Tips

Project Management for Writers Pt. 8: Schedule & Productivity

TypingIt’s been a while since I wrote about project management. I recently had some thoughts about the subject and wanted to share some tips for better project management and productivity.

1. If you often find that you’re unable to focus this could mean that you’ve got a lot on your plate and just can’t get it organized in your mind well enough to be productive. You know how you open tabs on your web browser and then open more? Sometimes you may even have some open for a long time. Your browsing and your computer might slow down as a result. The same thing happens with your mind – too many mental tabs are open – work to get them closed by organizing your day.

2.Daily goals and schedule – use a schedule to know how and when something will be dealt with – otherwise you can flounder under the uncertainty. What needs to be done gets mentally assigned time, place, function, etc so that you can eliminate uncertainty. Now you may notice your mind some spinning and getting nowhere – you’ve just planned how to go about your work.

3. Follow the schedule as much as possible. There will be need for changes so be willing to be flexible. But follow the schedule as best you can and start closing those mental tabs. Clear these and productivity improves. You’ll find that you’re getting more accomplished by addressing all the items on your mental list. The importance part is that you get them out of your mind and scheduled so you can work on them.

4. How this works on a long-term schedule – this type of schedule doesn’t change as much nor does it require quite as much management. I might set goals/deadlines for some writing projects but this can – and does – get adjusted due to intervening events. However, my managing your daily schedule and goals well you may find that your bigger plans are more on target and you start closing those bigger tabs with greater regularity.

Want to be more productive but find yourself distracted with a reasonable schedule? Try working in a space that’s tidy. Avoid the internet while working – there are several tools you can use to help discipline your activity. Don’t research during your writing time – do it beforehand. Make sure you get enough sleep – being too tired means it’s harder to focus and writing takes lots of mental acuity.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

Available at Amazon, Smashwords and All Major E-Book Vendors!

How do you address issues of productivity? What do you find important with scheduling your day? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Project Management Pt. 11: Making Up Time

This is an ongoing series to help authors manage their projects better. Previous posts have covered a wide range of subjects over several months. Please see below for a list of those related posts.

TimeTime is a precious commodity and it seems we wrestle with managing it daily. Just when we seem to get things into order and have a daily rhythm any number of events can interrupt what we’re doing. As I write this, I’m suffering from the flu and have taken my daughter to the doctor for the same illness. It’s really interrupted my calendar since I’ve felt so listless. I’ve tried to work through it anyway but haven’t been able to keep up with everything. I had the same trouble last month when I was sick with a cold that disrupted my energy for my daily schedule.

It can be hard to have your schedule disrupted and then try to get back to where you were. If you had a delay of several days it can be frustrating or even difficult to re-orient yourself to what you were doing previously. Here are few tips to getting back in the swing.

CalendarIf your deadlines and goals were set in a calendar, take a few minutes to update that to the day where you are and adjust your deadlines if possible (these should be somewhat fluid since the nature of things is to encounter delays). Be realistic about your deadlines and don’t try to make them all up at once if they have a definite date. However, if you are making some time up on a few of those deadlines then prioritize – decide what can be delayed and for how long.

Once you have an idea of how you need to proceed then make a schedule for the day. Don’t over-schedule thinking you’ll get it all done at once. Consult your calendar and how you’ve adjusted your goals and then schedule your time accordingly. Follow the schedule as best you can and at the end, if you have some spare time then add something else to make up but not something out of priority. Stick to your priorities and be diligent with your schedule and you’ll find you’re working like you were before you delay.

Also, during your delaying event, if you can find time to work do what you can. For instance, I haven’t felt too energetic for several days and that’s inhibited my daily progress. But while I’ve been in the doctor’s office I’ve been working on several posts and social media via a guest wifi. It’s better than sitting around wondering when they’re going to call us back and I’ve been able to catch up some in the middle of the distraction.

One last thought – when you set your calendar and daily schedule try to be flexible enough to handle any sort of problems that can delay you. You can’t plan for – or foresee everything that will happen – but some built-in accommodation may make your disruptions less stressful in the end.

Related Posts:

Office Clocks Showing Different TimesProject Management Pt. 1: Learn To Juggle

Project Management Pt. 2: Analyzing Time

Project Management Pt. 3: Balancing Projects & Tasks

Project Management Pt. 4: The Jigsaw Puzzle

Project Management Pt. 5: Putting the Pieces Together

Project Management Pt. 6: My Own Medicine

Project Management Pt. 7: My Schedule Mole

Project Management Pt. 8: Schedule & Productivity

Project Management Pt. 9: The Priority Trap

Project Management Pt. 10: Eat, Sleep, Write

The Black Bag by P H SolomonWhat disruptions do you frequently encounter as a writer? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Fantasy Authors Unplugged: Gregory S. Close

This is continuing feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule. Today’s featured author is: Gregory S. Close.

PHS: What’s the name and storyline of your latest book?

InSiegeOfDaylightCoverGSC: My debut novel is In Siege of Daylight, book one in a planned four part series, The Compendium of Light, Dark & Shadow.  It’s a classic epic fantasy in many respects.  There are multiple POV characters, some familiar archetypes, action, politics, just a dash or romantic interest, great powers meddling in mortal affairs and an ancient evil preparing to conquer the world.

The story picks up from a different point than most epics, however.  Instead of introducing our heroes and sending them on a quest to prevent the Big Bad from obtaining The McGuffin and/or throw said McGuffin in a volcano or whatever, the Big Bad already has it, is already using it, and is in fact several years into the Evil Master Plan and ready to start conquering the crap out of everybody.

Basically, it’s a similar concept to: Sauron already has the Ring of Power…  Now what?

 So, the good guys are screwed, basically, and have to make the best of it.

PHS: How did you start writing fantasy?

GSC:  There were a few factors.  My Dad sat my brother and me on his lap and read The Lord of the Rings to us, complete with smoke rings and theatrical voices.  It was even cooler than it sounds.  For my Mom’s part, she took us to Narnia.   I was lucky to have parents who read to me, and especially lucky that they read the good stuff.

Then there was that fateful day in ’77 when I saw Star Wars.  It was a life-changing moment.  At this point, it was clear to me that science fiction and fantasy were my genre of choice, and I started reading voraciously.  I could only manage to get to the theater to see Star Wars about 13 times that year, but there was little limit on the number of books I could get my hands on.

Last, but certainly not least, was the advent of Dungeons & Dragons.  My brother had started playing it with friends in Middle School and soon enough it filtered down to me.  I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons.  A lot.  I wasn’t off with Tom Hanks in the sewers, but my brother and I were absolutely obsessed with it, and the character development, world building and role-playing were instrumental in how I began to craft stories.

PHS: What are you working on next?

GSC:  I’m at work on the sequel to In Siege of Daylight, which is called The End of Dreams.  That’s the more long term project.  In the immediate future, I’m preparing a Kickstarter to crowdfund the publication of a new science fiction/fantasy novel, Greyspace.  This story is set in a future where spaceships, AI, battle armor and nano-tech co-exist in an uneasy symbiosis with demons and sorcery, the latter of which happen to be the only solution to FTL travel, among other things.

PHS: Any writing tips on what to do and what not to do?

DarkBeyondDoorCoverGSC:  Sure, that’s easy.  What to do: WRITE.  What not do do: PROCRASTINATE.  Writing takes a lot of work, and a lot of time, so take advantage of the time you have and make time when you don’t think you have it.  Stay up an hour later.  Get up an hour earlier.  Unless you are both independently wealthy and single, you’ll have to share your time with family and work and other bits of life, so don’t take your moments for granted.

PHS: What is your favorite book and why?

GSC:  I don’t really have a favorite book; I have lots of favorite books.  I’ll pick one of them that may not get as much attention as it deserves and that is The Many Colored Land by Julian May (and the entire Plicocene Exile series).  It has fantasy, aliens/faeries, psionics, time-travel, and a very diverse and engaging cast of characters.  It’s really one of the most original epics I’ve ever read.

PHS: What would you do differently in regard to writing/publishing your book?

GSC: It’s hard to look back, because there’s always something else I can edit/improve about the writing, so I try to look forward as much as I can and just learn from my mistakes (and try not to make them again).  If I could have split the story of In Siege of Daylight into two smaller books, each with its own perfectly good climax/resolution, I would do that.  It would certainly have made marketing easier and allowed for more financial opportunity.  However, doing that would change things in the story as a whole, and maybe not for the better.

Greyspace is sort of an answer to that question.  It’s intentionally much shorter, faster paced, and told from a single POV.

PHS: Is there any special inspiration behind your book?

GSC:  The title of the series, The Compendium of Light, Dark & Shadow, is a hint at the overall philosophical underpinning of the narrative.  I can’t really explain in detail without spoilers, but suffice it to say that I explore the concept of what is good versus evil, versus whatever it is in-between, and how those play against each other, especially when things do not go as planned. Although In Siege of Daylight touches on this, the second book will really begin to twist and defy expectations a bit.  I hope!

Bio: 

AuthorPhotoGregory S. Close has lived on both coasts of the United States (and that wholesome corn-fed part in-between) as well as Dundalk, Ireland and the tiny islands of the Kwajalein Atoll.

Greg loves travelling and sampling the native cultures, foods, customs, and beers of the world. Greg is married to a rocket scientist and lives in California with his two daughters, a cat, and one and a half dogs.

Thanks again to Gregory for appearing in “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” and tolerating the torturous question. As always, please take a look at this author’s books and give him some support. If you’re a fantasy author and would like to be interviewed for “Fantasy Authors Unplugged” just contact me via email or one of my social media channels and we’ll set one up.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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