Showing posts with label Increasing Productivity. goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Increasing Productivity. goals. Show all posts

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:

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:

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:   
Visit her caregiver’s website:

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:

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Beating Procrastination and Increasing Productivity

 Procrastination by definition is the act of avoiding an action or activity. It can creep in when you least expect it taking up valuable writing and marketing time. Spring is one of the worst times for me when procrastination hits full force. After all, there are windows to clean, yard work to do, Easter to plan, sunshine to enjoy and the list goes on. There will always be "things that need doing" or "places to go" but what about the writing time? And marketing and promoting is one of those activities that I definitely procrastinate at. So how to beat procrastination and increase productivity while still enjoying time to do other things becomes a life skill necessary for writers to master?

Schedule writing and marketing activities first. That may sound easy but I am sure you will agree that it is anything but. The act of putting writing/marketing time on the daily calendar is the first step but it takes discipline to stick to the plan. Although the calendar is not written in stone, it helps to make it a practice to follow a schedule. That being said, avoid over scheduling. Making an unreasonable plan of action will lead to more procrastination and a backlog of work.

Set Goals. Setting goals has been a lesson for writers in every genre. While authors may disagree about outlines versus story arcs, character sketches versus writing free form, or the importance of theme versus plot most agree that setting goals for a successful writing career is invaluable. The key is to  make them attainable and to revisit them often to test your progress.

Rest. Students get a spring break to rest, take a break, and to rejuvenate for the remainder of the school year. It is usually a rest period from sports practices, testing, and homework. Writers need the same kind of break. Schedule not only a rest period for the story or article you have written so you have a clear eye to revise, but schedule a rest from writing altogether. It may be only a day or even a few hours but take time to get clear away from the act of writing and marketing and enjoy something different. Here is where you can do that gardening, window washing, or shopping with the grand kids. Take advantage of rest periods and notice how fresh your work looks when you get back to it.

Look honestly at the activities which cause more procrastination than others. Usually those are the types of things that you don't like to do or that make you uncomfortable. For me, it is definitely the marketing or promoting myself. For others it might be the business side of writing, tax and record keeping, or even the research. Schedule those activities that you don't enjoy but are necessary first. Get them over with so you can move on to the writing and creating, the one activity all of us love to do.

Scheduling the tasks in a manageable order and allowing reasonable increments of time to accomplish each item will help beat procrastination and increase productivity. Target each task towards a specific writing goal and those action steps will lead to success.

Happy writing and Happy Spring!

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