Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How are you at managing your time?

Aside from being Spunky Old Broads Month and Sweet Potato Month, February was also National Time Management Month. Since time is always my enemy in that I never have enough of it, I decided to research simple ways to make the most of my time. As you can see, I did this a month late, but now I’m ready for next February. I discovered I actually do a pretty good job of managing my time. It’s just that I want to get more done in a day, a week or a month. So here are a few suggestions to help you accomplish more than you imagined with the time you have available to you.

Make a list. I always tell my writing students to make lists. The problem is that the lists can become long and messy, so make a shorter list. Write down three things you want to accomplish in one day. I call this my Top Three and write it on a large sticky note, posted on the front of the bookcase near my desk. Re-write this list each day assuming you will cross off all three items by the end of each day. You can still have the long list, just keep it to the side somewhere until you’re finished with your top three.

File at the end of each day. Personally, I hate filing. When I become a bestselling author, the first person I plan to hire is an assistant whose main function will be to file everything. Yes, it’s a pain to file, but if you spend only 15 minutes at the end of each work day, you will have a neat desk waiting for you the next morning.

Set your hours. Lastly, if you are a freelancer like me, you work at all hours of the day – and night! If this is the case, things can get confusing if you do not stay organized. Set aside regular hours to the best of your ability. My hours are during the day when the children are at school because I know I will get a thousand interruptions if I try to sit down at my computer after they get home. So, I work while they are at school, then catch the odd hours when my husband takes them out of the house to do errands on the weekend or at night when they are asleep. I also make sure to allow time for him, of course, but if I have a tight deadline, he gets the tv all to himself for an evening. It’s an even trade.

This month try some of these ideas to manage your time better. You may find more time to do the things you really want to do like writing your next book.

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