Good time management, alas, is not part of my skill set.  I do okay when I have actual deadlines (if waiting until the very last possible minute counts as okay), but in the case of my novel or anything that doesn't have an imposed time limit, I am severely time-management-challenged.

Here are a few of the ways I am working to ensure Better Time Management:

1)  I make lists.

Almost every day, I make a list of what has to get done, what I hope to get done, and what I think needs to get done but probably won't.  A typical day will look like this:

    1.  Run
    2.  Write
    3.  Call insurance
    4.  Do laundry
    5.  Straighten room
    6.  Figure out what to wear for party
    7.  Pluck eyebrows

I try to put everything I can think of on a given list, knowing that some of the less important stuff will get moved to the next day.  The end result is that the laundry always needs doing and my room never gets straightened (and don't get me started on those eyebrows), but the stuff that has to get done usually does.

2)  I set timers.

I have a bad habit of letting the entire morning slip away whilst I browse the Internet.  Now I set a timer for one hour and let myself do all my browsing/reading/updating during that time.  When the hour is up, it's time to get to work.

I also set a timer for blocks of writing time.  I mentioned this in another post, but I stole this trick from Dr. Wicked.  The timer is set for 48 minutes, during which time I am not allowed to anything but work on my novel.  Sometimes the 48 minutes is used for research, outlining, or plotting, but I try to do at least one 48 minute of writing only per day.  By using this method, I am generally able to fit in 4 solid blocks of writing/work time per day.  It might not sound like a lot of time, but you'd be surprised at how much you can get done in 48 minutes when you refuse to let yourself get distracted.

3)  I multi-task.

I do a lot of things "on the way" to do something else.  For example, if my coffee cup needs re-filling I use the trip to the kitchen to take back my breakfast plate and any other kitchen items on my desk back to where they belong.  Whilst in the kitchen I take a moment to unload a few items from the dishwasher.  On the way back, I straighten something in the dining room or take something from the living room that belongs in the bedroom back to its rightful place.  I rarely take the time to do anything all at once (such as unload the entire dishwasher) but over the course of the day things end up getting done and I never feel like I took time out of my schedule to do them.

What do you do to ensure better time management?  I'm always open for tips in this department!

2 Replies to “Time Management”

  1. Antoinette says: March 12, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I love the timer idea. Brilliant! And one I need to start doing for myself (especially when I’m on FB.)
    Lists are a big one for me as well. I can’t live without them. Most of the time I have the opposite problem of being unable to relax and instead go from task to task to task. In that case, reading, knitting, taking a bath and that kind of thing are hard for me to make a priority. It’s something I’m getting better at and it just takes work. My husband thinks it’s pretty funny that I have to “work” at relaxing!

  2. Laurie (Moo!) says: March 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I could never survive without multi-tasking.
    I (ab)use my iPhone and put everything I need to do as a calendar appointment, with reminders. Polish nails, charge toothbrush, whatever. Everything goes in there. That way if I haven’t gotten it done I can move it easily to the next day…or week.
    Lists, lists, lists. I put lists into Notes on my iPhone (yada, yada, iPhone. LOL!).
    The really important HAVE TO DO NOW OR ELSE things go onto post-its.

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