Time Management for Writers


Time Management for Writers by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Time Management is a frequent topic among writers. We juggle meetings and deadlines, step-out goal plans, and handle a myriad of correspondence tasks each day. How do we keep track of all of this? We need a flexible system, because most systems require modification to work well, and it takes testing until we find the system that fits.

Though we might want to create a most aggressive plan that causes our production to soar, “life happens”. Be flexible with yourself and relax your plan for a time if needed.

A writing friend mentioned her scheduling strategy—The Bullet Journal. She showed me how she was successful in using the Bullet Journal over several months. So, I tried it. I set up my Index, Future Log for 6 months, Monthly Log and Daily logs. I liked how it flowed for a month and continued. It worked, but I found it tedious, taking too much time noting here and there constantly. I needed to keep track of goals and schedule, BUT I needed to get to work first!
Check out the Bullet Journal: http://bulletjournal.com/.

Then, I set up a color highlighted Goal Plan Schedule on Excel to list:
•    Year End Completion Goals
•    Monthly Deadlines
•    Meeting Commitments
•    Weekly Progress
•    Notes
It worked well as a bird's-eye view for the year by week and month. I keep it open on my desk. Did it help guide my work day by day? No. I needed something more.

Finally, I have settled on a day/month/year planner. Daily I make entries that review the activities/accomplishments of the day briefly, similar to a diary. I use a journal for resolving issues and planning. Plus a digital calendar to schedule meetings & appointments with pop-up reminders.

Why does managing our time well matter to us?
It’s all about productivity, meeting deadlines & goals, and gaining a footing for our writing endeavors.

So, what does it take? It takes a careful review of what is working for us and what is taking us off track. Some questions to ask ourselves:
    *Do I need to limit email tasks? Would scheduling an hour each day avoid these interruptions?
    *What distracts me? Phone calls? Meetings? Schedule in blocks of time?
    *How can I reduce daily stress?
    *How can I improve my work flow and meet deadlines more effectively?
    *What is my goal and my destination?
    *Do I have milestones in place?
Katie Forrest, a guest for The Creative Penn, posted a helpful article here: https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2020/02/13/9-time-management-tips-for-writers/

Since time management is a constant concern, and writers would appreciate some useful tips, the post was designed as a step-by-step guide through the journey. I appreciate Katie starts at where we are right now, analyzing what’s working and what’s not.

Are you looking for a writer’s community, with more tools and help?
Check out Good Story Company by Mary Kole
Mastermind / blog / community

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

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Karen Cioffi said...

Deborah, thanks for sharing these time management tools for writers. It is a personal thing and writers have to find what works for them as you mentioned. I use Google calendar, a large daily planner, and a small pocket one. And I put the same info in each - it's repetitive, but this way no matter where I am I can check my schedule. If it's a client call or something else that's time sensitive, I put an alarm on my phone. Overkill? LOL

deborah lyn said...

It's a great practice Karen! Thanks for sharing it here, always great for writers to see what is working for others. Best, deborah

Terry Whalin said...

Deborah Lyn,

Thank you for this imporant article on Time Management for writers. Each of us have the same 24 hours and how we use that time is important. I tend to block certain hours but I keep my fingers on the keyboard a great deal every day--and lots of things happen as a result. It's not complicated but I believe in the compound effect of where getting better every day eventually pays off.

author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh’m ‘my big bugaboos. Time management lost today in favor of Elvis 2002. Streaming for more than 2 hours for $19 .99!

Karen Cioffi said...

Time and money well spent, Carolyn.

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