Reorganize, prioritize and trim the schedule

Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tis the season to be overworked, overstretched and overstressed. At least I know it is for me. As I write this post I think about how many things I’ve forgotten (or was reminded of) the last few months. Work, family, activities, writing, etc have all been weighing down on me. I’ve decided to make some changes. Maybe you can use these ideas, too.

Take a good hard look at the schedule. By sitting down to look at everything you need to do, you can be very honest with yourself about how much writing time you really do have. Maybe it’s not the television that keeps you from writing, but the many errands that are thrown in there. By having a hard copy of your schedule to review, you can concretely see where you are overbooked.

It’s okay to say no. So many of us have the desire to help others in different ways. Whether we want to do it through writing, volunteering at local organizations or helping out at kiddo’s school – we can always find someone in need of something. Since that won’t change, you can let yourself off the hook a bit. By learning to say no to something else (that you really don’t have time for), you can say yes to more writing time. Keep your schedule (or your most important writing project) in mind the next time someone asks you for a favor.

Don’t overbook yourself.
I definitely need to listen to this one. I’m a single working mom who plays guitar at my church. The holiday season is full of craziness beyond belief for me between my day job as a foster care worker (audit season), parenting the kiddo, getting the Christmas stuff done, and getting ready for Christmas Eve mass with the choir. I have other things I could list, but you’d stop reading when you see how long my list is. Needless to say, it’s very easy to be overstretched if you don’t have a good idea of what you’re schedule really looks like.

Feel free to let go.
There are times when we already have something in our schedule that we simply don’t want to do anymore, but keep doing anyway. Doing them can be challenging, but letting them go can be just as hard. For me, it’s my day job. I’ve realized that I simply cannot run around anymore (commuting daily to see clients) and would much rather have an office job. So one goal for me this coming year is to find a new job that will have me in an office. I’ve also been thinking about letting go of other tasks that I don’t have time for.

Always focus on your goals.
When presented with a new opportunity, errand or task, keep your writing goals in mind. Will doing this help my writing? Will I be able to help other writers? Will it take time/focus away from my current novel? Again, by being honest with yourself about your writing goals, you can be honest with others when you need to turn them down. Check your goals everyday and do one thing to help those goals become accomplishments.

I hope these tips will help you get organized this holiday season and ready for 2011. I know I’m ready for new things. Happy Holidays writers!


Kristi's Book Nook said...

This is great advice. It wasn't a month ago that I let go of giving away free time to others. I am not focused on me and the things I need to get ready for in 2011. Thanks for sharing.

Skyraven said...

Hiya Kristi,

Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. It's a challenging things for many writers and indeed, many women. But, we do need to take inventory of what time we do have and focus that on writing. Thanks for the compliment and please come again soon. :)

Trisha said...

Nice tips, but... let goooooo???? too scary! hehe

Just kidding, it's worth thinking about!

Then again I do have an office job already, so that works.

Skyraven said...

Hiya Trisha,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Letting go can be really hard. I should know - as a single mom it's really difficult to let go because it means you have to give up some measure of control. But, once you do, the freedom of it can be just a great as letting go is scary. Thanks for the compliment on the tips. lol I have the office job too so I hear you. Please come back to visit again soon. :)


Anonymous said...

Some years ago, I read a book called "the art of being selfish". It spoke of people, events, and unnecessary time commitments that leave little time for the things that really hold one's interest and opportunity for self satisfaction.
I took the advice of the author and began saying "no" to lots of people and demands on my time that were not fulfilling.
I can't say that I achieved a total metamorphosis, but the benefit was extremely liberating.
The one thing that I remember from the writing was "If you are not happy within yourself, others around you won't be happy."
Thank you, Skyraven, for the reminder.

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