Books,  Facts of Life,  Indie Author Life,  Writing Journey

The Art of Time Management: Writer’s Edition

In my family, I’m the organized one. I know where everything is. I never lose my keys (except for that one time I accidentally threw them away – thank you Tile! haha). You might be wondering why a hyper-organized person would have a Tile. It was quite literally for a “just in case I do something stupid with my keys” kind of situation. Haha. (For those of you who don’t know, Tile is a bluetooth device that you put on your keys, and it can communicate with your phone and sing to you if you ever throw your keys into the giant trash can at work and can’t find them.)

So, I thought I would be good at organizing my time. And I was right. Kind of. I have a planner. And in the planner I write down everything I want and need to do each day. The problem I had a couple of years ago, is that I would get overwhelmed and do nothing because I put too much stuff on my list. So, I fixed that first.

The problem I’ve been having this year, is that I was trying to do everything after work. Needless to say, this hasn’t been working for me. So, sometime last month, I think, I asked my brother how he gets stuff done, not because he’s a shining example of time management, I don’t really know. But he certainly seems to be more productive than I am.

He suggested I break up what I wanted to do between the morning and the evening so it doesn’t all pile up after work. I’ve known for a long time now that I need to get up and do crap in the morning before work, which is surprisingly not that hard for me if I get to bed before 2 am. But every time I’ve tried this in the past, I’d mess up one or two times and quit. #perfectionistcons

But that’s not how you succeed at anything. So, I’m trying again, and this time, I’m going to keep trying until it sticks. Because I can’t wait until my life is perfect to fix this time management issue. Because you know how the saying goes. If I don’t do it now, I’m not going to do it then.

So, in the last four weeks or so, I’ve been actively trying, every day, and things are actually not going too bad for someone with 20 years of bad habits to overcome. I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done. I actually put up my laundry the day after I did it. Of course, I’m messing up, but I’m still trying, so there’s hope. 🙂 The good thing is: I actually like being up early in the morning (when it happens). The day feels SO long, and I get so much more done! Imagine that. 😛

Here’s a fresh new problem I’ve run into though: I have absolutely no concept of how long it takes me to do certain tasks.

For example, I’m beta reading right now. I was like, “This isn’t in bad shape, I ought to be able to do two chapters a day and still be way ahead of her deadline.”

Um, no. Some chapters take fifteen minutes, some, I swear, take an hour. So, if I write down beta reading for two chapters, and I budget an hour, I end up going over 90% of the time.

So, on Monday, I made the adjustment to just do an hour, whatever I can do in that hour. When the hour is up, I finish up and move on to the next thing on my list. I would spend more time beta-ing, and I usually do, but I have a very long to-do right now, so since I have a good month to get it back to her, I’m going to take that month, for once.

Of course, when I was 20, I could get four hours of sleep or less and still get up in the morning, but I not be 20 anymore, and my body laughs at me when I try to do that now. curses

I can say that delegating tasks between the a.m. and p.m. makes my life feel lot less chaotic, at least. It’s irritating the OCD a little bit because I don’t tend to operate in moderation – I tend to just read or just write or just watch Youtube. To be honest, I’m not really used to being busy, so when I am, I have a tendency to freak out. But this has been nice so far – breaking up my time between reading, writing, beta-ing, researching, blogging, and down time. 🙂

Of course, I’ll be happy when the bulk of the research is over. More writing & (fiction) reading time. But at least I’m enjoying the content.

Before I go, I have FUN publishing news! Writing buddy Sunflower Michelle Athy published a short story on Amazon this week!! So, I wanted to throw another wave of congratulations her way!! Congratulations Michelle!! (cheers) ^_^


    • Krystal Jane

      I was so excited to see “When Mary Left” ranking so high on the charts!! ^_^

      The internet is so shiny! Why?!!! I haven’t been getting as much entertainment in this week because I couldn’t risk falling in a distraction hole.

  • Crystal Collier

    Yay for Michelle! I budget blocks of time too, and it’s the only way to go. Actually, I’m in enough of a routine that I know the approximate times for any task. Granted, everything is going to change in 6 weeks when I’m no longer full-timing it for a book release.

    Way to get your mornings going!

    • Krystal Jane

      Yay! 😀 I’m slowing figuring out how much time things are taking. Being productive in the morning definitely helps a lot. ^_^

  • Tonja Drecker

    Congrats again, Michelle!
    I’m not a good time organizing person and can’t be (or I’d go crazy). Regular, every day stuff is already routine (starting with dishes at 6:15am while kids eat breakfast). I usually have 1-2 major tasks which are marked as goals for the day. My writing front is a disaster, but I’m hoping to buckle down on that one. Lol! Every time I set a date for that though, something else gets in between. This next week, though. Definitely.

    • Krystal Jane

      I actually put laundry on my list. Lol! I think it’s just so I make time to actually put my laundry up. 😂 I don’t schedule specific hours, but it’s like a.m. do this and p.m. do that. Otherwise I get overwhelmed.

  • Michelle Tran (@michelletwrites)

    Yay to Michelle!

    And also, totally know what you mean about time management. I’m like you, I do just one thing at a time until it’s finished! But that’s totally not doable IRL when everyone depends on you for something. So yeah, feeling overwhelmed lately too! And thanks again for beta reading and making time for it!!! You are the absolute best <3

    • Krystal Jane

      I’m always happy to read your work! ^_^ Yeah, just doing one thing at a time is a disaster for other areas of my life. I’ve gotten in a decent rhythm this last week, but I still feel like there’s a lot I’m not doing.

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