Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Time? Where?

This week on Scribble Chicks, we're chatting about how to make time for writing despite already having to make time for other priorities in our life - like, our children's tummies getting fed, our bills getting paid, and our husbands getting clean underwear.

(Oops. 2 out of 3 isn't bad, huh?)

The other chicks have given you stellar pep talks and firm nudges this week toward the keyboard. So I thought today I'd offer a few practical tips, because, hey - I'm a practical kind of gal.

(Unless I'm behind the wheel of a sports car with a stick shift in my hand - but hey that's another blog for another day. Don't get me started on the pathetic red mustang today that couldn't beat my four door Sebring off the line without any effort on my part whatsoever. Downright shameful!)

Ahem. Back to practical.

Did you know there are actual E-How instructions on "How to Find Time in a Busy Schedule?" Genius, I say. Genius. Here are E-How's tips...

1. Map out your time. Make a time grid that has cells for 24 hours a day for 7 days of the week. You can use paper and a pen or spreadsheet program to create the table. (Betsy's note - so, besides the obvious fact of needing to write with a paper, pen, or computer program...not a bad idea)

2. Block off 8 hours a night for sleeping first. Then block off your work time, your lunch hour, and your commute time. It is helpful to shade or color code the blocks of time if possible, and by creating a table in a word processor or spreadsheet you will be able to easily mark the blocks of time. (makes sense. I'm all for color coding. Pass the pink, please. And PS - if you don't work outside of the home, you're already golden here! Haha, get it? Golden? Sorry.)

3. Mark off any other you have regularly committed. Include the time you need to get ready for work in the morning, breakfast, dinner, and any after work activities. (Don't forget the potty breaks!)

4. The remaining block of time is basically your free flexible time. You might find a certain amount of time each night and on weekends. (unless you are a mother. Oh wait. I'm supposed to be encouraging you!)

5. Look for time that is either wasted or flexible time. Look for time such as commuting time, lunch time, time you have to wait to pick someone up. (I have nothing sarcastic to say here)

6. Look for any time that is truly free time. If you have a tight schedule, you might have only an hour of time on weeknights, or early on weekends where you are not committed to do something. (I'd like to tell my schedule to the writer of this E-How post and watch their reaction. I'm thinking there would be jaw dropping, eye popping, and possibly bowing.)

7. See how you can most efficently reallocate wasted, flexible, and free time. For example, if you take mass transit to work, you may be able to read. If you drive to work, you might be able to listen to audio books during your drive. Lunch time might be able to be used to run errands that would otherwise take up valuable free time. For example, you might be able to pickup something at a store during a lunch break since you are out at lunch already. Picking up the same item might eat up an hour or more if you made a special trip on a Saturday morning. (I still don't think this E-How writer has children, but hey, otherwise, good tips! hehe. Just replace "read" with "write" and "listen" with "write" and "run errands" with write or else I'm just showing you how to do all kinds of things besides write...)

8. Plan your time wisely. Do not waste your larger blocks of time, or time you need to relax on things that can be accomplished at other times. For example, you might be able to do your bills while waiting on an oil change, or waiting on soccer practice to end. (Soccer practice! Aha! He does have a kid! Soccer Dad!)

So all joking asides, what do you guys think? Are these good tips? Do they work? Are you already trying some of them anyway? Are they common sense? Are any of them a waste of time? Oh wait... =P

What are your favorite time squeezing methods?

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