Oct 3, 2012

Insecure Writers - Time Management

Every 1st Wednesday of the month is a time for insecure writers to group together. This month, my mind is obsessed with time. 

I have a bad habit of taking on more projects each day than can possibly be tackled in a 24hr period. My to-do lists grow into epic quests. Some of the projects I'm trying to juggle now are:
  • Organise a launch, distribution and sales points for My Zombie Dog.
  • Finish writing first draft to Undead Kev, sequel to My Zombie Dog.
  • Edit/rewrite DOGNAPPED? My tween girl mystery.
  • Find time to write my love project Warracknabeal Kids, a mystery set in 1939 outback Australia.
  • Edit and submit short stories into competitions.
  • Set myself up to run workshops at schools/libraries for creative writing.
  • Together with my team, organise an Indie Expo for Australia's music, film, art and writing industry.
Each of these projects have many tasks to complete, and I want them all done NOW! I start to feel panicky, like I'm running late (I CAN'T run late EVER). Of course I also need to fit life in around these tasks. 

I am taking steps to manage all these projects:
  • Downloaded Pomodorable from the Mac App store. This uses the method of set time limits per task. You work on one task for twenty minutes, then take a ten minute break (stretch, move about).
  • Morning pages - I write three pages longhand when I wake up. It's not always useful words, but it does push me to keep going.
  • I'll (try to) limit my task numbers on my to-do list. Do you know if you have more than five tasks on your list you're less productive on each one? A to-do list needs to be achievable, otherwise it just becomes a reminder of failure and a form of punishment. I need that reward of ticking boxes.
So what do you do to manage time wisely? If it's time to write you need, you can check out this post:


  1. Lists are always good to create. They keep one on task and on track, I like to use them myself. I wish you luck achieving everything on yours.

  2. I'm a daily list keeper. The days I work, I limit my MS time to 1 1/2 first thing in the morning or after dinner depending on when I've been scheduled to work. On my days off, I slot out the first 3 hours to my MS, then blogs, then other social media. Doing things in chucks of time is doable for me.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. Putting no more than five things on my to-do list for the day has been a huge help for me. It is important to recognize that no matter how many things I want to get done, I really can't do them all.
    The one thing that helps me the most though are the morning pages. Even though I could be doing other things during those precious minutes, doing nothing but channeling the subconscious seems to put everything back into perspective. I guess it is a form of meditation for us writers.

    Good luck with all your projects! It sounds like an exciting schedule. :)

  4. These are really good suggestions. I like the app you recommended.

  5. I definitely have a problem with time management. In the morning I have a 'plan of action' usually involving 3-5 things, and by the end of the day I'm lucky if I've finished one.

    Your top 10 list was very helpful. I'm bookmarking that for future use. Thanks for the suggestions!

  6. Oh yeah, time management is always a toughie which is why I'm a firm believer in 'the list' =)

  7. Things that are long term goals (like writing a novel)I break up into smaller chunks. So the goal for a particular day maybe doing one chapter of a rewrite. That way I can still tick it off the list.

    Moody Writing

  8. I'm exhausted just looking at your list! 2-3 to dos is taxing for me.

  9. I just do what I can when I can! It's HARD though... you're so spot on! I'm going to go check out that post! :)

  10. I make a list in my head of things to do. I'm very busy with my life and the blogosphere is in my distraction so it's nearly impossible to find time to write. I write when I feel like it and when I have time to do so.

  11. lately I've been hopeless with time management. Wow you sound so busy--and it's all with great stuff too! Go you!!

  12. I used to be a list-maker, and faithfully crossed each item off. Now? Life changes, and takes me with it.

  13. My problem with time has more to do with the fact that I don't have nearly enough for the writing I want to do. I'd try writing in the early morning if I could force myself to get up any earlier.

  14. I have a to-do list and try to knock off 10 things a day. The thing is I tackle easier things first, leaving the harder things for the end of the week.

    I usually catch up with writing goals on weekends.

  15. Charmaine, you're so like me except you actually did get around to publishing a novel! I feel like I'm on a treadmill, getting nowhere fast, but I'm sort of enjoying the journey so it probably doesn't matter!
    See you Wednesday!

  16. I keep myself to one project at a time in my writing life, but your to-do-list nightmare sounds like my work life. I have too many things that I need to at least keep sight of, but I try to limit the ones highlighted for attention today so I have a fighting chance of dealing with them. That works, until it gets blown out the water by a new and unexpected demand that is going to take up hours - and the deadline is close of business!

  17. "A to-do list needs to be achievable, otherwise it just becomes a reminder of failure and a form of punishment."

    That's where I self sabotage too. I put too many things on my plate and then don't get to any of them.

    At my day job I can accomplish small things to feel productive. But writing always feels like a BIG project. No matter what "little" thing I accomplish, it never feels like enough.

    You have a lot of interesting things on your list Charmaine. I'm blown away with your innovation and drive interact with the community at large. To me, this is the sign of a hugely successful writer; one willing to go the extra mile for readers. Kudos to you for your thoughtfulness.


  18. Sounds like you're busy, busy.

  19. Interesting list, Charmaine! Lists are good, it keeps things in perspective.

    All the best!

  20. Good luck with the juggling of those projects...

  21. OMG Charmaine, you sound a bit like this girl I know. Her name is Dimity Powell and she's wondering if it would be easier to chuck it all in and run away to the circus...no wait...you need to be a good juggler to cope well there too. D'oh!

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