Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can you manage your time?

Tip of the Day: want some tips of time management for writers. Check out this site. It even has a survey where you can find out if you are a Time Waster.

Last week at my day job, we had an in-service on time management. Normally, I'm decent at managing my time. I'm not great by any means and often become the Queen of Procrastination, but everything always gets done on time and usually fairly well.

However, when it comes to writing, I am Horrible (yes with a capital H--because I'm so bad, I had to go old school with my words) at managing my time.

I never get anything done in my target time. It feels like I have been working on the same chapter for three months with absolutely zero progress. And with my finished works, as soon as I tell myself I'm going to submit a query, it takes me months to actually complete the task.

Most days, it honestly feels like I'm living in a time warp.

It didn't used to be this bad. Part of it has to come from not having any desire to get rejected. Because who would willing want to have mean things said about them or their work...even when they know it's not personal? Knowing rejection is part of the process definitely slows me down. But I just have to keep telling myself that it's natural and part of the process. And then I have to focus on the task at hand.

If you are like me and also need help managing your time and completing a task, here's a summary of tips that I gathered from my in-service (paraphrased, of course):

  • Turn off my email when trying to work (or really the Internet in general). Because someone actually studied people multitasking and found out a person loses 10 IQ points when trying to do multiple tasks at once. Basically, the same IQ drop that occurs when a person hasn't slept. Ouch...no wonder my emails keep reading as if a first grader wrote them. At least my IQ probably isn't nearly as low as Ryan Seacrest's is by now.
  • Re-write your to-do list EVERY day and prioritize what you want to accomplish. I seriously have no idea who has time to re-write and prioritize a to-do list everyday. And this comes from a person who loves lists!
  • We spend 30 percent of our time at work looking for lost documents/items, etc. I find this statistic to be completely insane. My desk is filled with stacks of papers that need to be filed and my computer desktop looks like someone threw up icons on it... and even I don't spend that much time trying to find stuff. I'd love to see the desks of the people they observed for this study. But...yes I agree, organization does help!
My thinking...the people who write time management training sessions clearly have too much time on their hands. For me, I usually get more accomplished when I give myself some slack and allow myself to be lazy in some areas, so I can focus my attention on the most important task at hand. And just do, instead of keep planning.

But those Time Management People do make some fair points on things to try. Guess I better get cleaning my desk.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Kate Fall said...

I have a running to do list for the long term, but I try to write a quick Top 3 priorities every day, or at least I did when I was freelancing full time. For bonus points, add time estimations after every task. That stops you from feeling like a failure because you didn't accomplish your top 3, when in reality your top 3 amounted to 12 hours of work!

Sarah-Ann B. said...

"We spend 30 percent of our time at work looking for lost documents/items, etc."
This stat is mind blowing!

I realized I was having this same problem. I was jotting down notes and ideas for various writing projects in a variety of places--scraps of paper, the back side of greeting cards, post it notes, notebooks. But then I could never remember which note was written where!

So I bought a stack of notebooks when school supplies were on sale. Each writing project gets its own notebook!

Thanks for the other tips on time management. They're a big help.