Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Five: Five Ways to Find More Time

Lots of people ask me where I find the time to do everything I do. Seriously, at any given moment in my life, I generally juggle half a dozen involved tasks at once. How do I manage? Here are five of my secrets:

1. Take on more. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But for me, the more projects I have to work on, the more time I can devote to them. Let's say I'm writing a new story, judging a contest, editing a sold manuscript, and revamping my website (all tasks I've done on a regular basis and often, at the same time.) If I'm stuck on my WIP, I'll pick up a contest entry. Then I'll edit a few chapters. After that, it's a page of my website. The trick for me is that I never have "nothing" to do and thus, I can never be bored or wasting time that could be focused on a particular project.

2. Don't wait to start. If you're going to take on more, you have to be realistic about your time allotment. Just because your editor gave you until the end of the month doesn't mean you wait until the 23rd to dig into those revisions. Start the day you get them or, at the very latest, the first weekend you get them. The more time you have to devote to the work, the more quality you can provide.

3. There's no such thing as downtime. You can still spend time with the family, still watch your favorite television show, still go out with friends. And your tasks can come along with you. Print out pages to read or edit in the car, on the couch, during your lunch hour, in the bathtub. Playing around on the Internet? Play with info that will benefit you! Word games are not only fun, they enhance your vocabulary and keep your brain stimulated. Puzzles train you to think outside the box. Just don't lose too much time in Gameland.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. No one is SuperPerson. Everyone needs help once in a while. And it's better to ask before you become overwhelmed. What's the worst that could happen? You ask for help, you get it, and you finish earlier than you anticipated? Yeah, I can see where that might be painful for ya. (Insert sarcasm here.)

5. Do as much prep as you can before you commit. Just like agents and editors expect a completed manuscript before you query, you can have a workshop ready to go before you shop it to chapters, writing groups, or libraries. Use calendars, timers, day planners, white boards, etc. to keep you on target. The more you have on your plate, the more you need to keep track of. Do so, and don't be ashamed.

For tips on writing and fun articles, visit Gina's Articles For Writers page: