Are you making the most of your time? Many writers find themselves juggling writing, another job or career, a family and other obligations. This can make it very challenging to find time to write consistently. Properly managing your time will make you a better writer because you will have more time to write and improve your skills.
Today I am going to be sharing 7 time management mistakes that I see writers make on a regular basis. Many of them are mistakes that I have made in the past. I love to save other people from making my mistakes by sharing what I learned.
#1. Failure to Plan
The biggest mistake a writer can make is not to have a written plan that includes written goals. This includes your writing plan as well a plan for your life in general. Planning is essential to finishing a book, being a consistent blogger or successful freelancer. Sure, you can finish a book by winging it but it will probably take a lot more time and effort.
#2. Failure to prioritize
If you want to be a writer it is important to make it a priority. To do that successfully you need to make time to write. Prioritize your writing (and life) tasks by focusing on tasks that directly relate to making progress. Aspiring writers often claim they don’t have time to write but the bottom line is that we make time for the things that matter to us. Determine your priorities and prioritize your tasks.
#3 Failure to use a to-do list correctly
Having a to-do list is am an important part of planning. Not only do some writers skip the list altogether, those who do use a to list aren’t using it correctly. Filling up a list with tasks to check off is a waste of time if those tasks are not directly related to making progress on your writing goals. I recommend keeping your daily to list limited to 6 priority tasks. My goal is always to complete 3 of those 6 tasks. Then if time allows I will work on the next 3 or work from a list of lesser important tasks.
I feel like superwoman when I multitask. The problem is that multitasking isn’t an effective way to manage our time or check of the important things from our to-do list. Focusing on one task at a time is a better use of time. I will have an entire blog post and video dedicated to multitasking later in February. So, make sure you are following my blog and subscribed to my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss out.
#5 Working Non-Stop AKA Not Setting Business Hours For Writing
The flip side of procrastinating is working non-stop. I made this mistake when I switched my writing from hobby mode to career mode. Working constantly, without taking breaks and giving yourself permission to rest guarantees you will reach a point of burn out. Self-care, rewards, and scheduling your personal and family priorities before work will help achieve the balance needed.
#6 Mixing Research with Writing Time
Stopping in the middle of a writing about a car accident to research how a car accident looks, feels and sounds seems like a great idea at the time. I mean, you need to know what you are writing about, right? The problem is that when we stop writing, outlining or editing to research we risk losing the flow of our writing. We risk falling into to the rabbit hole that is the internet. Research is important but doing it at the right time is just as important when it comes to managing our time.
Putting off a must do task always has an impact on our time. Our writing can come to a complete standstill when we procrastinate. I will have an entire blog post and video dedicated to why we procrastinate as well as tips to stop procrastinating.
The good news is that over the next four weeks I will be tackling all of these time management issues in a series of blog posts and videos. I did a lot of research regarding time management last year when I discovered I wasn’t using my time as wisely as I could. Then I implemented time management strategies and techniques in my own life. After experimenting and tweaking my process, I will say I that time management has allowed me to write more, write better, and still have a balanced life that includes my art hobby, my reading habit, spending time with family and friends, and managing my home.