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How do you manage your time?

At Saturday's regular meeting of the Liberty State Fiction Writers, we were treated to an excellent presentation on time management by Ann Greville, who writes as Elizabeth Kelley.

I'm a great believer in setting goals and planning things out to make the best use of my time. Unfortunately, I'm also one of those people who gets himself organized with reasonable ease, but very soon slips back into bad habits.

Ann had a lot of good information and useful tips to share. She referred us to this excellent article:
Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey?, by William Oncken Jr. and Donald L. Wass (with commentary by Stephen R. Covey) - If you've never read it before, I highly recommend it. Ann cleverly showed us how the same management technique could be applied to our personal lives.

In addition to the 'Monkey' article, two other points Ann made resonated with me. The first came when she said we not only had to learn to prioritize, we also had to learn to RE-prioritize or even DE-prioritize.

The second came during the Q&A session, when someone asked if it would be efficient to combine family time (like watching TV together) with catching up on social media. Ann recommended we didn't do that. 'Family time is family time,' she said. I found myself agreeing, and made a note to stop catching up on emails during my own 'family time'.

Starting today, I'm working to a new schedule. My 'To do' list is full and up-to-date. The day's divided into blocks of time, during which I have specific tasks to complete. So far, I'm doing well, but of course, tomorrow, the real test begins.  

How about you?

How do you manage your time?

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
I have a schedule. I write during the day, but when Sithboy gets home, that's it. Weekends are more of a family time for us, just because everyone is home and I can't focus when they are. :P
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
I leave weekends free of 'To Dos'. That way, I have a chance to catch up :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 04:50 pm (UTC)
Since my day job requires a lot of time management and prioritizing, I'm actually not bad at it. The problem is, because my day job requires a lot of time management and prioritizing, I don't want my evenings (my writing time) to be that structured. So unless I have a deadline looming, I just go with the flow and do whatever appeals.
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Sounds reasonable :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
When I actually had a real job,
I kept a list with priority items marked,
adding things as they came up
and scratching them off as they got done,
then updating at the end of each workday.

I haven't yet adapted that system to writing.
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
I just put 'Writing - X minutes' as the first priority of the day. I didn't get too complicated :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC)
Organized chaose, like everything else in my life! When I need to organize the chaos just a little bit more, I make lists. It gives me a concrete sense of what needs doing rather than keeping it all fluttering in my head.
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
Lists = peace of mind :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Hey, you've stolen my blog post idea for next week. :)

My system sounds a lot like yours: I have a list of projects, prioritized by deadline and importance, and a rough schedule of which I need to work on each week.

Then I have writing time blocked out on my calendar. Last week I redid my calendar, and started looking at where I can get more time. I try to review my schedule regularly to make sure the time I have blocked out actually works for me.
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
'Hey, you've stolen my blog post idea for next week.'

Sorry :)

If it's any consolation, I often feel as if Nathan Bransford is checking my 'Draft posts' folder on a regular basis ;)
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
You might want to change your password. Or the lock to your house. :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
I hate having a strict schedule. I know what needs to get done each day and which order those things should get done in, but I hate blocking out my time into specific chunks.
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not keen on strict schedules either, but I think I need one :)
(no subject) - Elizabeth Kelley - Nov. 14th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the Kudos
Thanks, Ann :)
Nov. 14th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
Nov. 14th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Lol, good one :)
Nov. 15th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
I don't...and that's the problem :) Seriously, though, I have been really trying to nail down better time management skills...will definitely check out the article :)
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
So far, I'm doing well. I certainly got a lot done yesterday :)
Nov. 15th, 2011 04:22 am (UTC)
One thing that strikes me strongly is that you cannot manage what isn't your own! You have to be able to claim some time for yourself before you can use it for what you value.

That said, I've found it helps me a lot if I commit to doing things that I value - including writing - first thing in the morning. Then I know I have done something that really expresses who I am! If I get more time later in the day, well and good. But, if not, at least I did a little something in the morning. :)
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
I know what you mean. A good start to the day makes a big difference.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 16th, 2011 09:34 am (UTC)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? :)
Nov. 17th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
The thyme flies, when you're having rum. :3
Nov. 18th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
The same way I manage everything else... I wave my arms around in the air, and scream while running in circles.

In all seriousness, lately, I just try to steal a bit of writing time wherever I can.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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