Business author Frank Sonnenberg created a nice little poster called “Where did the time go?” that features 55 questions and tips about time use. Here are the six that resonate the most with me in terms of the writing life, with my own tips for putting them into use:
- Being busy is not the same as being productive. At the start of every day, look at your list of tasks and check how many of them relate to the things you desire most.
- Are you decisive or do you rethink and rethink and rethink decisions? For writers the rethinking often comes when a project becomes challenging. We wonder whether maybe we should have chosen to work on a different project instead (since most of us have more ideas than we have time). Usually the answer is, “No, stick with it, get it done, then move on.”
- How much time do you spend looking for things? Is there a group called Chaotic Writers Anonymous? If so, sign me up! The answer usually is to have a system. The problem is we love setting up systems but we don’t always love following them. So also create a system for making sure you stick to the system! (For me, this is a work in progress!)
- It’s important to say no to some people in order to say yes to others. I’d add the paraphrase, ‘it’s important to say not to some projects (at least for now) in order to say yes to (and finish) others.’ I’m still learning that just because I have a lot of enthusiasm for a new idea, that doesn’t mean I should start on it right away, especially when I’m already committed to several others.