Why 283? Because I have a feeling I have tried 283 times to become more efficient. At least. Even before the electronic revolution, I would attempt to manage my time with my annual new year’s trip to the office supply store, which for me is almost a Julia Child like pilgrimage to Kitchen Kaboodle. HEAVEN. I would go into an orgy of delighted touching, feeling and smelling (yes, smelling) of planners. I couldn’t afford the really nice ones, but I would judge them as if I could. Then I would make my selection and take my new planner home, full of purpose and resolve. This year would be the year that I’d be on top of all the things! And that would last until mid January–February at the very longest. Then I would put my planner aside and go back to the happy pastime of procrastination.
I can’t do that anymore.
As an author I have lots and lots of deadlines. I have been given a chance to make a living and follow my dreams but in order to do so, I have to get serious about this time management stuff, because it doesn’t happen on its own. My books won’t miraculously finish themselves, the promoting and marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum and I have yet to see the house clean itself, despite how many times I leave money out for the elves.
So I have become the keeper of lists. Master list, to track all the things. Weekly list, which is a rather optimistic account of what I can pack into a week and the daily list that tracks what I need to get done in a day to keep me from stepping off the proverbial time management cliff. But in spite of all my lists, I still felt as if I were a hamster on a wheel—running in circles without accomplishing much of anything. Oh, I was making my deadlines, but I still didn’t feel as if I were in charge. So I decided to change all that with some goal-oriented personal study. Shannon McKeldon, an amazing author and friend started a program of self study where she actually gave herself homework. This I could do. I started with a highly recommended book called Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. Both books teach skills I desperately need to develop: managing my time and building my author’s platform.
Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing is going to happen to you all day long. Brian Tracy writes that your “frog” is your biggest , most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on and is usually the one that will have the greatest positive impact on your day and life. So I look at my list and start with the toughest one, which in my case is usually a word count goal or a revision page goal. If I can get that one out of the way, the weight off my shoulders allows me to whiz right through the rest of the list. It has made a huge difference in my daily productivity.
From Platform by Michael Hyatt, I’m learning how to create and market a WOW product and what that means. In my case, my wow products need to be my books and the workshops and seminars I’m developing.
I have also learned that I really need to keep developing my skill set. This year, I plan on attending Toastmasters, attending at least one writing intensive and reading daily on the craft of writing. Does anyone have any great writing book recommendations? I am working through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and have most of Natalie Goldberg’s books. What else should I add to my library?
I’m not familiar with your recommended books but I will look into them. I definitely want to make my novel into a WOW product.
One writing book that I enjoy is called “Word By Word: An Inspirational Look at the Craft of Writing” by John Tullius & Elizabeth Engstrome and the Presenters of the Maui Writers Conference (copyright 2000). It’s packed full of articles on writing from all sorts of bestselling writers who provide insights into how they write. I’ve highlighted and used post-it-notes on many, many passages. It’s a wonderful book!
Oh, thanks, I will have to check it out. I want to read in my field at least 30 minutes daily. I am really looking forward to doing an intensive this year too, though I will have to miss the Donald Maas, one… had made plans months ago. But we can always improve on our craft no matter where we are at.
I…got nothin’, lol.
I just blogged about my aggravating attempts to manage my time since my work and my play tend to bleed into one another, so don’t look at me for any answers! *ggg*
As for books about writing, I consider Heather Sellers’ Chapter by Chapter a staple on my desk. And as per advice given in that book, my writing “guides” are novels that mastered elements I want to use in a particular WIP (e.g.; a Sherry Thomas title for wonderful use of flashbacks to build tension and conflict). Kaye Dacus’s amazing writing series (on her website) is another reference I turn to again and again. On a whole, I usually seek out articles and books from romance writers when it comes to the craft of writing because we speak a common “language”–I find books produced by Writers’ Digest, et al too cold and generic.
Working from home is tough because I feel like I should have more division between my work self and my home self, but honestly, I want my life to be fully integrated… my lists combine both my home life to do’s and my work to do’s. That either helps or makes me feel even more completely overwhelmed. Thanks for the book recs… I think I’ve actually heard of Chapter by Chapter.