Time Management

You’re probably asking yourself this right now:

“Lumi, what does time management have to do with writing novels?”

And here is how I would answer:

“If you can’t manage your time, you won’t have the time to write.”

Because you can’t just plan the novel, leave your story notes under your pillow, and wake up with a completed manuscript. That’s not how writing works. Or how life works.

You need to put in the time and the hard work to bring that novel to completion. And how do you find the time? You make the time by getting your priorities straight. And how do you do that second part? Keep reading this lovely guide by yours truly.

Anyways, the best way to learn how to manage your time is to first identify what you need to do with your time. If you know all the tasks you need to do, you can allocate time for each individual task to make sure you complete as many as possible, if not all.

Let me illustrate this with an example.

Let’s say we need to help Sally organize her Thursday afternoon so she can have enough time to go see the school play with her friends from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. Her school finishes at 2:45pm and by the time she gets home, it’s 3pm. She also needs to eat, write a report for her history class, do her math homework, and complete a worksheet for Chemistry.

This is how I would organize her schedule:

3:00pm to 3:15pm Lunch

3:15pm to 4:45pm History Report

4:45pm to 5:00pm Short Break

5:00pm to 6:15pm Math Homework

6:15pm to 6:30pm Short Break

6:30pm to 7:15pm Chemistry Worksheet

By 7:15pm, she’s done with all her homework and as a reward, she can get dressed and ready to leave to see the school play with her friends. When it’s over and done with, she doesn’t have to worry about rushing through the rest of her homework like all her other friends. She’s even got another hour or so until bedtime that she can spend doing something she likes to do. Like working on her story or watching a TV show.

“But how will I know which tasks to do first?”

Simple. Do the things that are most important first. (ie. The ones with the nearest due date or, if due on the same day, the ones worth the higher percentage of your grade.) This might seem oddly school-specific, but if you have to pay a certain bill by a certain date, it’s going to be higher on your priority list than organizing your closet, for example.

“When I’m on my laptop, I do everything except what I need to do. What do I do?”

Luckily for you, there are plenty of sites and applications out there that can completely block your access to those so-called timewasters like social media and YouTube. I’ll link a few of my favorites right here, and you can pick to use the one that’s best for you.

StayFocusd (plug-in for Google Chrome)

Cold Turkey (downloadable for Mac and Windows)

SelfControl (downloadable for Mac)

There are tons more than just these three, so feel free to explore all your options.

“Any tips for remembering all the tasks?”

I’m glad you asked. Writing things down is the single best way to make sure you remember to do them. Your brain is designed to remember the things that you write down. Why else is note taking recommended so much in school? The more you take notes about something, the more likely you’ll remember it on test day. (Study Tip: Revisit your notes.)

Anyways, if you don’t mind carrying around a planner, writing all your tasks in there would be very helpful for you. But if you’re lazy like me and you want something more convenient, there are an abundance of to-do list applications. My favorite, of course, is Todoist. Not only does it have a mobile app, but it has its own website, too.

And both of them sync with each other. So, I can add my homework assignments to my list while I’m at class and later on, when I’m on my laptop, I can see clearly everything that I need to do. Apologies for keeping this school-focused but even if you are not attending any form of education, I am sure you’ll find these tips helpful somehow for your daily life.

I’m a university student myself, so connecting everything back to education is the best way for me to explain time management. So, moving on, I think you have all the tools to be fairly successful at time management. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to master down the skills. Once you get comfortable with managing your time, it’ll get easier.

Got any questions? Leave a comment below or contact me through my contact page.

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