Many of us are too overwhelmed and overworked to get to our writing. Here are three time management tips to help you get more done:
Clear the clutter. Newspapers and mail pile up on the kitchen counter. Your desk is a mess of papers. Books are on the floor next to your side of the bed. You've got to get this under control. Make it a rule never to touch the same piece of paper twice. If it's an actionable item, act on it immediately and then trash or file the paper. If it's not an actionable item but it's information you need, scan it into your computer and use key terms in the name to make scan easy to locate when you need it. Throw out the unnecessary paper. Buy a bookshelf and organize your books or, if you will never re-read them, donate them to a school or library.
Do not multitask. Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as multitasking. The human brain can process a lot of information quickly, but the body is slower to respond. So, even when we think we're doing two things at once equally well, we are not. We can complete tasks more quickly, efficiently, and better when we concentrate on a single task and finish it before moving on to the next one.
Turn off the telephone. When you're working on a project at work, press the "Do Not Disturb" button on the phone. At home, turn off the cell phone and unplug the house phone, if you have one. Let callers leave messages. You can respond to their messages after you have completed the task at hand and then you will be able to give them your undivided attention.
Use these time management tips to get control of your environment and your time so you can get more writing done. Remember, writers write. If you're not writing, you're not developing in your craft and you can't publish what you don't write.
Spend 15 minutes writing about a time you were working on your manuscript and were continually interrupted. What did that feel like? How did you handle it? What would you have done differently if you knew other ways to manage your time?