Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Time Management

When I found out I was being laid off back in November of 2001, I wasn’t particularly despondent.  I’d grown tired of my job and really wanted a change.  Besides, I was a romance writer.  By staying home, I would have limitless amounts of time to work on my writing.


I found I had less time for writing than I did when I worked full-time.  How could this be?  

My sense of time changed when I stopped working.  I’d lessened its value, letting the minutes and hours go by without really thinking about it.  When I worked, 8 hours of my day were set, everything else had to be squeezed in around that block of time.  Those precious hours after work and on the weekends took on added value.  When I stopped working, I didn’t have the same problem.   My only constraint was when my son got out of school.  The rest of the day turned into fuzzy mush without structure.

I suffered through this total lack of structure for about 18 months when I realized I was accomplishing nothing.  And not just on the writing front.  My house was a disaster and the days flew by.   I totally changed my way of doing things, got organized and was much happier.  I went to FlyLady and applied her principles and they really worked…for a time.  

My house isn’t a disaster, I have retained those FLY lessons, but I have let time get away from me again.   On any given day, if someone asks if I’ve done any writing, I usually say no because I haven’t had time.

I have plenty of time, but my lack organization has sucked it all up.  So I need to come up with strategies to maximize my time.  To start, I got myself a decent date book for the year.  It doesn’t have the days broken down my hours, but it has a small block of space to scribble down a note or two.  I can write down any appointments plus note any tasks which need to be accomplished that day.  My idea is to make myself answerable to my use of time.  What did I do today?  When did I write?

If it were a simple matter of finding time to write, it wouldn’t be so hard.  But I want my life to flow together.  I want my house somewhat orderly, I want time to write, I need to exercise, I need to find time to hang around with friends, etc. etc.  If it means scheduling every minute of the day, then that is what I will have to do.

How do you handle time management?  Do you have any tricks or strategies that have helped you not only with your writing but with other facets of your life?