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Time Management for Authors
Prioritizing a Time to Write
One of the things that we, as authors, often have a hard time managing is time to write. Few of us have a quiet little cabin in the woods we can slip off to when we are working on a story. In fact, just the opposite is usually true. We may have a tucked away spot in our homes, but unless we are single people with no family responsibilities, we are in the thick of family activities including children, televisions roaring, food being cooked and family schedules to maintain. Finding time to write has to become a priority if we are going to do it successfully but how do we manage to do so.

Classic Time Jar
I am sure you have seen the example some science teachers use of the large jar and how much it will hold. It all boils down to how it is put into the jar. If you put the smaller things – rocks in this example -- in first then put the larger things closer to the top and then on the top, you will not be able to get as much in. But, if you put the larger rocks in first then allow them to be smaller toward the top the jar will hold much more. In the science examples, the professor will usually add sand and then water before the jar is completely full. We need not go that far but we do need to learn how to manage our time.

Time Categories
There are several things we need to consider when arranging our jar of time. If you take the rocks, and label them with names such as Urgent, Important, Urgent But Not Important, and Trivia you will be better able to arrange your writing schedule. For example, Urgent would-be something that requires immediate action, like a crisis. We all have them at least once in our lives. Sometimes we have them once a week or a day if we have a family. 

Category One - Big Rock Urgency
Let’s call the big rock Urgent and consider only those things that would cause life- effecting things to be in the urgent category. Consider things like the house is on fire or flooding, the kids are bleeding profusely, the neighbor’s child disappeared, or your in-laws are coming and the house is a mess. Those are all pretty big rocks and will need to take priority until the crisis is over. They are non-scheduled points of crisis. We do not usually have the leisure of planning and scheduling those terrifying interruptions.
Category Two - Important But Not Urgent
Next could be things that are Important but not urgent. How about relationship building, intentional things like attending a sports event or participating in one. Anything recreational which we could turn into re-creation-al. While working out on the treadmill at the gym maybe you are building a relationship with someone on the treadmill next to you who could help you in writing your story. If so, that would be hitting all the points by building a relationship, working out and re-creating your body that has gotten flabby from sitting in front of the computer all day.

Category Three - Urgent But Not Important
Category three would be Urgent but Not Important. Interruptions are one of those urgent things that are not necessarily important. They can come in the form of the doorbell or phone ringing, text messages dinging, or a bird flying into your window. These are all things that demand attention at some point, but they are not so urgent that you need to drop everything you are doing and attend to them at once. No one is going to die or get hurt, but your thought process can be rudely interrupted and getting back on track is not an easy aspect of writing.

Category Four - Least Urgent Time Wasters
Then there is category four, which is the least urgent of them all, and that is trivia. Some phone calls – friendly chats without a purpose other than saying hello – anything that takes your time like popping on social media just for a minute and you are still at it an hour later. That is a huge time waster when you are writing and is a subject that should be scheduled to be done at a specific time and stuck with that schedule. 

Prioritize your time and remember, "We make publishing easy and we are here to help."

About the Authors: Daniel J. Mawhinney & Darlene Shortridge

Dan & Darlene have a passion and a heart for helping independent authors to successfully publish and market their stories worth telling and messages worth sharing.
40 Day Media LLC, PO Box 950794, Oklahoma City, OK 73195
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