I had a real Homer Simpson “d'oh!” moment relating to writing and time management the other day. You may already be using the method I’m about to describe, to stay focused when you’re doing your administrative or writing tasks, but just in case you’re not, here’s the deal:
When I’m working on a writing project and I have an idea for a different one I jot down those thoughts but don’t act on them. That allows me to keep focus on what I’m supposed to be doing, but also makes sure I don’t lose a possibly good idea.
When I’m going through emails or doing research and I come across something unrelated that could be useful, however, I often wander off track and discover many minutes later that I’ve allowed myself to get distracted…again.
For some reason it has taken me a long time to put two and two together. Obviously the answer to the second problem is the same: open a text or Word window on the computer. If you notice something—a link to a web site, an article, etc.—that may be useful, copy and paste it into the open file and return to the thing you’re supposed to be working on.
I’ve been doing this for a few days now and it works. High five, Homer!
(There are many more tips on time management for writers and other creative people in my book, “Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done.” It’s published by Pearson and available from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)