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.