First in a series about time management for authors
Too many of us are living beyond our means.
I’m not talking about money; I’m talking about time.
With the push for self-promotion among authors, marketing tends to overtake writing time – and everything else in life.
Managing your time is key to implementing successful marketing strategies – and keeping your sanity. It is not easy. You have a lot to juggle – and you MUST be flexible when new priorities rear their time-sensitive heads.
Time management is about more than just keeping a calendar filled with the events of your life. In order to be effective with your time – and move forward with your career – you must have a vision of the future and know how to achieve that vision. That means you must set goals and objectives. These help you create a road map for success by reminding you what you need to focus on to reach long-term objectives.
For example, if you know that in five years you want to build your blog presence, then you will want your schedule to reflect time-intensive activities to build up your blog. Knowing this long-term goal will make it easier to vet smaller projects that might seem important at the time, but will ultimately take away from your goals.
Before you sit down with a calendar to detail your life, you need to sit down and create a list of goals and objectives. Here’s how:
Get a clean notebook. Go out and buy yourself a really cool one that has staying power. A fresh notebook sometimes makes people more creative and the blank sheet offers a fresh start.
Make lists. First focus on yourself. What are your personal goals? Are you using your writing career to expand your business, or do you want to sell books for a living. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to do with your family? Apply this same technique to your next two lists: one for family and one for writing.
Prioritize your lists. One you go through the brain dump of putting everything down on paper, you need to prioritize what’s on the list. Do this for each individual list.
Combine your priorities. Now comes the really tough part. You need to take all three lists and pull them into one prioritized list. This is where you decide how important your writing career is to your overall life, including family and other business activities. Is it your top priority or does it fall far down the list?
Keep your vision close. Tack your list next to your desk, on your refrigerator, the bathroom mirror – somewhere you will see it every day. Seeing it helps you believe it – and stick to your goals. It also helps you more easily decide which activities will benefit your future, or will deter you from your goals.
Setting goals and prioritizing them is NOT easy. It could take several days. Give yourself a deadline of two weeks. Create your lists, then leave them a few days. Go back and prioritize them. Leave them again a few days before you combine all the lists into one. Don’t allow this process to drag on. Give yourself a two-week deadline if that will keep you on target.
This system may not work for everyone, but there are several resources for those who want to start serious time management. Here are other resources to help:
Personal Goal Setting (Mind Tools)