Sunday, February 01, 2009

How Do You Manage Your Time?

image When I was little, there was this purple book about a (person? rabbit?) who carried a pocket watch and zoomed everywhere, always hurrying, always rushed. The moral of the story was he needed to stop and smell the roses.

When I was little, I didn’t care about the moral of the story. What was fascinating to me was the illustration in the middle of the book, where there was a detailed schedule of everything he had to do in a week. (We’re talking extremely detailed! 6:45: Wake up. 6:48: Brush teeth. 6:51 Wash face.)

I thought that was the COOLEST thing. For years, and I’m talking from about age 5 – 8, I would trace this illustration on a piece of paper and then fill in my own schedule. (I would still try the schedule thing for years after, but I graduated to graph paper.)

I’m having the same desire now. I feel so overwhelmed, I want a nice, comfy, reassuring schedule to keep track of everything I have to do, so my head can be as spacey as it wants and my life will still stay put-together.

Except every day is different. There is not one day where I start working at the same time, end work at the same time, have to get up at the same time. I miss that!

I suddenly have a ton of BIG projects:

  1. Competition season is coming up for my students.
  2. I have five new students.
  3. I need to scan, sort, and label all my receipts.
  4. I need to do my taxes: ugh. I need to do Glenn’s taxes: cool.
  5. My pseudonym’s website is at least two or three years out of date.
  6. She’s got a great idea about the whole fan fiction thing that she wants to develop.
  7. I’m still (kind of) on track with my insane writing schedule, but the last two weeks have been procrastination he... (I always procrastinate ending a book, and I’m ending two books simultaneously. It’s like torture!)
  8. I need to finish two novellas this month, and one of them will require a fair bit of research. I’m laughing, but I really need to do this so I can start 2009 Novel #1 in March.
  9. And I’m serious about this whole copyediting thing, but I need to learn, practice, practice, learn, and practice.

I Was going to announce a  break from blogging, but I think I’ll keep plugging along. I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I need to put more of my life into little routines so I don’t have to remember them.

imageHow do you manage your time? How do you get yourself on a routine? How do you keep track of all that you have to do? How do you manage things so that you don’t get so overwhelmed you feel like you can’t take an hour to watch a TV show without Mr. and Mrs. Guilt each sitting on a shoulder? Are you a list person? A calendar person? A on-the-fly person?

34 bonus scribbles:

Edie 2/01/2009 07:22:00 PM  

Routine? People have them? I don't like to think of doing taxes, but I'll do that next month. Oops, I just realized. It is next month. Dang.

Lisa 2/01/2009 08:27:00 PM  

Students? What do you teach?

Manage my time, well, that would be one of the reason that I've really dropped the ball on writing. But I have different days I clean house, do laundry, grocery shopping.

However, with all the lovely snow (just posted some more photos on my blog) I've had to move things around and enjoy the outside.

Spy? HOW do you manage to get the images you upload just so. I struggle with trying to get the text and the photo where I want them. I can't ever manage to get the text with just the right people.

Funny you mention managing time, I've wasted a bunch of it now!

spyscribbler 2/01/2009 09:20:00 PM  

Man, Edie, I wish I had them! I'm trying! God, things just NEVER stop. *sigh* Oh well.

I'm so upset it's February, too.

spyscribbler 2/01/2009 09:23:00 PM  

Hi Lisa! I teach piano. I like your routine, though, using the different days for stuff.

I use Live Writer. It's a free program, you can Google it, and it lets me Ctrl + V images that I've copied from the web. I can them move them up or down, and click "advanced" to change the size.

It sounds a lot harder than it is. I just click publish, and it publishes to Blogger for me.

It's GREAT. It's easier than using the Blogger interface!

Heather Harper 2/01/2009 09:33:00 PM  

Time management is NOT my strongest attribute. I don't even know if it IS on of my attributes.

I'll miss you if you take a break, but I totally understand. I've been taking several lately. ;-)

Heather Harper 2/01/2009 09:34:00 PM  

That would be ONE not ON. ;-)

Eric Mayer,  2/01/2009 11:09:00 PM  

I'm awful at managing time and since I work at home there are no markers -- well, I need to get up early and put the trash out for pickup Thursday. Aside from that there are whatever deadlines my current contracts call for. I pretty much work continuously on a particular project until it is done then go on to the next since I'm less efficient mixing projects. So, you see, no real time management at all. I dropped blogging for awhile. It's forgivable!

McKoala 2/02/2009 12:33:00 AM  

No routine, beyond that demanded by school hours, but a big list to fit into very little time.

Georgie B 2/02/2009 06:52:00 AM  

I was forced to learn time management skills five years ago at a previous stop in my life as a state worker, and believe me, once you get them, you can't get rid of them.

Having said that, this is how I manage the few writing projects I got going.

1) the short story that I started on, I write it during my slow periods at work. Then I transcribe to the 'puter.

2) the second novel I make a conscious effort to work on every night.

3) the blog, I've been into the long habit of scheduling my posts about two weeks or so in advance. That way, I don't have to worry about writing something for it before my deadline expires (I post every other day. Been doing it since day one).

Now, I work on all three of these items at various points during the week. If I need a break from doing one thing, I can work on something else and not feel guilty about it.

The only thing I perpetually work on, is trying to get my name out there more in regards to my self-published novel.

Bevie 2/02/2009 07:35:00 AM  

"Are you a list person? A calendar person? A on-the-fly person?"

Yes. I try 'em all. And a couple more. I go through them like a merry-go-round spinning.

McKoala said it best. The only routine I can keep are those dictated by my son's school. Such a powerful entity. Who can argue with it?

StarvingWriteNow 2/02/2009 07:43:00 AM  

time management???

bwa-ha-ha-haaa!!! I laugh at time management!

Mainly because whenever I try to 'manage' my time, a wrench gets thrown into the works and time ends up managing me!

Robin 2/02/2009 09:15:00 AM  

I have a Day Timer I keep with me at all times. I write down every thing I have to do, and put a little box to the left of it. When I complete the task, I color in the box.

I get a nice sense of satisfaction from looking at the filled in boxes. If someone accuses me of not doing something, I just look back and see if the box was filled in. Ta da!

Kath Calarco 2/02/2009 09:26:00 AM  

I don't manage time, but if I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything, I'll take a look at the time-sucks. You know, those unnecessary things that don't add to, or take away from, our lives. After a review I'll cut, sort of like self-editing my life.

Melanie Avila 2/02/2009 11:47:00 AM  

Ugh, my whole schedule is so out of whack right now. I really enjoyed my week off (from what? you're probably asking...) and now I feel like I need to cram everything into one day.

Virginia Lady 2/02/2009 01:25:00 PM  

I'm a terrible time manager. It's very difficult for me to stick to any schedule that I create. It has to be imposed on me (meetings others schedule, etc). And even then, I'm bad with it.

Things always take more time than I ever imagined they would.

Charles Gramlich 2/02/2009 01:53:00 PM  

I have a deep appreciation for routine. It's the only way I can get much accomplished because otherwise I'm too willy-nilly.

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 05:50:00 PM  

Heather, don't you hate that you can't edit your comment? I always make the silliest mistakes!

I knew what you meant. :-)

I am having trouble keeping up. I should take advantage of the fact I have no husband (well, I mean he's off working) and kids now, and work my butt off every single moment!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 05:51:00 PM  

Eric, I SO know the feeling! Totally! Funny enough, my trash comes on Thursday morning, too, and I'm always getting out of bed early for it, too! LOL!

Lisa 2/02/2009 05:52:00 PM  

Thanks Spy! I'll check out Live Writer.
I got distracted checking out Bevie's blog - I'm such a sucker for bloggers who have cats as Avatar. I've been laughing reading her Cat in the Buff Blog:

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 05:52:00 PM  

McKoala, I almost yearn for enforced routine! I'd love for a send-the-kids-to-school routine! Not sure I'd love the busy evenings when they get home... oh, yes, I'd kill for them, too. :-)

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 05:54:00 PM  

Georgie, that's a great routine! I'm working on it. This week is going much better. (Don't mention it's only Monday, please. LOL!)

I took a page from you and Zoe's book, and scheduled my posts for the week in advance. That's a great idea! All done at one time! I love it.

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 05:55:00 PM  

"I go through them like a merry-go-round spinning."

Bevie, ohmigosh, me too! LOL! What a great way to put it! I've really been trying to weed out the ones that don't work, and weed in the ones that do.

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:05:00 PM  

WriteNow, SO true! Always the wrench! And every time I try to manage my time, the wrench makes me stay up late to compensate, and then I wake up late the next day, and I'm off again!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:07:00 PM  

Hah, Robin, I LOVE that! I bought a avery book, and it has these yellow lists and everything. I also bought some gel pens, and I use different colors for every compartment of my life. I love it.

Except I haven't used it in awhile, LOL. I should. It's SO pretty! And I like pretty!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:08:00 PM  

Hah! Kath, that's why I like you. Love that: self-editing my life. Amen to that!

It's never-ending!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:09:00 PM  

Melanie, I'm not asking that! You get so much stuff done. Your work is an inspiration to me! I will be happy to find/get back to a routine again.

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:10:00 PM  

Virginia, you sound exactly like me! It's terrible. I have zero sense of time!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:10:00 PM  

Charles, amen. I need to appreciate it just a little more, so I can actually DO my routines!

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 06:11:00 PM  

LOL, Lisa! Not two seconds ago, I added it to my reader! :-)

mom2brie,  2/02/2009 07:42:00 PM  

I make lists and write important events on the calendar. It seems to work for me - I especially like to cross things off of my lists. I've found that dh is MUCH more apt to actually do things if I make him a list with "B" next to the things that I want him to do and "N" next to the things that I'll do.

When I'm really pressed for time I'll assign times to do the things on my list, otherwise I just get to them when I can.

spyscribbler 2/02/2009 09:36:00 PM  

Mom2brie, I LOVE that! I never thought about making a list for both of us, but that would be AWESOME. Especially since we could both see that things are (or aren't) divided fairly.

Gosh. It's funny how I sometimes don't think of something so logical.

L.C. Gant 2/02/2009 10:31:00 PM  

It's so funny because this same topic came up on my blog a few days ago! I was planning to write a post about it, but wouldn't ya know it, I couldn't find the time! HAHA! So much for my so-called time management.

Mainly I work around my son's sleeping schedule. I do all my writing either before he wakes up in the morning, during his afternoon nap or after he's gone to bed for the night.

I might also have to borrow Georgie's idea of writing blog posts in advance. That would save me oodles of time during the week. I used to keep lists too, but somehow I got away from that.

*Realizing I'm procrastinating right at this moment. Yikes!*

spyscribbler 2/03/2009 08:31:00 AM  

L.C., that's funny! I wrote all my blog posts in advance this week, but last night I realized I wrote them all on two hours of sleep, and they sound like it, LOL!

Ah well. We try. :-)

Barbara Martin 2/11/2009 06:10:00 PM  

I fly along life by the seat of my pants, Spy. There is no routine except for the one I keep now by trying not to use the computer during the high peak times of electrical usage.