Posted in Owl Crate, Time Management For Writers, Writing

Top 10 Tips & Tricks to Stop Procrastinating

Do you struggle with procrastination? Are you spending time putting of something instead of doing it? Do you wake up with dreading a task? If so, you are in good company. Mine. As a recovering perfectionist, I still struggle with procrastination.
Top Tricks & Tipsto Stop Procrasting
It is even worse when that task is writing related, and you have a deadline looming. In some cases, it leads to a severe case of writer’s block. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That is why I am excited to share a few tried and true tips and tricks to stop you put an end to procrastination.
These are things I have personally used to beat procrastination and many of them are based on science and phycology.
Top Tricks & Tipsto Stop Procrasting #1

1. Know WHY you are Procrastinating.

The more you know about why you are procrastinating, the easier it will be to overcome it. If you find yourself procrastinating take some time to think about the reason why. These are common reasons writers procrastinate:
  • No structure, system, or plan in place to manage the task
  • Perfectionism
  • The task is unenjoyable
  • Fear of failure.
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Lack of skills, knowledge or ability
  • Technology issues

2. Solve the Problem

Once you pinpoint why you are putting the task off, you can take action and solve the problem. Brainstorm possible solutions and then tackle the project. If self-confidence is the issue you could add positive affirmations to your day and make a list of things you are good at. If you lack the skills needed you could outsource the task, learn via Youtube video, or find information online.
Top Tricks & Tipsto Stop Procrasting #2

3. Get Accountable

Confiding in someone can be excellent motivation to get it done. Ask them to follow up with you before your deadline or check in with you daily. It is a lot harder to procrastinate when you know someone will be checking up on you. A great accountability partner will hold you accountable, cheer you on, and rejoice with you when you get things done.

4. Set Yourself Up For Sucess With Rewards

What are you doing instead of the dreaded task?  If I had to guess I would wager you are doing things you enjoy more than the task. If so, you are rewarding yourself for procrastinating by doing things you enjoy. A simple solution is to turn this around. Reward yourself for finishing the task instead of for delaying it. Are you watching Netflix instead of writing that scene? Write the scene and reward yourself with one whole guilt free episode. Yes, you are still waiting for Netflix, but you got the task done. Now you can ENJOY watching without the guilt.
Top Tricks & Tipsto Stop Procrasting #5

5. Race the Timer

Make a game out of the unpleasant task. Wash those dishes, file those papers, or write that scene as fast as you can. You can even give yourself a small reward for finishing.

6. Do 90%

You can permit yourself only to do 90 % of the task. Just getting started is often half the battle. I don’t know how many times I put something off only to get started and discover it wasn’t as big a deal I as thought. Once you get to the 90% point you will often push through and finish the task.

7. Done is better than Perfect.

Allow yourself the freedom to write imperfectly. This is crucial for writers with perfectionist tendencies. Especially while writing your first draft. Writing is a process, and the first draft isn’t the place for perfection. Accepting that will allow you to get it written. The revision and editing phase is the place to perfect.
Top Tricks & Tipsto Stop Procrasting #3

8. Eat the Frog First

If you haven’t heard of this book and strategy. Check it out here. Eat That Frog By Brian Tracy  The idea is that doing the worst task (eating the frog) first will make the rest of the day or project more manageable. His little book is packed full of more ways to beat procrastination.

9. Find Personal Value

If you are struggling with something, the reason may be that you don’t find value in doing it. Spend a few moments to uncover a personal meaning in the task. Phycology shows that once you assign personal value to something it is easier to do.

10. Break it Down

Is your task too big? A massive project can be overwhelming, and that feeds the procrastination monster. Break the project down into smaller tasks. This is one of the main reasons I prefer to write by scene instead of by chapter.
I hope this tips will help you the next time you find yourself in a procrastination situation. I would love to know how you deal with procrastination.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I get an itty bitty commission but it doesn’t increase the price you pay. I only link products that I personally find value in and think you might as well. 
XOXO (1)
Posted in Time Management For Writers, Uncategorized, Writing

5 ReasonsWhy Writers Need A Writing Plan

Is planning an essential part of writing? Is it important to have writing plan?

The short answer to both is YES. This post isn’t a debate over being a planner or pantser. It isn’t about having a book outline. Well, not exactly. I am talking about having a plan for your writing allows you to manage the time that you have to write.

 

do you
If you want to know why… keep reading. I have answers. 

 

In my early dreams of being a writer, I imagined pounding out a novel on my typewriter. Somehow, that novel would flow out of me in perfect order. The plot, characters, and setting would entwine magically. It took years of novel writing for me to figure out that book doesn’t work that way for most writers or me.

Every step of writing requires time and planning. Sure, there are times that creativity will strike and things will flow like magic. If you wait for inspiration every time, you write it will take you a long time to finish something, if ever.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT FOR WRITERS
Watch the Writing Plan Video Here

 

What is a writing plan? I am so glad you asked. No question is ever to basic.

At its core, a writing plan is a vision with goals, deadlines, and action steps to achieve the goal. It can be as basic or complex as you need it to be. Here are some examples of what a basic writing plan might look like in the first stages of planning:

Example A: A dog groomer wants to supplement her income by writing a Dog Grooming book. Vision: Write and Sell books. Goal: Write, and self-publish two books about dog grooming this year. Deadline: Book one written and published in 6 months. Book two written and published in 1 year. Action Steps: Research, write, publish, & market each book. The action steps break down into monthly, weekly, and daily steps needed to finish the goal.

Example B: Fiction writer of historical romance has written the first draft of the first book in a series. Vision: Wants to improve the book and seek traditional publication. Action Steps: Find critique partners by X date. Begin self-editing and revision process and complete the book by X date. Research markets, agents and begin the query process.

 

Time Management (3)
A one size fits all plan is not the best bet.

 

Your writing plan will be unique to you, your market, and your vision. The foundation of your plan is your goals and vision. The action steps are the bricks that transform your goals into being. Don’t let the idea of planning or the things you must do to achieve your goal get in your way. Make a plan and move forward.

Your goals, vision, and plan should grow and change with you. A writing plan is never set in stone but flexible at its core. One way to keep it that way is to always plan for more time for each task than you think is needed. This is your safety net when unexpected challenges arise.

Here are five reasons that every writer needs to have a writing plan.

#1 Writing Requires Time

Do you want to publish a book? Do you want a successful blog? Do you want to share your writing with the world? If so, the first step to make writing a priority your life. How? By making time to write. Taking the time to plan recognizes how valuable time is.

You give value to your writing by making time for it in your life. Planning starts with figuring out how much time you have to devote to writing. Next, you need to decide how to use that time to get the most done.

 

Time Management
Do you want to get more done with less effort? Cheak out the entire time management for writers series on my youtube channel. 

 

#2 Planning Helps YOU Work Smarter Not Harder

Do you want to get more done in less time? Do more with less effort? Planning is the key to that. I spent hours writing a fantastic chapter only to discover that I had to cut it because it did not fit my book. It was painful. It wasn’t the best use of my time. If had taken time to plan I would have noticed it before I wrote it. Allow yourself to work smarter by working out as many of the details as you can before you start to write.

#3 Planning Allows You To Do Less

Planning doesn’t mean filling your calendar full of tasks. It isn’t just checking things off your to-do list. Effective planning shows you what NOT to do. You can remove or postpone tasks that do not line up with your goals and priorities.

If your primary goal is to have a profitable cruise blog you shouldn’t spend 6 hours researching fashion trends. Unless those are fashion trends are cruise related.

 

Time Management (4)
The better you plan, the better your writing habits become

 

#4 Planning Builds Good Writing Habits

There are tons of ways that planning helps build good writing habits. I will highlight a few. Planning your writing week and sticking to it builds writing stamina. You are spending more time writing and in turn improving your writing skills. Planning your nonwriting life effectively will open doors to extra time to write.

As you work your plan, you will discover that you can’t always stick to the plan. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with your plan is essential.

#5 Planning Provides A Map

If the thought of planning stifles your idea of creativity, it helps to think of planning as a map. Would you leave for vacation without a map, plan, or a GPS? I hope not! Take the same approach to your writing. Have a writing plan for when, what, and where you are going to write before you get started is ideal. You will get to your destination quicker and with less energy.
The time you spend preparing will make your writing journey less bumpy and more enjoyable.

There you have it. Five reasons to make a plan today. As you work your plan you will discover that you can’t always stick to it. That is okay. Learning when and how to be flexible with is essential.

Did you miss part of my time management series? You can find the entire series on youtube. Go, check it out and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss a beat

Add heading (51)

Watch more videos in the Time management for writers series.

As always, thanks for watching, reading, following, subscribing and supporting me as a writer as I strive to help you grow in your writing journey.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

Get my designs on cool products!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Productitivity, Time Management For Writers, Writing

Why Multitasking Is A Bad Idea: Plus Tips

If you are like me you have spent most of your life thinking that multitasking was a good thing. I admit I have boasted about my ability to multitask on several occasions. So imagine my shock when my time management research informed me I was wrong. I had to double check my facts because no one likes to be wrong.

 

Add heading (52).png
See me multitasking here? What my video about multitasking here 

 

So, should you stop multitasking? I was reluctant to give up my multitasking but the following reasons convinced me. Number 4 was the dealbreaker.

  1. You are not really multitasking

What you are actually doing is task switching. Shifting your focus from one task to another.  The big issue is that you are never fully focused on doing one thing so both tasks suffer. Some tasks like eating while walking are less taxing on the mind than others, like texting while driving. Research results show that the brain splits in half. This causes us to forget details and make three times more mistakes when given two simultaneous tasks.

Tip to StopMultitasking (1)

2. Multitasking doesn’t help you get more done in less time.

Researchers at Stanford determined that doing more than one task at a time is less productive than focusing on one task at a time.

3. Multitasking decreases your productivity and your performance.

Our brains are not wired to focus on more than one task at a time. Working on a single task means both sides of the prefrontal cortex are working together in harmony. Adding another task forces the left and right sides of the brain to work independently.  Brain science also reveals that the brain can’t effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once.  Each time you more than one task, the brain automatically discards one task.

Tip to StopMultitasking (3)

4. Multitasking lowers your IQ

Studies in London have shown that multitaskers had a reduction in their IQ scores while multitasking. Some of the multitasking men in the study had their IQ drop 15 points. That left them with the average IQ of an 8-year-old child.

5. You are probably not as good as it as you think.

More studies confirm that most people think they are effective multitaskers, The reality is that less than 2% of people actually have the ability to multitask successfully. The next time you catch yourself multitasking assess your focus on both tasks. Are you really giving equal attention to both or is one on the back burner? Then check the quality of your outcome for both tasks. Did you retain information from both tasks? Where both error free? If you had focused on one task would it be done at a higher quality and in less time?

Tip to StopMultitasking

So what does this mean for you as a writer? It is time to consider the negative impacts multitasking may have on your writing and implement some positive changes. Here are a few guidelines to get you started on your road to multitasking recovery.

Tips ToStopMultitasking

  1. Focus on one task at a time. Give it your full attention start to finish.
  2. Minimize distractions that will tempt you to multi-task. If you know that you will be tempted to multitask on your phone while writing it is smart to turn it off.
  3. Decide that if something is worth doing it is worth doing with all of your attention. If the task isn’t worth your full time and attention is it really worth doing?
  4. Have a plan for dealing with tasks that come up while you are writing.  One solution is to jot down a quick note on your phone to deal with the task after you finish the one at hand.
  5. Don’t make the mistake of attempting to write and research at the same time. Block off a specific time to research and a specific time to write. Mixing the two is a recipe for using your time ineffectively. It also impacts your creativity because you are switching from right to left brain tasks.
  6. Be mindful. Try a mindfulness app, journal or book to help you get in the habit of being fully present in the moment
  7. Put away your phone. If you are like me, your phone is a huge source of multitasking tendencies.

Here are some links to studies, research, and articles that I gleaned information from to support this blog post.

 

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/04/multitasking-splits-brain

 

Posted in Avoid Writer Burnout, Productitivity, Time Management For Writers, Writing

How To Avoid Writer Burnout: 30 Tips & Tricks

According to PsychologyToday burnout is a chronic state of stress that can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.

Avoid 
Writer Burnout

I don’t know about you, but I have experienced burnout in the past and it is not something I care to repeat. The good news is that burnout doesn’t happen overnight and there are many warning signs and symptoms that will let you know if you are in danger of burnout. Check out THIS helpful article about the warning signs.

Effectively managing your time is a great way to avoid burnout. I am going to share my personal methods for avoiding writer burn out because I don’t want any writer to reach that state of chronic stress.  As a writer who suffers from anxiety and depression I have had to learn to manage my stress levels and a bit part of that is time management which includes self-care.

Avoid 
Writer Burnout (1)

  1. KNOW YOURSELF AND YOUR NEEDS

This may seem basic but knowing who you are as a person and a writer is a key to understanding what you need to do to avoid burnout.  I am an introvert. This means that while I love people, being around them drains me of energy. When I am drained of energy I become irritable, snappy. and unproductive.

I require time alone to recharge after being around people. Knowing this about myself allows me to make choices that won’t stress me out. If I have a writers group meeting, a conference to attend, or even a night out that includes socializing I know that I need to schedule in some quiet time to recharge the next day.

Here are a few tips to help you get to know yourself:

  • Journaling
  • Prayer or meditation
  • Take a personality test
  • Reflecting on what made you happy as a child
  • Make a list of things that you love
  • Make a list of things that stress you out
  • Avoid 
Writer Burnout (5)

 

2. SAY NO. NO EXPLANATION NEEDED

One sure fire way to burnout is to say yes to every opportunity, person, and every idea that comes your way.  I know this because I tend to be a people pleaser who is naturally inclined to (falsely) believe that I am the only one capable of doing stuff.  Learning to say NO changed my life. I still struggle with it at times.  Know that NO is okay and you don’t owe everyone an explanation. Say yes to only the BEST things. Saying yes to the best things is something that I learned from this impactful Christian book. I have provided a link below if you are interested in learning more about it.

best yes

Check out The Best Yes

Tips & Tricks For Embracing Your Right To Say No

  • Accept that you can’t do everything
  • Choose to say yes to the BEST things
  • Don’t feel you must explain your no’s
  • Know what your priorities are and make your choices based on them.
  • Practice saying no

Avoid 
Writer Burnout (2)

3. SET YOUR BUSINESS (WRITING) HOURS & SCHEDULE BREAKS

Make time for yourself during your writing. Writing is a creative process. It is important to remember that as you write you are draining your creative well. Take time refill it during the day.  Schedule short breaks in your writing time. Use the breaks to recharge or relax. I keep a list of small simple things I enjoy doing and sprinkle them in throughout my writing work day.

I might spend 5 minutes creating a drawing, organizing a drawer, reading a chapter of a book or watching a short video. Sometimes I spend my five-minute break exercising, sitting on the patio with a glass of tea, or getting ideas on Pinterest. Find what works for you.

Tips for Guarding your time

  • Set business hours for your writing
  • Schedule daily, weekly, and monthly breaks
  • Create a list of small enjoyable things to do on your mini breaks
  • Set a time to check social media and answer emails and stick to it
  • Schedule writing time separate from research, marketing, and editing times.

Avoid 
Writer Burnout (3)

4.  TAKE TIME OFF AND CELEBRATE

Writing is hard work and it requires a lot of time, effort, and discipline. To avoid burnout you need to realize that as a truth and plan for time off. My first year of treating my writing as a career was a success in many ways but by the end of it I was bordering on burnout. I was always working. In the morning as I took the kids to school I was thinking about what I would write. Then I was writing, filming videos, and building my author platform during the day. At night I would write blog posts, read writing reference books, write and think about writing. The weekends were more of the same.

Now, you would think that meant I got a lot done. But too much work led to working ineffectively. So, this year I have made it my goal to write smarter not harder. This includes not working on the days my kids have off school and planning for days off. I am getting more done and working less. I am also celebrating my accomplishments. Don’t cheat yourself out of your accomplishments by jumping right into the next project. Treat yourself and celebrate the large and small victories.

How To Celebrate:

  • Plan a yearly vacation. It doesn’t have to be a huge trip, just a break from work.
  • Be mindful and fully present in the current moment
  • Have a plan for celebrating victories, big or small.
  • Make a list of rewards or things that you will do to celebrate
  • Enjoy your successes. Don’t just jump to the next task.
  • Keep a journal of your accomplishments and celebrations

Avoid 
Writer Burnout (4).png

5. ACCEPT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE AND EVERYWHERE

This tip is specifically geared toward your social media presence. Most writers are aware that having an author platform and being present on social media is a bit part of book marketing. But, trying to be on every form of social media and trying to reach ALL THE PEOPLE is only going to lead to burnout.

Instead of trying to do it all, pick one or two areas of social media and focus on making real connections in them. Find out where your target readers are and focus your time there. Don’t just post everything everywhere and hope for the best. Be strategic. Use tools like HootSuite to manage your social media. Give yourself permission to take a social media break.

Tips & Tricks for Managing Social Media & Author Platform

  • Have a social media strategy
  • Use tools to automate your posts and emails when possible
  • Find out where your target reader is and focus on building connections on that platform
  • Focus on people, not numbers and not yourself.
  • Make real connections and provide value to your target readers.

I hope that you have found these 30 tips and tricks helpful. As always I am here to connect with you if you have any questions or comments feel free to email me or reach out on social media.

You Matter. Words Matter. And your words matter.

XOXO (1)

 

 

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase from the link I receive an itty bitty commission at no cost to you. I only promote products I find value in and feel you might find valuable as well.

 

Posted in Goals & Goal Setting, Productitivity, Time Management For Writers, Writing

7 Time Management Mistakes Writers Make

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.

Watch the video here

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.

 

Save the date
Are you making one of these common time management mistakes?

 

 

#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.

 

Save the date (1)
Are you making the right tasks a prioroity? 

 

 

#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.

 

Save the date (2)
Do you use your to-do list correctly?

 

 

#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.

 

Save the date (4)
I once though multitasking was a GOOD thing. Boy, was I wrong. 

 

#4 Multitasking

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.

 

Save the date (5)
Do you write when creativity strikes or do you set aside time to write no matter what?

 

#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.

 

Save the date (6)
Is it a mistake to mix editing, writing, and researching during the same time frame?

 

#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.

 

Save the date (7)
I will stop procrastinating…tomorrow

 

#7 Procrastinating

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.

 

XOXO (1)
Y

 

 

Posted in Bookish Goodies, Books, Inspirational Mugs, Phone Cases, and More, Self Publishing, Society6, Time Management For Writers, Writing

Big Things Are Coming In Febuary

January was a productive month. That is big news for me and for you. It means that big exciting things are coming in February. I am not going to spill all the details today but here are the headlines.

FEBUARY BLOG & VLOG SERIES1 (1).png

Do you struggle with finding the time to write? Do you have difficulty writing when it is time to write? I feel your pain because I have been there and done that. The good news is that I have a solution to share with you. Time management is the answer and also the focus of my blog and videos in the month of February.

FEBUARY BLOG & VLOG SERIES1 (2)

The other BIG news is that I finished my writing prompts book! It is one step closer to being in your hands. In February I will be launching and publishing it. I have already started the process of adding beta readers and reviewers to my Book Review team.

Want a free copy of my book? It is not too late to sign up for my book review team. You will receive an advanced reader copy of my book in exchange for your honest review and feedback. What are you waiting for? CLICK HERE

I will have 2 new designs up in my society 6 store next month. If you loved the January design below you will adore what I have coming for you next month. As always, just search for author April in the society6 store, select the design, and then the product you would like the design on. Easy Peasy.

 

I didn't choose (2).png
New Book Lover Design Available in My Society 6 Store. 

Excited to see what February brings! Have a blessed and bookish day my friend. XOXO (1)