Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time Management

I had a great plan. My blog post was due today, and I was scheduled to be at Killer Nashville.  Easy peasy. I'd take my laptop with me, make frequent and indulgent use of what I expected to be free internet, and upload a blogging masterpiece that would make Stephanie Meyer think I'd found the secret for lightening in a bottle.

I was so confident in my plan, I focused on everything in the world but my blog post.  Then the wheels came off.  No free internet at the hotel.  My displeasure is difficult to articulate.  Not only did it derail my blogging plan, but also the lack of free access to my not-so-secret addiction, the internet, kept me from getting work for my day job done. It hit me square in the face.  I should have planned better and worked on my time management before leaving for the conference so I would have been better prepared.  Lesson learned (I say after a few hours sleep sitting at the free computer in the business center).

Finding the time to do this post reminded me that I really needed to work on my time management.  I always find a way to get done what needs to get done by the time it should be, but it is usually at the cost of sleep, fun, and peace of mind (notice I didn't say meals - those babies are carved in stone).  I've tried scheduling my day. That was a waste of paper.  I've tried dividing my day (morning for work/evening for writing), but I couldn't keep the divisions separate. I'm looking for new tools. I'm such a wimp. How everyone on this blog balances work, writing, kids and a productive life is beyond me. I have yet to manage juggling the two balls I'm supposed to control.

I would love to hear time management suggestions from everyone so I can keep one of the balls in the air from bouncing off my head!


Callie James said...

I hear you, Heather. Sounds like it all worked out though.

I had to wait for my son to finish high school and move out before I was able to write outside of the weekend or volunteer for anything. That was a huge factor for me.

I also don't think I could handle my heavy writing schedule if I didn't have the most understanding husband of all time who has his own hobbies.

Maybe it's just a combination of things instead of a method for me. I don't know. I'm just glad those days of crazy are gone.

Carla Swafford said...

Best time management method for writing a book: Decide what's most important to you. Writing or watching TV. Writing or playing on-line games. Writing or ? You get the idea. Don't allow other things (Time with family is more cleaning is not) to interfer with that goal of writing that book. Otherwise, it's a hobby.

But do give youself one day off a week or one hour a day to play, read or whatever.

Louisa Cornell said...

I like Carla's plan. Especially the part about housework not being important.

My biggest problem is I am a planner, but NOT a Plan B'er.

I have this great plan to get all this writing done, but the minute real life throws a monkey-wrench in that I go to pieces.

Had great plans for writing on my day off and then WHAM got an upper respiratory infection from Hades (working with the public is KILLING me!) AND managed to throw out my back. So I became the incredible sneezing, coughing, back spasming woman and have continued to be that woman since Thursday nite. NOT FUN !! Ever tried to lug buckets of dog food out to dog runs when your back has you walking sideways and you have to stop every few steps to cough/sneeze and then wait for the back to stop making your eyes water before you can continue?

I had a great plan to get everything packed and organized for Nationals. I always have lists and list of my lists. And my plan was to get my eyebrows and nails done the day BEFORE we hopped in the car to drive to Orlando. What I didn't plan was my chihuahua, Frodo the Horrible, chewing off his own tail and having to spend that particular day in the vet's office with a very ticked off bleeding snarling 12 pound menace to society.

So, can anyone come up with a way to plan for when the plan gets blown to pieces? (Or chewed off, whichever comes first?)

That reminds me, I need to post photos of Frodo, stoned from surgery and wearing his cone of shame on Facebook. Just to get even with him for me showing up at Nationals with Groucho Marx's eyebrows and Freddy Krueger's nails.

Jeanie said...

The answer in my case is things fall through the cracks. My house looks like a war zone, the laundry doesn't get done, the refrigerator is bare and I hardly cook anymore. You get the picture. It's hard to be super woman without the cape and the tights.

I think we all struggle with some of the same things. Time management is tough.

Christine said...

I completely understand Louisa's no plan B fail safe for when things throw a monkey wrench into our plans. I have had similar experiences! I have learned to adjust my schedule to accommodate the wrench afterward, but not easy. What I have learned to do is build in wiggle room. I try not to overextend myself and have every hour of the day filled with a "to do" marker. Same with the week. I don't make a to-do list for the day, I make one for the week and anything that doesn't have top priority, shifts to the following week till it gets done. As for writing time, I try to take advantage of the early morning hours and any "free time" given to me--like Darling Hubby is going out of town for 4 days and I am thrilled cause that means I don't have to "cook" cause the teen and I just rattle around the cage and forage for food when he's gone. I tend to get a second wind creatively around 4-5P so I plan to use that time to write rather than prep a meal.

Oh, and I LOVE the crockpot. If I know that my day is going to be insane, I plan a crockpot meal so I don't have to think about cooking for the family at 6P.

And I am with Carla on the whole housekeeping isn't necessary deal. I can walk away from a mess if until it reaches defcon epsilon.

Christine said...

Oh, that to do list? I use a college ruled regular notebook, divide the page and write on the left hand side all the to dos for the household/general stuff and on the right hand side I write all my writing goals for the week. Both sides have things that shift to the following week, but eventually, it all gets done :-)

Cari Hislop said...

I agree with Carla too...I got rid of my tv four years ago because I kept becoming trapped wasting three or so hours a night staring mindlessly at the box watching shows I didn't even like. If I need to watch something now I'll watch a specific episode on you tube. I think because it's also my work screen I more likely only watch a show if I'm eating or if I can't write for whatever reason.

Louisa...I feel for you! Bad back, coughing and lots of dogs to feed? That must be hell! I thought I was feeling rough today (not compared to you!). I hope you and the chihuahua feel better soon. We had a chihuahua when I was a teen. It was a strange creature (though that could have been the affect of having to live with my family - all the cats my mother tried to bring home wisely ran away to live at the neighbors).

And as for that pie in the sky clean house...I did have a system where I'd clean on Mondays, but that's fallen by the the incumbent spiders could tell you. My husband gets clean underwear, clean ironed work shirts and a lunch bucket. It's something!

M.V.Freeman said...

I set deadlines for myself. Most of the time that does work.

In reality- I just try to be flexible. You can use all sorts of time management stuff, but things still get totally wonkers. (Louisa, I didn't know whether to laugh or be horrifed about your dog...! Poor you and him!)

Just keep your eye on the prize and find those times to push yourself. Say, write five pages a excuses.

T.V. I've not gotten rid of it, but I don't have cable and like Carla said, you make a choice.

You can do it. :-)

Heather said...

Great comments everyone! I wish I had time to respond individually (LOL).