Beating Time Stress: 5 Laws of Time Management for Writers
©2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Are you plagued by time stress? How do you spend your time? Or do you know? Is your sense of time as clear as the clock in this photo? Do you ever run short of time, with tasks you still need to get done? Do you ever wonder where your day has gone?
Do you sometimes feel as though time may be your enemy? You are not alone! Read on for a fresh view of how to use your time. You may be surprised by some of the suggestions. Apply these 5 Laws of Time Management for Writers and you’ll be living in a whole new world.
Law No. 1: You control your time each week.
Picture your week. Literally. Take a piece of paper, at least 8½” x 11”, and draw yourself a diagram of your week with 7 rectangles in a row. Label them with the days of your week, the way you picture your week. My rectangles start with Sunday on the left and Saturday on the right. Each rectangle represents one 24-hour day. Now block out time for sleep within each day’s rectangle. I block out 8 hours, which includes tooth brushing, alarm setting, and such before bed. That leaves me 16 hours for everything else each day. Now block out time for meals, showering, exercising, and grocery shopping. Let’s say that’s 2 hours per day.
In this example, there are still 14 hours left in the day. Can you fit banking, work, church, meditation, getting gas, and relationships into the rest of the day? Sure you can! Seven days times 14 hours per day is 98 hours every week! Now, from this perspective, you’re absolutely rolling in time! The timescape stretches out before you, bound only by your free choices as to how to allocate your hours.
Law No. 2: You control your deadline agreements.
Even if you work for an organization, you regularly make agreements about what you will do and when you will have it done. You have actually been doing this most of your life. Being aware of the hours you have available can make you more clear about the agreements you can make regarding writing projects, childcare and elder care, volunteering, and participating in blog challenges and contests. So how much time does each would-be commitment take? Ask about the hours expected and examine the time blocks for your week to see if a certain project/contest/commitment will fit comfortably within your week or month.
Law No. 3: When you are not in the mood, a timer is your best friend.
When you are not in the mood to write, you are in resistance. And you can beat resistance by tricking it! Set a reasonable 1-hour goal, set a timer for 50 minutes, and tell your mind-body system you will NOT work for more than that time before you quit for 10 minutes. Suddenly, your system will gear up at the lack of time. Suddenly, you will be racing to do the most you are able to do before that timer goes off.
When you hear the ding/the harp/the tone, immediately stop and walk away for 10 minutes. Roll your shoulders, dance, wiggle about. Grab a fresh cup of tea. Then, at the 10 minute mark, sit down, set the timer for 50 minutes, and tell your mind-body system, “Sorry! Not a minute longer!” Your resistance cells will jam up in a panic to make the most of the next 50 minutes. Enjoy!
Since we’re managing time, imagine how much time would be wasted if your tea spilled into your laptop’s keyboard and ruined the hard drive behind it? Imagine how much time you would have to work to earn the money to replace the laptop? WHOA! So from now on, no fluid containers go within arm’s length of your computer or papers, unless they are spillproof. If you’re reading this right now and your mug is not spillproof, put it on the floor immediately. And research the cost of Logitech’s new spillproof, washable keyboard. Seriously.
Law No. 5: Environment determines productivity.
If you don’t already have your best environment figured out, try figuring it out right now. Think of sound, activity, air temperature, lighting, electrical outlets, and WIFI. Some like a very stimulating environment, at home, slouching on the couch with a laptop, while children, cats, and the TV are playing actively all around. Some find the time investment worthwhile to drive to a nearby coffee shop or library, to settle in a quiet corner and plug in for the afternoon. If you choose outdoor seating, be sure you use sunscreen, no matter how cool the day. If you have a quiet spot or office at home, you can control the sound, temperature, airflow, and lighting. And no one will hear your timer going off every 10-50 minutes.
Incorporate these 5 Laws of Time Management into your thinking, every day, every week, and notice your world change. Soon, you’ll have much less time stress and much more productivity. You’ll also be enjoying your non-work hours more. And let me know in the comments section below about the progress you’re making.
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert and author of the award-winning book, Discover the Secret Energized You, as well as the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book, Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, is available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com for more info. Like this article? Buy Kebba’s books by clicking the links! Reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.