Indie Life: Time Management

IndieLife7Today’s post is part of Indie Life, a blog hop hosted by the Indelibles.  Click here to see a list of participating blogs.

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I recently took a leap of faith, dropping from full time to part time employment so that I could pursue my true calling as a writer.  As exciting as that is, however, I’ve already encountered my first major obstacle: time management.

I assumed that with so much more time available for writing, surely I would write thousands upon thousands of words with no trouble.  After all, I love to write! Well, it turns out that my job provided a little structure in my day.  It gave me a deadline: the deadline of getting stuff done before I left for work.  Without that deadline, I’m free to procrastinate well into the afternoon or early evening.

So I came up with the idea of writing a “class schedule,” allotting specific blocks of time each day for working on specific projects.  It seemed like a good idea until I actually implemented it.  You see, I have medical problems that don’t care what my schedule is.  Writer’s block doesn’t care about my schedule either.  Also, my three-year-old godson believes I went part time so I could spend more time playing with him; he’s not entirely wrong about that.

FDR once said, “Do something.  If it works, do more of it.  If it doesn’t, do something else.”  So I gave up on class schedules.  As much as I like the idea, it doesn’t work, at least not for me.  I need structure in my day, but I also need flexibility for the sake of my health, my muse, and my godson.  Fortunately, I have a new idea.

I’m going to credit this one to my friend and co-worker, Jen.  She said that if writing is a job, than I need to clock in and out.  My part time job requires me to work a total of 25 hours a week, so I am going to require myself to spend at least that much time each week writing.  It doesn’t matter when I do those 25 hours, so long as I do them at some point.  If I have to deal with anything medical, I can postpone my writing for a few hours while my medication kicks in.  If my muse would rather write at 3:17 a.m. than promptly at Noon, we can do that.  If my godson calls, I can make time for him too.  The important thing is to stay focused when I’m “clocked in” and make sure I get all my hours done.

This “clocking in” idea is still experimental.  In fact, Jen only suggested it to me yesterday.  Like my class schedule, I may discover implementing a time clock system is easier said than done.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll take FDR’s advise and try something else.  I just have to keep trying new ideas until I find a system that works for me.

But I know I’m not the only indie writer who has this problem, so what do you do to better manage your time?

9 Responses to Indie Life: Time Management

  1. Usually I try to write first thing in the morning for a couple thousand words. Then move on to cleaning a room. Then Work on some social networking for an hour. After, I investigate how to market my books better or research book reviewers. But this all depends on my job outside of the house. I work as a hairdresser anywhere between 28 to 30 hours a week. My biggest problem is having a blog schedule.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/2013/07/indie-life-things-i-miss-and-irk-me.html

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  2. I definitely divide my time up during the day: first draft writing, editing another project, publishing/formatting…and of course exercise and cleaning my house!

    Thanks for participating!

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  3. Mencara says:

    Sounds like you are figuring it out on your own, but the entire book, “No Plot, No Problem” by Chris Baty is really about that very thing. What a writer really needs is a deadline and structure. Most writers believe that they will suddenly become prolific when they have lots of free time but we get more done when we have other things going on. I have to trick myself into getting writing done by scheduling it between things I hate. Nothing makes writing look more appealing than telling yourself you can’t do it because you have to scrub the shower 🙂

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  4. Janeal Falor says:

    It’s hard making time for writing. I think it’s important to make it a priority, but easy to forget. My internet turns off at night and the kids are in bed so I have no other choice but to write or be bored. The clocking in idea sounds lie a really good one though, especially to help you work around health that you don’t know exactly what it’s going to be like.

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  5. I hope this experiment works. Yes, I had to create a schedule for myself. I still feel as if I need 3 of me.

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  6. […] I quickly learned, however, that I was not as well prepared as I’d thought.  As I wrote in last month’s Indie Life, I suck at time management.  Fortunately, I think I’ve finally found a system that works for […]

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