Time Management

To be honest, I’m not a very good time manager. And that’s not because I’m trying to do more than one thing at once, or because I’m lazy (well… maybe I am a bit lazy), but simply because I get tied up with a single action for too long.

Some people are brilliant procrastinators, giving the sensation that they are working on something, even though they’re simply wasting time. Often, I’m one of the very best at this type of activity.

But six months ago, inspired by all the successful writers in the world, I decided to never allow myself to aimlessly wander around the Internet. But that’s easier said than done, because it’s far too easy for me to get distracted. I end up spending ten hours working on covers for books that I haven’t even started writing, I spend up to twelve hours reading Photoshop and InDesign tutorials, without caring too much that I need to edit my short stories. Or just write.

Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, forums, the real life, and, of course, reading a book or two once in a while. A movie, maybe? Or a TV show?

I’ve never been good at time management, I’ve never been good at multitasking, but I can do the same task for ten hours, if I get the feeling that it’s of critical importance. For instance, I wrote Jazz in little over three weeks, working for ten-twelve hours daily, without whining a bit, or even feeling tired. I’m just like that.

You should have figured it out by now that this post isn’t very helpful when it comes to efficient time managing. The only solution I can give you is this: try sleeping three-four hours a day, institute a regime of coffee and chocolate, and then try not to die before the end of the world 5 months from now.

We waste a lot of time doing pretty much the same things over and over again. That’s common sense. But we also lose a lot of time doing over and over again things that don’t necessarily help us. In other words, too much time checking your email inbox; you should keep that to a minimum, let’s say once or twice a day, then try to use those freakishly addictive social networks less than an hour a day. Even that may be too much. Use a scheduler for Twitter, write down your tweets in the morning, and then you’re free to just check everything that’s going on from time to time. How many friends do you have? How many intriguing things could happen in one day, in real life, that would keep you busy for hours in a row?

Forums, blogs, all that. At the end of the day, it would be funny to see how much time you actually spent doing nothing of importance. You should be writing, or dancing, or doing what you love doing. Your free time should be filled with exciting activities, the ones you dream about doing when you’re busy. Because time is the most important of resources, and, sadly, we often take it for granted.

What I see a lot of writers do is plug out their internet cable. It might seem like a radical thing to do, but it helps you focus. There’s got to be some time dedicated to writing… and some time for doing everything else. But if you let yourself be distracted by the wonders of modern technology, you’re going to waste a lot of time. And you might get angry, you might tell people you’re suffering from writer’s block.

It seems to me that it’s just a matter of doing what’s easy and what’s hard. And, let’s face it, writing is hard. No matter how long you’ve been at it, you still feel like a novice. There’s still a lot of bad writing in a first draft, there’s still a lot of bad writing in your second draft. And so, it’s far easier to check your e-mail or Facebook. Or worry about the rent. Or about taxes. Or other stuff.

There will always be something to keep your from doing what you want. You just need to find the courage and strength to sit at that desk and write.

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23 comments on “Time Management

  1. DoubleOhDave says:

    Christian, you hit part of the nail on the head with your ideas..we worry about how much time we sleep far too much, and waste too much time doing the wrong things on social media. Productivity in any meaningful way comes at the expense of comfort. But you do need a work/life balance – proper diet and exercise… If only to keep you in good enough shape to maintain a rigorous work regime..
    All the best,
    Dave

  2. DoubleOhDave says:

    Ps… “Choose from” not “chose from.” Sorry, I’m a grammar nazi.

  3. katdesigner says:

    Dear Cristian, thank you for a great post! Gosh, how pretty exactly I feel as you are when procrastinating!! I really enjoy reading your work. I would love to help, but I am exactly in the same situation counting pennies by the end of the month paying the bills. One day, when it gets better I will help, for now I am with you in mind. xxx

  4. Between the Author platform (twiiter, facebook, and blogging), the covers, the formatting, and the research, I wonder where the time comes to write. Ooops forgot about shopping, cooking, laundry, cats, home repairs… :-)

  5. I agree with you blogging itself can become very addicting, I learned first-hand what that leads to. However, I caught it early enough to where it didnt leave permanent damage. To keep my sanity and continue with my studies I think one 5 paragraph(ish) post on your week, is much better than posting everyday. Am I right? My blog is only 3 weeks old*

  6. This really resonated with me. I am an obsessive personality type and this trait seems to help with perseverance, attention span and time management but that only goes so far when it’s something I really hate to do. lol. I wish I could pick in advance what I get to become obsessed with. Hope you got my email this morning. Stephanie

  7. v says:

    i’m the same way: tied up with a single action for too long. looking to change this.

  8. Well, I think improving time management skills involves hard work, but still, I believe that I can do it if I put my mind to it! I usually write reminders for myself as a part of reinforcing proper time management habits into my mind. Well, time management is still a somewhat tough thing for me right now, but I keep on reminding myself to do my best!

    Now then, time to reduce unnecessary distractions…and focus.

    Hmm…I should write another self-reminder about time management again sometime.

  9. Erin Granat says:

    I turn off internet and cover the clocks, lose my sense of time.

  10. Sona Rulz says:

    such people shud never settle with a FAMILY of spouse and children…. rather utilise their talent and time in some thing which can be in the hall of fame… aint it

  11. ROSES says:

    This is really me you are talking about here. Have enjoying reading this piece as I always do with your work.

  12. rarrrurr says:

    Your post suits practically everybody, especially young people, it’s ok with it. Do you consider it useful and right to be informed about other writer’s activity? The problem is also in having the othet job and things to do and to know. Even Kafka cared for not writing to much (and for lack of ability sometimes, but it’s also a question – the periods of creative life). There’s to much information one should learn everyday. It’s nice when problem is just in time managing. Mind’s ‘difficulties’ and destroying of one’s life by such nuances is much worse.

  13. Nice post.. Rightly said by you, filtering social media and email makes your day effective and productive. All points jotted. Thanks for sharing the valuable article. :)

  14. Adam says:

    Procrastination has always been a friend of mine, thats for sure. Excellent post. I’m enjoying your blog very much. At my blog, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. It looks like you are not new to blogging so you my have seen or even received one before. I hope that it will interest an honor you. Thanks for your good posts. http://insearchofadam.wordpress.com/?p=262&preview=true

  15. claidig says:

    I think on the whole I’m pretty good with managing my time, it just gets tricky when it’s stuff I don’t want to do. Although in the last 2 days I have zoomed through a ton of work and now I’m feeling a bit fidgety because I’m that ahead with everything. I guess it’s time to do some writing of my own, ha! :)

  16. millynomad says:

    Procrastination led me here…so it can’t be that bad a thing I guess :)

  17. IntrovertedSarah says:

    I’ve only just now read a blog that talks about the Self Control app. I may try it. It blogs websites that you nominate for a period of time.
    I find distractions are my nemesis. I welcome all of them.

  18. Time needs to get a clue!! :)

  19. floras2 says:

    Thanks! I printed this to take to my next writing group meeting :)

  20. A.L.B.A says:

    Time management and procrastination hasn’t really been a problem for me, but I am “blessed and cursed” at the same time to be starting a business with my fiancee who is a very talented artist(cartoonist), but procrastinates a lot, and has barely any sense of time management. I suggested that he could try writing down a list of the things he needs to the following day, before going to bed. To my surprise he decided to try, and soon after that we both saw improvement in his efficiency. Hope others will find this suggestion helpful too.

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