Time management is hard for everyone, but for writers it’s a vital skill. Here you’ll learn some tips & tricks to keep yourself organized and productive.
But first, why is it important for writers to learn how to manage their time? Isn’t that a skill for people in suits with memos and PDAs? Don’t the creative types just live on the edge, work in the moment?
Well, here are some benefits of time management for writers:
– Prevent the rest of your life from taking over your writing time
– Prevent writing time from taking over the rest of your life (unless you want it to)
– Finish a project, edit or rewrite before it starts to hang over your head
– Please your editor/publisher
– Avoid procrastination
– Squash writer’s block
Hopefully that’s enough to convince you of the value of learning some basic time management skills. Not to mention that these skills will most likely help you in other areas of your life as well.
Plus, most of these techniques are easy to use. One of the easiest techniques is called “Timeboxing,” a common time management skill which involves creating a specific block of time to work on something and doing nothing else during that time.
Another technique is breaking a project down into small actions. Working on these small actions allows you to focus on small, manageable pieces, rather than trying to conquer the whole project at once.
Of course the techniques of timeboxcing and working on small actions are much more effective if first you eliminate distractions and improve your focus.
It’s good to learn specific skills you can employ at will but it’s even better if you can ingrain some creative habits into your daily life. Habits are fantastic because they require no extra effort on your part. Did you procrastinate brushing your teeth today, or checking the mail? Probably not, because they’re so habitually ingrained.
One great habit of extra value for creative writing is journaling. Journaling can help your focus, provide insight into your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and help you notice patterns in your writing life.
Journaling is also one of the many techniques that can help you make space for new ideas, which is equally important to a writer as is sheer productivity.
Of course there are also the classic technique of setting deadlines. However, most people who set deadlines don’t make the most out of this technique. At the very least, a met deadline should be accompanied by a generous reward.
Finally, remember that perfectionism is the editor’s best friend but can be the writer’s worst enemy, causing procrastination and writer’s block. When you can’t write perfectly, write as badly as possible. It can only get better after that. Let your inner critic go crazy with the edits.
None of these skills are hard to master and they will help you create time in your life for what’s most important: your improvement as a writer.