Time management is one of the secrets to staving off the mythical excuse formerly known as “writer’s block”. Once you learn to master your time, you will be able to control when and where you are inspired (most of the time).
Here are a few quick tips that will help you to master your time more effectively.
Use a Calendar
Most people have “to-do” lists. The problem is that in most cases, they grow into something that eventually becomes too overwhelming to control. That’s when panic sets in and human nature tends to force us to run endlessly from one task to the next, never really accomplishing anything. This can be avoided by keeping a calendar and scheduling specific times to complete items as they come up. You will also be able to see your progress.
Be sure your next day is planned before going to bed!
Take 30 minutes before bed to be sure your next day is planned. You don’t want to waste time figuring out what to do next. It’s best to wake up knowing everything you plan to accomplish on a given day.
Learn to Act instead of React
One of our worst habits is reacting to things around us without acting on our own. It’s not hard to break this habit. The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to realize it’s even happening – until it’s too late. Let me explain.
When the phone rings, what is your first impulse? Of course, your first reaction is to answer it. That is programmed into our brains on a subconscious level. It is also a reaction and not an action. In other words, you answer the phone and speak to whoever is at the other end because your phone rang. So you reacted to their call. You might wonder how this is a bad habit. Bear with me and I’ll explain.
I’m willing to bet that if you kept track of every time that you react to your phone, it would add up to several hours per week. However, that’s only one scenario. What about your email? Do you leave it running while you’re on your computer? Do you read messages as soon as you get them? What about social media? Are you constantly reacting to messages sent from friends and family? What else do you react to through the course of the day? Sit down and make a list.
I would be willing to bet that everyone reading this book spends more than 10% of their day reacting. One of the first practices to managing your time is to turn those reactions into actions by living life on your terms. Leave your phone turned off and schedule times to check it. Determine a specific time to check your email. If you determine a time in advance to return all calls and messages, then you are acting instead of reacting to others.
Breaking the reaction habit might not seem like it would mean a lot, but it is actually a life changing practice. You will empower yourself to start taking action on your terms. More importantly, you will free up more time each day to get more productive things done instead of being interrupted every time you start making progress.