Friday, September 30, 2022

7 Time Management Ideas for Writers at Home

Tonight I was doing random household tasks and thinking about how much writing and proofreading work I still had to do. I thought about all the laundry, dishes, meals, phone calls, errands, and details I handle or take care of every day and how friends and family often express their amazement that I can crank out articles and ebooks while homeschooling my kids.

And it came to me.

We all have the same amount of time every day (see Laura Vanderkam's book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think). The difference is what we prioritize and how we spend our time budget.

Here are 7 tips for fitting it all in:

I start by making sure I get enough sleep so I am in premium mental condition. I don't try to get by on 6 hours when I know I need 7-8 to be a kind, functioning human being who can come up with fresh ideas. When I'm tired, I'm not productive, and I make mistakes, which wastes time. Instead, I'll pinball around the house or hop on social media, avoiding work and looking for other little things to occupy my time.

I plan dinner in advance and double it when I can so I have one in the freezer for another time, thus saving another hour+ later on. If you have kids, start them young and teach them kitchen skills ... mine have been throwing together casseroles for years! If you can afford it, for sure order takeout. I also like to have easy things on hand like frozen lasagna, crockpot offerings, and frozen pizza with bagged salad.

How much time do you waste searching for papers and other things around the house? I'll post soon on how I keep my work area organized at home, but for now, head here to see how I organized our hallway linen closet (which links to organizing the front hall closet). It's a huge time saver when I don't have to interrupt my work time to help someone find something because our house is a mess full of things we don't even use. 

I try to focus on just one task at a time. It's hard! But if I keep getting distracted, the job takes longer! I put my phone out of sight and turn it off! Here's my post about using a Pomodoro timer to be more productive.

If you are always stopping and trying to remember what you need to do next, or what your priority should be at that moment, you're wasting time. I change up my methods on this one, but the idea is the same. Sometimes I keep a list in pencil in a cheap spiral notebook of everything I need/want to do and put a number priority next to each thing up to only 10. As I finish something, I erase it. That leaves room for something else to fill its spot, but hopefully only after I've finished two more things!!!! Sometimes I might use a Moleskine grid bullet journal and fill in a little square next to an item after I've finished it. Do what works for you!

Oh, and of course I have the kids help out around the house. After all, I'm working to pay for sports and activities and other fun things, so they can certainly toss the dry laundry in a basket and sort it, right? Over the years, this has turned into teenage boys who don't mind doing their own laundry. Also, every night after dinner, two of the kids work together to do dinner dishes while they play music and bond. You might want to hire a cleaning service or outsource some of your other household duties as well.

Amazon (and Sam's Club Plus with free shipping) has saved me countless hours in my life. Instead of putting something on a list to try to go out to buy later (we live in the country so it's 15 minutes to any larger city), I just shop on Amazon using Prime (you can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days by clicking on this sentence!). Shipping is free and I get my items within two days (often faster). Also, try Walmart Grocery Pickup if it's available in your area. These days you have a zillion options for grocery delivery as well!

I'd love to hear how you get it all done! Even if your kids are in school during the day while you work from home (or maybe they are up and out of the house), I'm pretty sure you still have some challenges with keeping on task. How do you power through?

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