The REVELATION: My friends, writers and non-writers, all know me to be hyper-organized and planned out. Some of the credit goes to my filled-up Google Calendar that I rely so much on. What many of those friends don’t know is that my hyper organization and planning are my response to my natural state: chaos. Yeah, me. I’m pretty chaotic if I let myself go. I push deadlines, get caught up in socializing, etc.
Take this post, for example. I have no excuse! I’m typing up this post hours after it was due. It’s this late because I simply did not make time for it the day before yesterday. You could say I have “backslided” (“backslid?”) on keeping up with my time management. How and why? Facebook, Twitter and Texting, though very helpful networking tools, are so distracting for me. And food. Food too. Even while I sit here typing this I know I need to shut all that down. Excuse me- Ok done. But what can I, or you, do about it?
There is a reason why Henry Ford made the assembly line famous. When I am disciplined, I like to look at my productive (I’ll admit, sometimes personal/social) life sort of like an assembly line. When each person is assigned just one task to do they become skilled at that task and do it better and faster than if they were multitasking. (Even the Discovery channel says multitasking is non-productive.) That is why writing sprints are so successful- shut down everything and write. But when we are writing, texting, Facebooking, etc. all at once it may take hours just to write 500 words.
Everyone is different, but since you’re asking me, I’ll tell you about how I make myself the most productive. It’s very simple.
1) Get a calender. And you need it on your smartphone, you know the one you’re constantly texting, chatting Facebooking on. On your main home screen you need to have widget that displays the next event. Google calendar is awesome- I’ve been using it for years. It’s a bit like Outlook, as it sends you reminders, etc. so you don’t forget what you’re supposed to be doing in any set time.
2) Use the calender. Put all of your appointments, chores, etc. everything in it. This includes set times for social networking, writing, eating. The aim is to have time for everything and not have an excuse for not sitting down to write. If you have already scrubbed the toilet in the allotted time slot, you won’t impede on your writing time.
3) Take it seriously. Treat your calender like your mother. If it says you have to do something when you’re told to do it, then obey. That’s how this works. If you do not, then you are just wasting more time. As to social networking, that never ends. Don’t wait for it to slow down. Don’t be a people-pleaser, as I can be sometimes. Tell your friends you have somewhere else to be and end it. Most likely they will respect you for it, and if they don’t…well, we all know where they can go for not respecting your desires. Did I just say that?
4) Be realistic. You know how long it takes to scrub your toilet. You know how long it will take you to drive home from work. To cook, to get ready in the morning. Make sure that when you set these time slots you are not setting unachievable goals for yourself. You will feel so demotivated if cleaning the dishes runs into your writing time.