On time management and self-discipline

Has it come to this? Why of course! And we always knew it would, one day.

Joking aside, I was reading Sally Stuart’s Guide to Publishing a few days ago and became motivated to make some changes. It happened because I recognized who I am as a writer and what I want to accomplish. In her book she outlines types of writers as those who:

  • are totally committed to writing and would have to write no matter what (even if never published)
  • work at a full-time job while writing (always their first love) is on the side
  • write because they believe it will provide wealth or fame
  • write a lot and get excited about several projects at once, but seldom finish anything
  • spend their life (or at least their writing life) writing one story or experience
  • are obsessed with a single idea that is written and rewritten
  • write, submit, and sell, year in and year out (p. 130)

I know writers in most of these categories. I asked myself which one best described me and realized in that moment what I wanted. The category you or I find ourselves in does not have to be our destiny.

So, I am making some decisions. As she suggests, I am making time to write. I am informing friends and family of when I will and will not be available. I am setting goals, breaking them down into manageable pieces and making use of my calendar and to-do list. I am identifying time wasters and setting boundaries around my quality working time.

Knowing who you are and exactly what it is you want can be extremely motivating. In the next few weeks this blog will reflect some of the changes I will be making. Happy writing!


Boundaries? What’s that?

I am very poor at setting boundaries. Not in every area, but when it comes to my time.

There are things I really need to say no to, so that I can say yes to what is important, like my writing, for instance. But I have this tendency to bend, to be flexible, to allow myself to be talked into things. I go over my time limit, because I am trying to be sensitive. After all, I want other people to be sensitive to my needs. Do unto others…as the saying goes.

I also feel guilty about things I shouldn’t feel guilty about. Like saying No!

Today was an example. I had said no to something on Friday, and today I was pressured to yield. It was almost impossible for me to be firm. Oh, this will only take a few minutes. I’ll just send this email. I’ll notify this person. I should probably follow this through….and so on. My husband, who, incidentally, knows how to set boundaries, finally told me how to do it. Tell them you are no longer in charge, he told me. It seemed so clear and simple to him. To me it felt like moving a mountain. It was literally as though I could feel all of this resistance.

Well, I did as he told me. And I haven’t yet checked my emails, because, to tell the truth, I’m thinking I’ll get sucked in again.