Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Please Welcome Our Guest, Michelle Prima, Professional Organizer and Author of 101 Organizing Tips for Writers.

Michelle Prima is a Professional Organizer, specializing in author services, from file management to blog tour coordination. She is published in non-fiction, including her self-pubbed 101 Organizing Tips for Writers.

Two lucky commenters will win her booklet.

Buy Link:
Follow her blog:
Twitter: @MichellePrima13

Today, she's offering tips on how to manage our time.

Time Management for Writers by Michelle Prima

If you're like most authors, writing isn't your full-time job. You might be employed outside the home. You might have young children at home. You might have a sick family member that takes up much of your time.

Whatever the situation, not many writers have the luxury of writing ten hours a day to crank out that manuscript. So it is important to know how to manage your time so you can make the best use of the minutes and hours you have every day.

First, set goals for yourself. These should include daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. Write them down! They are more likely to come to fruition when written. Then prioritize them according to importance and deadlines. Looking at them on paper will give you a better idea of how to plan your time. For example, if you have a deadline in three months for a 400-page manuscript, divide the number of pages (400) by the number of days (90). You will need to write 4.4 pages every day to reach your goal. Always make goals realistic so you don't stress yourself out and get discouraged.

Second, keep track of all your activities in one place, whether it's an electronic calendar such as your smartphone, or an old-fashioned paper calendar. Record both personal and business tasks in this one calendar to avoid double-booking. Block out time for writing on your calendar. If you don't schedule it, you'll end up doing something else, and never get back to the writing.

Third, be proactive when it comes to meetings and appointments. Have contact information handy for the person running the meeting, and for all attendees if possible. Allow yourself plenty of time for driving to your appointments. Add on extra time when driving during heavier traffic or bad weather. Never schedule appointments back-to-back, even if they are in the same building. You never know when the first one might run late. Finally, call ahead to confirm date, time and place of the appointment. Too often, someone will think you meant one Starbuck's, when you are sitting at another. Or they write down the wrong date in their planner. It happens. So avoid wasted time by confirming with them.

Most important, learn to set boundaries for yourself. Say 'no' if you truly don't have the time or energy to help. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. And be firm that writing time is for writing only. Close the door and turn off your phone and email alerts. You'd be surprised how much time you waste just taking a peek at incoming mail.

Managing your time will give you more of it in the end. And who wouldn't like more time in a day?

What do you see as your biggest time waster? What can you do to improve on it?

Please welcome Michelle by leaving a comment. Remember, a free booklet will go to two lucky commenters.


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Michelle. I'm sure if many writers are like I am, they can use your advice!

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

All great points. I have one centralized location to track what I need to do. Can't be scattered as life is crazy enough as it it. And you have to set boundaries or life will walk all over you.

JenA said...

My biggest time suck is taking a peak at emails, Twitter or FB. I know I do it, yet I keep those screens open. Since I do work part-time out of the home, my day off, I plan to write but the house calls and something needs to be cleaned or organized. I think for myself, I need to set the writing time committment, make it known through my house and stick to it. If all else fails, tell my kids to not let me out of my writing space and if I try to escape, they can throw water balloons at me!

Unknown said...

I will be boldly honest here. My biggest weakness is a brainless drain found on a social network that starts with the letters FB.
There. It's out in the open. I'm a closet castle keeper... *hangs head in shame*
It started out innocent enough. Tax a few serfs, grow a grape, but before I knew it I was vanquishing wolves and thieves and had a throne room.
I have been weaning myself from this addiction, but it's hard. Having a self imposed deadline is helping me through this, and I will prevail. Bear with me all.

Michelle said...

I agree. Social networking sites can be highly addictive. I often wonder how some people get any work done.
However, I will admit, that even though I'm organized, I do find myself wandering sometimes. I feel less guilty if it's a good book. More guilty if it's FB.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Though I manage to cover a lot of ground, I too have problems with the social networking stuff. Yet, I know it is really important for promotion.


Diana Orgain said...

Yes, write down your goals -but be sure to read them regularly!

Cheryl said...

Excellent tips, Michelle. Where I waste time lately is social networking and blogging. There are times I simply go somewhere that I can't get online to work.

Wishing you the best,


Michelle said...

Yes, Diana, you also have to check your goals regularly. That's a topic for another post!
And Cheryl, you made a great suggestion--take away the temptation!

Rebecca said...

Great advice you give. My biggest problem is burning the candle at both ends and over committing to everything and then productivity and ideas seem to slow down or don't exist at all.

Yasmine Phoenix said...

Your booklet is a great resource. I've even got areas highlighted.

Mona Risk said...

Excellent tips that come at the right time for me.

Michelle said...

Thank you all for the helpful comments!

Mayra Calvani said...

Great tips!

Google Calendar really helps keep myself organized on a daily basis. I also have a print calendar for monthly and annual goals.

Besides these, I have a notebook that I use daily to state my 3 major goals for the year and my objectives/actions for that day. I have been implementing this system since January and it has worked wonders for me. I has really helped keep me focused and productive. Less stress!

Jennifer Stevenson said...

Thanks for all the tips, Michelle!

I'm embarrassed to say that I have two calendars--it used to be, the one in my purse was the "authorized version" and the one on my desk was kinda accurate--now it's the other way round. BAAAAD!

Facebook is my besetting sin. The email can be a sucker, but FB...o god... now it's just a reward!

Donna J. Shepherd said...

Great tips! I have trouble setting boundaries and have been actively working on that area for a while. Thanks!

Topsy Turvy Land

Michelle said...

And the winners are...
Stephen Tremp and Rebecca Camarena.
Email me your information so I can send you your booklet.
Thank you everyone for your participation.

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