Mar 4, 2014

The world does not need another writer blog - Time Management Tuesday Tip

When I first started on the road to creating the dreaded “author platform”, the one thing I was 100% sure of is that I did not want to be an “authors for authors” blog – a blog that caters to other authors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach for platform building. And I’m thankful every day to my fellow authors who are out there adding value to our community. I just never could see myself doing that. Others are much more informed and have way more passion for the topics of “writer sausage making” than I do.

Over the months, though, as I’ve gotten my feet down, I’ve realized there is a specialized area that I can probably add a bit of value and (lucky me) it’s an area I tend to have some passion around (translation, don’t get me started talking about it or you may not be able to shut me up until you’ve agreed to let me professionally torture you in my area of expertise).

As I mentioned in my Writer Wednesday post Just Finish It, one of the largest issues I come across in my critique groups is writers having trouble balancing it all and getting a work across the finish line.

In my real life, not just when I’m playing Author on the internet, I am a certified project manager. I strongly believe that not only should whatever you’re working on have a project plan, your whole life should have one. Goal completion does not just happen. There is a science to time management. Even those who manage to complete their projects just fine, thank you, could always pick up a tip or trick to being more efficient.

Let’s face it, the majority of writers have a day job. Even those writers who are lucky enough to be able to write full time are juggling that with managing their writing business. Gone are the days where publishers and agents did a big chunk of that. Now writers, even traditionally published ones, but especially those who are self-published, spend countless hours on things like marketing and accounting.

Given that, I will be launching a new series called Time Management Tuesday. The series will alternate between providing information on the science of project and time management and interviews from other authors who will share their tips and tricks to making it happen.

So, without further ado:

This week’s Time Management Tuesday Tip: You must pay attention!

Time management is a science, but like the science of weight loss, one size does not fit all.

The basics of weight loss are simple – eat less, move more. But many other facets play into that. For example, some body types are more sensitive to carbohydrates than others. Some body types are genetically predisposed not to give up weight or not to lose weight through exercise.

Time management/efficiency principals work in a similar way. Essentially the basics of time management are simple – focus on the right things at the right time for the right amount of duration. But how your brain is wired to produce, will greatly affect what works and what doesn’t for you.

So what’s a writer to do? – Start paying attention.

The first step when taking on any “be more efficient” program is to pay more attention. Get off of autopilot and start understanding how you work. When are you tired? How long can you go before you need a break? What are your derailers? What keeps you from getting to it? Are you simply a procrastinator or do you have something bigger going on from an emotional perspective? Are you better at night or first thing in the morning?

There’s a stuffy old business saying in the lean manufacturing space – “We expect what we inspect.” In other words, if you want to understand something, change it for the better, you have to pay attention to it.

Over the course of the coming weeks and months, I’ll be providing templates to help you begin to sort out your own productivity style, as well as additional research on human efficiency and time management. But none of it will help if you don't start paying attention to how you work.

Stay tuned next week for an interview with cozy mystery author Ovidia Yu on her tips and tricks for managing her writer life.

If you found this interesting, please share it with your network below with the sharing buttons below.

Also, I have a great slate of authors lined up in my interview series, but am always looking for more. If you are a published author, and would like to share your time management story, leave a comment, send me an email or hit me on Twitter.

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