I can hear him singing it now, “Time is on my side, yes it is!” Whether time is still on Mick Jagger’s side is debatable, but it’s certainly NOT on my side.
Over time, even Rolling Stones erode. And time is also one of the main things that keeps writers from getting things done.
In my last post, I asked this simple question, “What keeps you from writing?”
Your response was rather amazing. The number of comments and the sincerity of your replies impressed me. Clearly I hit a nerve.
The most common problem you mentioned was time, or the inability to find enough of it.
Perhaps Alain said it best in his comment:
Over the past 20 years I have made a decent living from writing and reporting. Yet it seems to me that I have spent most of that time procrastinating, not writing, letting time slip by… And you will be pleased to know that I have put off starting a paid feature article until tomorrow in favor of wasting time writing this.
And Jim Walton had this to add:
I waste a lot of time on unimportant stuff when I could focus in on writing. Sometimes I think that I don’t have enough time to write what I want to write, so I don’t even start.
In response to your overwhelming problem with time, I’m dedicating this article to time management tips. These pointers will help you begin the process of regaining control of your time.
Step 1: Are You A Time Waster? Take this Test to Find Out
The first step to grappling with your time is to assess yourself. Even if you know you waste time, this test will be an eye opener.
Step 2: Track Your Time
You probably have no idea where your time goes. Well guess what, someone came up with a simple way to track your time.
It’s called a time log. By simply writing down all the activities you perform and how long they take, you can get a quick feel for how you spend your hours.
Download this time log (PDF), print out a copy for each day of the week and start tracking!
Step 3: Set Goals
This may seem simple, but if you want to change, you need to aim for something.
I found a great questionnaire that will help you set some time management goals.
Download this simple survey (PDF) and complete it.
If you start with the above suggestions, you’ll end up with a profound understanding of how you spend and manage your time. You will gain awareness of the patterns and behaviors that are preventing you from focusing on great writing. This is the first step towards gaining control over time, instead of allowing time to control you.
What next? I’ll cover that in an upcoming article.