'm not managing my time at all well, so I'm enjoying these answers. I think I just need a kick up the bum to get on with it, rather than flitting between one thing and another and getting none of it done.

The times I've done better have been when I've had some sort of a deadline. I've resisted trying to do a schedule because I fear how long I'd spend creating it!

sheepish said...

I can't offer any advice as I can procrastinate to Olympic standard. The only thing that ever gets me really moving are imminent deadlines. Without a deadline I am hopeless and it's summer and it's sooo nice in the sun!!!!!
Good luck anyway.

CC Devine said...

Sheepish - you are not alone with procrastination...

I am in awe of Rachel's self-discipline.

I rely on lists and schedules and making choices or compromises e.g. little or no tele, going to bed later than I ought to, trying to limit time online/social media etc.

Everyone's offered sound advice so I would take all or some of it and make it work for you. I am good at giving advice but not so hot on taking it myself or making the right choices about how to best use my time...

I recently discovered this:

It seems to be good for focusing on a number of tasks but it's a bit too regimented when it comes to creative writing. If I'm in the flow I'm not going to stop it because my pomodoro (mobile phone alarm) has pinged. However, you may find it useful for getting some of the other stuff done.

Good luck!

LilyS said...

I'm with you there - I have the best intentions but I am very easily distracted. I set myself goals and reward myself. I tell people who are likely to distract me that i'm busy. I also try to be realistic and find that I get more done then i've budgeted for. I drew up a timetable of work a few months back and that only lasted a few days. Now I just write down what i plan to do and then do what i can and I dont give myself a hard time if theres things I dont do. With me I'm happy if I've read some short stories, written a few hundred words of something or simply commented on some blogs (this is the only task ive completeted today and already I feel good)

Just do things in small steps - you'll have better days than others but hopefully they shall level out in the end.