This is an ongoing series about managing writing-related projects. In this edition I want to get deeper into analyzing time. The original post is here and part 2 is here.
Here’s what I wrote from the previous post on this subject regarding
Analyze your projects and tasks: This seems straightforward but take time to really think this through. Perhaps you have a novel with a deadline, a short story or two that should be completed soon, blogs to post, social media to manage and any number of other writing-related jobs to address in a week. Assign priority to the items on your list at a monthly, weekly and daily level. Assign goals to your projects and be specific about what you expect – without specificity you only have good intentions. How many hours will your project take to complete? On what are you basing your criteria for priorities? Time? Immediate income? Long-term income? How much time do you need to spend on writing-related tasks? Once you understand this proceed to the next tip.
As I wrote in the previous post about analyzing time, you next need to be able to schedule your time. But to schedule you need to understand what to schedule and when. As mentioned above, you need to consider priorities and goals. Let’s examine these in some detail in order to fit the pieces together.
I also previously noted that we writers are a busy lot these days, often changing hats several times during a day – and not only in regard to writing. Gaining a firm notion of what needs to be done next along with the details is important. However, due to time constraints, we tend to rush from activity to activity without any clear vision of where we’re headed. It’s time to take a deep breath, step back some and take it all in – not to stress out but to observe, organize and take action. This doesn’t mean throwing your muse to the curb but merely gaining clarity so you can tap into that muse. The clutter often prevents creative traction.
Let’s take a moment and clarify goals and priorities. Goals are what you strive to accomplish. These may be long-term or short-term in nature as well as ongoing, such as social media. You may have a long-term goal of building your writer platform and publishing a novel but have short-term goals for funding your writing. I would see the writer platform as an ongoing goal where you need to blog, update social media and grow your online tribe each day while aiming for longer-term goals for an upgraded website using various means. A novel or series of them would be a long-term goal. Funding your writing in some way would be a shorter-term goal that needs attention to a series of projects you hope will pay-off enough to fund some longer-term goals. This is where priorities come into play. You must decide what is most important to your time in such a way as to balance long-term and short-term goals. You may need to complete some short projects to clear a path for novel-writing. Regardless of what your goals are if you don’t set priorities for scheduling you are apt to become entangled with lots of good intentions and little accomplished through inefficiency.
- List all your goals and regular writing duties. You may forget a few but you can add them later.
- Decide what’s most important based on your criteria – what’s long-term and what’s short-term.
- Now compare these prioritized goals with your available time.
- Attach the time-value, that is how long it takes to complete an activity, to each goal.
Now you begin to see the whole picture of all that you are trying to accomplish. Your set of goals are much more than a murky set of notions. You begin to see what it will take to reach your goals. This leads us to the next blog about perspective in project management.
Do you have a set of goals that are clearly defined? Do you have your goals organized by priority? I’d love to hear from you so won’t you leave a question, idea or strategy in the comment 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!
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