Written by Kristen Beairsto
Time management, I’d venture to say, authors in general struggle with. Especially if you’re anything like me and still rocking a day job, a mom with two active kids trying to take over the world, and married to a great guy that shockingly finds my quarks cute while trying to get my writing career off the ground, time management can be the bane of your existence. But like so many other things in life, time management is a skill you can learn.
To start off, you need to know how you’re spending your time. There’s lots of ways you can to figure this out, but I’ve found that the most basic is the best way: write it down. Now, how you write it down is entirely up to you, whether it’s extremely detailed like: 8:43am to 9:17am Hootsuite and check Facebook. Or it could be a little more general: Hootsuite and Facebook approx. 30 minutes. Whatever format you choose, the most important factor is that your write down EVERYTHING you do while you’re working. (Ever try food journaling to lose weight? Same concept.) One day might give you the information you need, but to get a really clear picture, I’d recommend doing it over the course of a week. For most of us, our days are rarely spent the same way, so a week long diary of what you do is more likely to be beneficial. If you have a real erratic schedule, you may want to consider doing it for longer than a week.
By keeping track of everything you do, you’re finding out exactly how you spend your time. As you review your lists, you’ll start to see where your time wasters are. Long sessions of internet surfing, long Facebook or Twitter scrolling, or in my own case, periods of my inane Candy Crush habit. Something important to keep in mind is that some things will be obvious, like my own Crush addiction, but some may not be so obvious. Does Mom call during your working hours to chat? Did you find yourself stuck on hold with customer service for your internet provider? Did a neighbor pop over to bum a cup of sugar and you ended up chatting for twenty minutes?
While you may not want to think of your mom as a time waster, the fact is, if you’re working, you’re on company time (as an author you are running a business and need to think of it as such). When you’re on company time, taking time out to have your mom catch you up for forty minutes about the latest antics of your cousin takes away from your work time. If you’re able to take a break, have your chat with Mom, and still accomplish your writing goals for the day, then more power to you and the time out is probably just fine. BUT, if you find yourself not reaching your goals, then you may want to consider asking Mom to call during non-business hours.
Some of your time wasters are controllable (like internet surfing and Candy Crush playing). Others, not so much (think the neighbor, internet issues, maybe Mom). But recognizing what your time wasters are and figuring out how to control the ones you can control is a huge step in becoming more efficient in using your time. Does it happen overnight? No. Will you slip up now and again? Absolutely. But the bottom line is, understanding how you spend your time is a key piece of knowledge in managing your time.
Now, am I saying you have to totally eliminate time wasters? Absolutely not, after all some of these time wasters are our stress relievers. If you still want to include some of these in your day, schedule them in. They can be planned breaks (give yourself a specific time limit so you don't find yourself losing time you didn't want to waste) or use them as rewards at the end of the day for accomplishing your goals for the day.
What's your biggest time waster? Have any tricks to keep yourself from getting distracted?
Treat It Like A Business: An Author's Guide to Setting Up the Business Side of Writing now available through:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treat-it-like-a-business-kristen-beairsto/1117795749?ean=2940149085200&itm=1&usri=2940149085200
Trying to build a writing career and keep hearing to treat it like a business? Are you left wondering what that means?
Treat It Like A Business: An Author’s Guide to Setting-Up the Business Side of Writing helps authors navigate the stages of turning their writing into a business.
Going over the topics of:
· Changing your mindset – becoming an entrepreneur
· How you get stated – deciding your business structure, licenses, & business relationships
· Goals – setting long- and short-term goals
· Developing an author brand
· Creating a business plan
· Time management – figuring out time wasters, setting priorities & boundaries
· Learning how to keep track of everything
· Managing things long term
Treat It Like a Business is filled with tips and suggestions to help authors efficiently set-up the business side of publishing so they can focus on the most important thing – writing.
About Kristen Beairsto
In 2012, after spending years in a variety of administrative positions, contemporary romance author Kristen Beairsto decided to take her struggling writing career into her own hands and joined the self-publishing wave, creating her own publishing company. She published her first contemporary romance novel in May of that year and hasn't looked back sense. With a background in English and a Masters in Business Administration, she spends as much time as she can with family and friends. Much to her husband’s dismay, she enjoys collecting purses, shoes, and jewelry. During those rare times she’s not working at her day job, rushing her daughters somewhere, watching movies with her husband, and trying to meet a deadline, she can usually be found energetically cheering for one of her favorite New York sports teams.
You can connect with Kristen through her website www.KristenBeairsto.com, Facebook www.facebook.com/AuthorKristenBeairsto, or Twitter www.twitter.com/AuthorKBeairsto.