Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Five Time Management Tools for Writers

Some days, you might ask yourself, “Why do I still feel like I can’t get everything done?” Or “Why can’t I get any writing done?”

I’m going to make the assumption that everyone who reads this blog post is on Earth. That means we all have 24 hours a day. Those hours are broken into minutes, those minutes are broken into seconds.

While I am not debating the realities of time dilation, we  like to think time is relative. It’s not. We say time flies when you are having fun or drags when you’re not, but the truth is we all have 24 hours a day. And since I have become an adult, all time is moving too fast. Even Virgil agrees: fly

I lose chunks of time during the day. I have a house to keep, dogs to walk, and meals to cook. I have a curriculum and the accompanying handouts to write for my summer art courses. I have artwork and novels to create. While no one, not even me, cannot eliminate interruptions, we get a say on how much time we spend on them.

Here is how I keep myself productive:

1) Every Sunday night, I write weekly to do lists broken down by project.  

If I don’t get something done by the end of the week, it gets moved to the top of next week’s list.  And you will notice two items for the coming week. Last week’s list looked like:

To do: 1/19 – 1/24 

Other Systems Universe

TLSotM Reedit

  • Mon: Chap 26
  • Tues: Chap 27
  • Wed: Chap 28
  • Thur: Chap 29
  • Fri: Chap 30 – 31
  • Friday: Print out TLSotM manuscript (I’ve jury duty this week)

Short Stories

The PeaceKeeper

  • Add ghost of commander
  • Name dead soldier
  • Add screaming victim about the False King


  • Dentist Wednesday Jan 21 @ 12
  • Page 2 Books – pick up cosigned books and check
  • Inventory
  • State and City Taxes

Websites/Social Media

  • Twitter Goal: 10,000 followers
  • Blog Post for Mon 1/26

2) Alarm! Alarm! Alarm!
When I am writing, I set an alarm on my phone so I remember to pick up my husband from work or run timed errands such as my dentist appointment.

3) Meal Plans

I keep a weekly meal plan on the kitchen calendar so cooking is easy. 

B: PancakesL: Hotdogs w Chips
D: Steak Kabobs
B: Quiche & Cros.
L: Work
D: Orange Chick
w Rice
B: Ham Scramble
L: Work
D: French Dips
B: Sand w/ham
L: Work
D: Tacos
B: Eggs & BaconL: Work
D: Quinoa Salad
B: Sand w/baconL: Work
D: Spaghetti & Meatballs
B: Biscuits & Gravy
L: Orzo Salad
D: Enchiladas

4) Scheduled Chores

I keep a schedule with weekly, monthly, and quarterly rotational chores. Monday is laundry, Tuesday is vacuuming, etc. 

5) Deadlines!
I use major conventions to act as deadlines both for writing and marketing projects.

So that’s how I get projects done, how do you do it?

New Year Resolutions

I wanted to roll myself in blankets with Rosie.

Rosie’s Resolution is to stay in the snuggle zone.

Once again, I would like to say something poignant and meaningful, but instead I’m starting the New Year sitting on my couch with Rosie snuggled up beside me with Tycho on the top of his crate behind me just like last year. I am sipping espresso as I got a Starbucks Verismo this year in October. I love that little machine. Once Dennis gets up, I will make some eggs with cheese and a side of bacon. It is one of our favorite breakfasts.

I have two resolutions this year

1) Exercise: Every Monday through Friday morning, I need to exercise. I enjoy doing aerobics. I just need to get off my bum and do them. That’s the hardest part for me. This resolution will be the hardest for me to keep. I need to do this before I take Dennis to work, because if I take Dennis to work, I get dressed. If I get dressed I won’t do it.  As you can tell, I am really good at making excuses of why I don’t have time to exercise.

2) Balance my work and the time I spend with my friends and family better. I need to keep my focus on everything I have to be grateful for — not what I think I should be accomplishing (specifically this refers to my book sales, how many reviews I have, etc, my teeny tiny royalty checks.) I have a great husband, a nice condo and two dogs. Though we could stand to lose a few pounds, we are both fairly healthy. I come from a fantastic loving family. I can always call my parents. I have wonderful friends and neighbors. These are the things I should focus on, but at times I take them for granted.

So there are my resolutions, what are yours?

Happy New Year!

Writers Block #4–Sick Dogs (Time management)

Remember I live on the West coast so I have only been up for an hour…

So the first two blog posts about writer’s block were about things that sometimes makes me have writer’s block. Here is what has been giving me writers block today…

I awoke to a foul smell emanating from my office. The worse smell you can possibly imagine:  liquid dog feces.

Tycho sometimes sleeps in there in the summer because he get’s too hot.

So I get up and see, and yep he had an accident all over his bed and on the floor near his bed. He is starring at me in abject terror and horror at what he has done. Then he cringes at me. (Dude, seriously, why do you make me feel like a bad dog mom? You are 12 pounds, I am a lot more, I will never hit you.)

I stick him in the crate so I can clean up the mess. Every once in awhile we hear a soulful whine in the next room. I live in a 3 room condo–my office is my bedroom closet.

Rosie now is worried because Tycho is in the crate. She isn’t sure if she should go to the crate or stay in bed. Dennis wakes up briefly. Rosie sees that now Tycho is crated SHE can get the warm spot next to Dennis. She is no longer worried. She is happy to usurp Tycho’s normal spot. (Seriously, Girl, he probably left the bed awhile ago, you could have taken the spot at any time!)

So the mess is cleaned up and then I take Tycho and Rose outside. I think what ever upset his tummy is gone. Now they lay on the couch with me. I planned on getting up and making strawberry cupcakes for my HOA BBQ which is this afternoon. I planned on getting another chapter of The Martlet edited. But instead I sit cuddling my sick dog writing a blog post since the idea of trying to focus on my next novel has gone out the window…

I know I really need to get up and make cupcakes, an errands and grocery list for when Dennis and I go out, but right now, that’s the last thing I want to do…because my four-legged hairy adopted son needs me.

My point is that all this household stuff is taking my focus away from working on the Martlet. In fact I am such a good procrastinator I am writing a blog post about how I am procrastinating due to my sick dog. Ultimately I know once I finish this post, I will go into the kitchen and make cupcakes. Once they are in the oven, I will set out to do the other household things I needed to do before Dennis woke up so we can go once he is awake, IF Dennis sleeps till 10 (which is likely) I will might get a chapter of the Martlet edited if he gets up any earlier, I have wasted the morning hours in which I could have worked. But hey at least I got a blog post done…and that’s something, isn’t it?

My purpose for writing this blog is this: Writers get blocked because they feel they don’t have enough time. It sounds trite, but anyone who wants to write novels needs to make time to write each day. They need to make time to re-write if they want their novels published. The Martlet is a good story at this point, but it is not ready for publication by any means. I need to give it my time so it can be a great story, by procrastinating it might end up fair at best. Once the dog seems stable and the cupcakes are done, they need to be at the laptop pounding away at the next chapter –even on Saturday mornings.

And this concludes my series on writer’s block!

Time Management #1: Making time for one’s self even though you became an author

Since the publication of Other Systems, I found myself constantly battling taking time out for myself until pure exhaustion would knock me out. I was getting irritable and more than a little crazy. Any given week, I work 40 to 60 hours. That’s just the gig, but especially on convention weeks, I was working 80 – 90 hours.

I have ideas for other books I want to write, plus connventions, plus promotional stuff, plus social media, plus…well you get the idea.

Something had to give: for me it was my weight. Other Systems added 30 pounds to my bum and tummy. Some people can put on 30 pounds in good places. Not me. Still I don’t really care about the weight–what I care about is my writing and artwork.

Here are a few tips that I have found if I follow, my work is actually stronger, plus I feel better too.

1) Make time to exercise. In the middle of the day Monday through Friday, I walk my and my neighbors dogs. I also try to do either in the afternoon or at night time, an exercise DVD as often as I can. Yes, I know its an on going joke, but I really do like Sweating to the Oldies.

My favorite breakfast: this quiche has red peppers, artichoke and parmesan cheese. (

2) Garbage in/garbage out. I’ve a terrible sweet tooth but I make sure I eat fruit and vegetables each day. I also take my Flintstone vitamins — yes I realize they are for the kids, but I hate to swallow pills.

Most importantly, I have begun to always eat breakfast. I used to skip breakfast until I realized I was crashing at noon and shoving anything halfway edible in my mouth. My favorite is quiche or  scrambled eggs with cheese, but even if it is just a croissant with jam, I force myself to sit down and eat. My diet is certainly not perfect, I also drink a latte each day.

3) I admit I ignore my own good advice with this next one.  When I am stuck on something, I know if I walk through the neighborhood, I normally see something that triggers my mind. Yet, I tend not to do it. Instead I try to powerhouse my way through the problem. Then I am no better off than I was. It is important to get up.

4) Now if the above doesn’t work for you–this next one might. Clean your house. So if I can’t bring myself to leave my house for a walk, generally I will take 15 minutes to vacuum my apartment, load the dishwasher, or some other small chore. Personally I feel the pressure of the unclean house. My husband and I live in a one bedroom apartment. There is no where to hide the mess. Plus it is our mess! We should be the ones who clean it.

5) I try to take at least one full day off during each week. Generally this will be a Saturday or Sunday for me so I can spend time with my husband, but after a convention it will be a weekday. Maybe two.

6) Find yourself a hobby. I build lego castles, bake, and sew. I like to go stargazing and in the winter I enjoy snowshoeing. I also try to take an hour at least to read the news and ongoings of the world.  It is very uncomfortable moment for an author to go to a party and realize they have spent so much time in their made-up world, that they have no idea what is going on in the real one.

Sometimes Rosie gently suggests I take a break and give her a snuggle. Now.

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