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Seven Rules for Effective Time Management for Writers
by Jennifer Brown Banks

If one of your goals for 2010 is to increase your publishing credits and your bottom line, you should add time management to your “to-do” list as well. There’s no doubt about it, if you’re like the typical writer, you’re probably juggling a 9 to 5 gig, family obligations, relationship issues, house projects, and endless tasks that compete with your literary dreams of fame and fortune. True?

As such, effective time management is crucial to managing a successful writing career and a desirable quality of life. In fact, one of the most common complaints I hear from my creative students is not having enough hours in the day to do it all. But the problem is more “perception” than reality.

Consider this. We all have been granted by the Creator the same 24 hours in a day—no more, no less, regardless of race, religion, or creed. Much like money, it’s not what you have but what you do with it that counts. With this is mind, here are seven ways to become more productive and profitable in 2010.

  1. Recognize that there’s great truth to the adage “The early bird catches the worm.” Most mornings I hit the floor running around 5:30 a.m. This enables me time to meditate and create in solitude before the madness begins. It also affords me time to organize my thoughts and the order of my day before my day orders me!

  2. Make multi-tasking a must. Cook while you talk on the speaker phone. Sort mail while watching T.V.—whatever it takes to optimize your time make it happen.

  3. Stay Focused. Limit the time you read Emails. Research with a specific goal, and govern your hours with a daily to-do list. It’s easy to get distracted reading Blogs, perusing shopping sites, and connecting with friends through FACEBOOK. Moderation is the key.

  4. Learn to prioritize properly. It’s impossible to be all things to all people, and to meet the many demands life sometimes throws our way. Keep in mind that the tasks that support your financial goals and bring you closer to where you want to be as a writer should come before soap operas and idle gossip with girlfriends. For every sacrifice there’s a gain.

  5. Realize that time is a commodity. Most of us wouldn’t dream of squandering our hard earned money. The same type of reverence should be given to our time as well. Not to mention, money can be recovered. Time lost is forever gone.

  6. Incorporate the word “no” into your vocabulary. One of the biggest time stealers for many of us is trying to accommodate the needs of others even at our own detriment. Cut out the fat in your social diet. Every now and then volunteer a little less, let someone else take the reins, and delegate to your kids. Liberate yourself.

  7. Become more organized. Purge excess clutter and put systems in place that will enable you to be more effective in your daily dealings. For example, if you keep your keys in one central location, you won’t need to spend time hunting for them when you’re in a hurry. Have file folders for follow-up activities. Operate according to the K.I.S.S. principle.

Follow these seven sacred rules and you’ll make more money and have more time to spend it! And remember there’s no time like the present…

© Copyright 2009, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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