Eating the frog – Using time wisely Part 4 #timemanagement #time #efficiency #writing

Frog

You wake up in the morning and you know that you have to do something that day that you REALLY don’t want to do. It might be ringing a difficult client, it might be tackling a contentious issue, it might be addressing some ferocious editorial feedback, it could be any number of things.

You know you need to do it – if you don’t, you won’t be able to make progress on something that is important to you, BUT (and it’s a big but) you REALLY don’t want to. You would rather do ANYTHING else. And so you do everything you can to avoid it.

The result – you end up having a very unproductive day. You can’t focus properly on what you’re doing, you keep feeling guilty about that task you are not doing, you keep worrying about the fact that you have to do it. You just can’t get on with productive work.

The solution – Imagine that you have been told to eat a frog. It is not negotiable – you know you have to do it. So the best way to deal with it – just do it straight away. First thing. That way you know that nothing worse is likely to happen that day and you can enjoy the rest of the day more (instead of spending it in dread and procrastination).

Have you eaten your frog today?

To delegate or not to delegate – Using time wisely Part 3 #time management #time #delegation #efficiency #writers #writing

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Delegation – something many of us shy away from. We like to be independent, do things for ourselves. Or we are too shy to ask for help. Or we don’t want to bother others. Or we don’t want to spend money on something we can do ourselves. Or we think we can somehow find the time to do everything ourselves. Or we don’t trust anyone else to do things – even things that aren’t that important. Or we’ve always done it on our own, so we need to keep doing that, Or…. Seriously?

It is so important to find good ways to get things done, and it is not always ourselves who are the best or only people who can do things. If there is someone in your team or your family who can add value to a task and get some/most/all of it done, then why not share the load?

Yet it is not always easy to let go. You have to have people you can trust, with the right skills, etc., etc. There are lots of reasons (excuses) why many of us are slow to delegate. Here are some reasons why you should give it serious consideration:

1 Your time is precious. Maybe it’s worth more than money – maybe there are some things that you do that you could delegate to someone else, so that you can spend more time on what you are best at.

For example – house maintenance, cleaning, painting… sure they are all things you could do yourself, but are there any other options? Can you afford to buy yourself some time by hiring someone in to do it?

2 Other people may thrive if they are given opportunities to help you with your work

For example – specialised work tasks. Perhaps you are the best person for the job, but sometimes there are others who would be happy to have an opportunity to try. They may make some mistakes, but if they are good people and you trust them, then they will learn. And that can help to take the load off you (plus add an additional perspective).

3 Your work will be improved with additional perspectives

For example – editing your book. Of course you need to do a certain amount of this yourself, but getting in others to help, including a professional editor and beta readers, will IMPROVE your book beyond whatever you might be able to do on your own.

So get to it! Spread your tasks around – delegate. Find some helpers and share the load! And let’s hope that it leads you to getting more done and achieving better results for the stuff that’s important to you 🙂

The ‘Two Minute Rule’ – Using time wisely Part 2 #timemanagement #time #efficiency #writing

2minrule

The two minute rule has transformed my working and writing life…

The question to ask yourself is: of all the jobs I have to do, which can I do quickly? (ie, in 2 minutes)

If you can do something in two minutes – then do it! No point having trivial tasks hanging over you, and it will feel good to get them out of the way… In fact, it will give you a sense of achievement and motivation that is likely to make it easier to get on with the harder stuff.

Then when it comes to the harder stuff, there are various techniques for dealing with that. Firstly, make priorities. What do you most need to get done? What is the most important task? What is less important and can perhaps be discarded (or delegated)… You can only do so much, so focus on the things that simply must be done.

And try to avoid procrastination (I have another post on that)

https://emilyardenauthor.wordpress.com/2015/07/05/temptation-bundling-a-transformational-idea-procrastination-efficiency-writing-living-improving-jamesclear/

Good luck!

How do you eat an elephant? – Using time wisely Part 1 #timemanagement #time #writing #tips

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OK – this is an oldie but a goodie. You are given a job to do (or you have imposed it on yourself).

It is BIG –

it is HUGE –

it is so mammoth that you fear it will CRUSH you.

It might be writing a novel, it might be moving house, it might be finishing a big report for a major project…

So how to tackle this enormous task? Well, actually there is only one way. If you are told that you have to eat an elephant, there really is only one way. And that is – one bite at a time.

So take your novel and reward yourself for every paragraph that you write. Because the book will only be finished one page or paragraph or sentence or word at a time. And you can do it if you just keep munching one word at a time. Good luck!

Are you good at managing your time? #timemanagement #time #writing #tips #efficiency

time-management

OK, I admit it – I am no longer in my 20s. Yet this article is super relevant to me – indeed, I think it would be fair to say that it’s relevant to everyone. Especially those of us trying to cram as much as possible into every day so we can get on with our writing…

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/time-management-lessons-to-learn-in-your-20s-2015-7

What are your favourite tips from this article? There are lots that resonate with me… I will think some more on these and share some more ideas in future posts.

Avoiding distractions when writing

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

And speaking of romantic distractions, do you have problems with distractions when writing? It is very hard in the busy modern world to avoid them. I have some personal tricks which help me… (but you may have to be strict with yourself!)

  1. Find something stimulating to distract the children (I know screen-time is always enticing, but you might feel less guilty if its something more productive. My kids love lego, puzzles and board games too. Or perhaps quality time with some of their family and friends.
  2. Give yourself permission to have time off ‘busy-jobs’, Preferably, find a quiet room where there are no demanding creatures or gadgets (that includes cats, dogs, mobile phones, clocks, washing machines, irons, etc…)
  3. If you are writing into your computer, shut down your email, social media, everything that is not related to your writing. And even if you have author pages etc, shut them too. Set aside a separate time for promotion and social media – now is writing time!
  4. NO computer games. Not even as light relief. You know they will take over your attention. Just don’t even go there. Spend your ‘down time’ doing some research/background instead. Think about your characters, look for pictures on the internet that help to illustrate the people and places you are writing about. If you are feeling stuck in your story, think about another part of the book. Or write some notes and develop the plot on a separate document. Sometimes I do a timeline if I’m trying to keep track of who does what when, especially when I have books that are interrelated/part of a series. That sort of job is good when you are not feeling very inspired.
  5. If you are really stuck on the book you wanted to work on, start another book. Think about other ideas. I usually have at least 5 books I am working on at any one time. Some are set in the French revolution, another in contemporary Greece, another in Australia. Go where your mood takes you!
  6. Once you do have some ideas that you want to write down, nurture the flow and do all you can to avoid stalling. I have a special trick that has always worked well for me that I will share with you soon…

I hope some of these ideas for avoiding distractions resonate with you. Not everything will be relevant perhaps… I would love to know what works for you!