Time management

I’m finally getting back into my writing/editing groove. It’s been about two and a half months since I decided to take on part-time outside work, and about two months since that work was kicked up to full-time. The new routine has been harder than I thought it would be.

After yesterday, though, I think I’ve got it worked out. This week I did all the edits for Shepherd in Residence in two mornings before I went to work, and got the MS sent back to Laurence, my publisher. On the way in to work, while David drove, I read submissions for Aurora Wolf, the ezine for which I’m an editor, and made decisions on accepting or declining pieces. I make notes at work for columns I need to write. Come Monday, when I get a day at home, I’m going to get the three columns I need to do written and submitted.

I have friends who are big fans of time maps, actual diagrammed pages of when they have work time and when family time and so on. They spend a fair bit of time putting these together, with different coloured sections to tell them what they’d planned to do when. It seems to work for them, which is great. I think it would drive me crazy.

I generally know what I need to do, and I know the “get’er-done-by” date. I make lists; in the morning I’ll write down what I want to accomplish that day, more-or-less in order of importance. (No, the first item on my list is not “make list”!) Then I pick away at it, as my mother would have said, until it’s all done or I run out of day, whichever comes first. If I’m having trouble with something, I’ll take a break and work on something else, or read, or knit, or throw the ball for Sky.

There’s another reason a time map wouldn’t work for me. If Sky comes up in the middle of my writing-for-money time and says, “Hey, you know, I really need to go out”, I can’t very well show her the time map and say, “See, here’s the green time. This is green time, when I have to make money. This is blue time, which is playing-with-Sky time. The blue time is down here. Now it’s green time.”

I can just hear her response: “Okay, but where do you have “picking-up-poop-in-the-kitchen” time? Because there’s some of that in your future if I don’t get out now.”

I’m exaggerating, of course. For one thing, Sky isn’t that sarcastic. For another, my friends are, of course, flexible on their time if someone is sick, or their daughter wakes up from her nap early. But I also don’t see much percentage in spending several hours mapping out my time when I could be doing something else with that time. Writing. Playing with Sky. Sleeping, knitting, reading, doing something around the house.

All this proves, of course, is that we all manage things different ways. Right now, even if I don’t have a little “writing time” box around 9:30-11:00 a.m. every day from Wednesday to Sunday, that’s still what I do, because I know if I don’t do it then, I won’t get another chunk of writing time until tomorrow. I’m learning to use those little pieces of time, whether I map them or not.

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2 Responses to Time management

  1. Father Steve says:

    My sweet bride sometimes mocks me for having to-do lists which are three deep. I have an overall to-do list which embraces pretty much everything I have to get done in the next month. I draw from it, usually on Sunday night, those things which need to be done in the next week and make a separate list of them. Then, at the beginning of a day which will be devoted mostly to projects, I extract from that middle-level list those things which I wish to accomplish that day. I don’t see anything funny about it. She cracks up.

  2. ecreith says:

    Non-list-makers will never understand us!

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