Friday, 16 February 2018

It's About Time- 10 Super Helpful Tips, by Wendy H. Jones


In our modern hustle and bustle world I would venture to say that one of our most precious commodities is time. The more labour saving devices we acquire, the more we seem to fill our days and the minutes just slip by. As the picture suggests our time just slips away. 

My last post on this blog was Motivation Matters and this post takes that theme further 

Whilst the principles are the same for everyone, this is a writing blog so I am going to focus on time and our writing. By using even just a few of these you will find your writing time expands and your word count will rise.

1. Schedule important tasks - while this might seem like a no brainer, how many of us actually do this. My regular contribution to this blog is a perfect example. I know I am scheduled for the 16th of each month and yet the date sneaks up on me and can often slip by unnoticed. This should have been out at 00:30 and here I am at 09.40, still writing it. So, taking my own advice, there is now a reminder in my diary for the 15th of every month. I've blocked off an hour to write and research the blog. Job done. I've done the same for all the collaborative blogs I belong to. 

2. Switch of social media and emails - one of the biggest time sucks today is social media. It's funny how you can open up a social media site saying 'ten Minutes Only' and before you know it you've spent 3 hours looking at pictures of kittens. Seriously, switch off the internet on the computer you use to write. If you ache to do research do it on a different computer. Even better put a red note in your WIP and go back to the research later.

3. Use free time you have wisely - By this I mean waiting time. If you are on the underground, the bus, or waiting in the car for the kids to get out of school, instead of playing games on your phone, (yes I'm guilty of this) use an app such as Evernote to jot down ideas or even write some of your WIP. When you return to your computer the notes will be waiting for you. If you did some writing, a quick copy and paste will bump your word count up nicely.

4. Write in 20 minute bursts - It's easier to think about writing for 20 minutes than 8 hours. Set a timer and focus on your writing. When the timer stops get up, walk around, drink a glass of water, do some stretches. Anything to get you moving and hydrates. You'll go back to the keyboard energised.

5. Schedule in time for answering emails - use this wisely. It will help you to concentrate if you re not always thinking about that urgent email that may be waiting for you. Set a block of time, say 20 minutes (ideal concentration time) and again set a timer. 

6. Get up earlier - this one is a struggle for me, but for some of you reading this it may be the only way to carve out writing time if you've got the constraints of a family and a job. 

7. Give up just one television programme - use the time you would spend watching that as writing time. I find myself watching hours of mindless telly instead of doing things that will help me to be more organised. Again, it can be a time suck. I'll watch just one episode turns into an eight hour binge watching marathon.

8. Schedule in reading time - this might seem a strange one if you're trying to save time. Hands up how many of us say I don't get time to read these days? In order to be a writers we need to be readers. This tips up our creative juices. 

9.  Prioritise your writing - set goals e.g. daily, weekly, monthly targets. Give yourself a deadline for completion. Get the creative stuff done early in the day.

10. Don't be afraid to say no - This is a biggie. Most of us don't want to disappoint people so we say yes to everything. Tell people you will think about it, weigh up the pros and cons and make a considered decision.

I hope I've given you some food for thought here. These are just ideas and you may have many more. It would be helpful if you could share them in the comments. I'm always keen to learn new things. 

Before I go here's a bonus 11th Tip - employ a cleaner. This has been one of the best moves I've made. Now, where do I find someone to do my ironing?

Coming soon
First book in the Cass Claymore Investigates Series


About the Author

Wendy H Jones is the Amazon Number 1 best-selling author of the award winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her Young Adult Mystery, The Dagger’s Curse was a finalist in the Woman Alive Readers Choice Award. She is also an international public speaker, and runs conferences and workshops on writing, Motivation and marketing. Wendy is the founder of Crime at the Castle, Scotland’s newest Crime Festival. She has just edited a Lent Book, published by the Association of Christian Writers





10 comments:

Anne Stenhouse said...

All good stuff, Wendy, and I do know of one award winner who used the cheque to pay a cleaner. One of my time-savers is to buy three meals for two most weeks from one of the new suppliers. Don't have to think about what to cook or shop for hard to source ingredients. also, it has expanded my skills and repertoire easily. anne stenhouse

Wendy Jones said...

Fab idea. Now let me look that up 😁

Chris Longmuir said...

Ah! I see you're moving on, Wendy. You once told me your motto was never to say no to anything. Always say yes. So, I was surprised by that one coming from you. But I'm sure you must be the one most aware that never saying no can add a lot of stress to your life. You need to stop sometimes and draw breath so as not to fuel anxiety levels. So, now that you have included no in your vocabulary I'm sure we'll be meeting Cass Claymore very soon.

Veronica Bright said...

I'm going to try the 20 minute writing bursts. Not good at getting up earlier though. Now I've retired I schedule reading time first thing in the morning!
Here's another time saver - always keep a pen/pencil and a piece of paper handy beside the computer. Then if anything you mustn't forget to do pops into your head, you don't have to get up immediately to do it. A written note to self is enough!

Dipika Mukherjee said...

Great list, thanks!

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Reb MacRath said...

Who'd have guessed, from all you've accomplished, that even you must struggle sometimes to fine-tune your scheduling? Good post!

Umberto Tosi said...

This list goes on my wall - with the part about switching off social media highlighted in bright yellow! Excellent advice, Wendy. Thanks.

Wendy Jones said...

I'm glad you've all found it useful. Thanks for the encouragement