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Manage Your time Effectively or Time Will Manage You

Before I took my writing seriously I had no interest in how to manage time effectively. I wasted time like a child without a sense of responsibility. They’ll happily play from morning till night without a care in the world. They have no sense of time nor are they concerned about wasting it.

But when you’re trying to make money as a freelance writer, time is extremely precious. And time waits for no man or woman for that matter. The reality of the importance of using my time effectively hit me like a slap in the face a few weeks ago. It made me realize that I had to stop procrastinating (a big time waster) and step up my game.

I recently made two major decisions in my life. The first was to move to a bigger house. And that meant more expenses. The other was a massive leap of faith. I handed in my notice at work. I’ll soon be quitting my job to focus on developing my freelance writing business.

Believe me, it was a hard decision. I’ve been teaching at that college for nearly five years. It’s scary! But sometimes you have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’

Some of my friends think it’s an exciting move. Others think I’m probably making a big mistake. A concerned work colleague asked, “How on earth are you going to manage?”

She was right to ask that question. For a start I don’t have any savings behind me. Nor do I have a queue of clients waiting to use my services. But do you know something? When you have to manage you either sink or swim. I’m certainly not going to sink. So I have to pull out all the stops and make this thing work for me.

The driving force behind my decision and boldness is the fact that I’m a Christian. I have faith and I trust God. I’m not going to preach but my belief is that anything is possible. The only limitations are those that we put in our minds.

The point I’m trying to make is that time is much more precious to me now. More than it ever has been. Wasting time is like wasting money. I can’t afford to waste either.

A close friend of mine has kindly offered to keep me in check. She’s my accountability partner. She’s helped me put a fantastic plan together. It’s geared towards helping me organize myself.

Below are some of the tips that she gave me which I’m sharing with you.

  • Check  and record how you spend your time

This is great for identifying how you spend your time and also how you waste it. On a blank piece of paper, write down everything you do throughout the day. It doesn’t matter how small it is.

Record  how long you stay in the bathroom in the morning. Note how much time you spend checking your emails, watching TV , chatting on Facebook or on your mobile phone. List all of your activities. Even if it seems unimportant. This will give you a clear picture of how you manage your time.

At the end of the day check your list. Seeing how you’ve actually used your time, is a good way of identifying where you’re wasting it.  This exercise will help you to stop wasting time on unnecessary tasks that doesn’t have anything to do with writing. It’ll help you to manage your time more effectively.

If friends want to come over and chat during the day and you have a writing project to complete, re-organize your schedule so that your social life doesn’t interfere with your work life. You have to be strict because if you were out at work you wouldn’t be skiving off to chat to friends. Time is money!

  • Put a weekly timetable together

Every writer needs to have a timetable. It really does discipline you when you’re able to plan your week ahead. As a teacher I work by timetables. If I didn’t, I would be all over the place. I wouldn’t know how long to spend on each topic, when to start lessons or when to finish the sessions.

Calendar Labs.com has a set of blank timetables which you can download and adapt to suit you. You could even create one from scratch by using Microsoft Excel. Record everything you plan to do on your timetable for the week ahead. That includes from the moment you wake up, breakfast time, your daily activities, writing projects, breaks and lunch times.

If you decide not to work over the weekends, still timetable it as chill-out time or family time. Put your timetable above your computer or somewhere that you can easily see it. It might help if you tick off each activity as you complete them. You’ll get a great feeling of success from seeing how much you’ve achieved at the end of each day.

  • Steps to control time wasters and improve productivity

Below is a list taken from an article by Lucas Kleinschmitt. It reveals how folding a sheet of paper can save you precious time.

1.     After you’ve had dinner, get a blank A4 sheet of paper and sit down. Fold it down the middle so that you get a line down the middle. Write a ‘To-Do’ list of your plans for the next day on the left side of the paper.

2.   The following day, cross off each task on the list after you’ve done them. If you did something that wasn’t on the list, add it and cross it off. To make this more effective, write down the time you spent on each task.

3.   On the right side of the paper record things that are classed as time wasters. Maybe you stayed for a long time on the internet doing something that wasn’t work related. Or extended a 15 minute coffee break into 30 minutes. Also, make a note of the length of time it took you to do those things.

4.   Check the list in the evening before you write one for the next day. Assess how you spent your time. If you did well all of the tasks on the left side of the paper should be crossed off. And nothing should be written on the right side. Do this exercise for two weeks and you’ll stop wasting time and be more productive.

Time wasting can cripple your freelance writing business and cause you to lose money. When you manage your time effectively, not only will you be more fruitful but you’ll be more in control of your destiny.

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”  ~Charles Richards

June Whittle is a blogger and freelance writer. She has two personal blogs that she manages and writes for. Please stop by her main blog to find out some more about her.

Can you share any time management tips? How do you manage your time? I would love to hear from you. If you found ‘Manage Your time Effectively or Time Will Manage You’ useful please share it on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading.

 

Category: freelance writing

23 Comments on "Manage Your time Effectively or Time Will Manage You"

  1. Diana Ann Bisares says:

    I’m currently a victim of procrastination. My February income slapped me on the face really hard, though. I need to manage my time wisely as well. First stop: I’m going to have a checklist of what I want to do in a day. I’ll see what I can accomplish by doing this.

    I’d be coming back and reread your post as well. Great advice! 🙂

    • June Whittle says:

      Procrastination is evil! That’s the best way I can describe it. If you’re not careful it will control you and you’ll end up throwing your valuable time away. And time equals life! But identifying that you procrastinate is the first step towards taking charge. I’ve had to make a conscious decision not to waste my time. There’s not enough of it already for all the things we need to accomplish.
      I hope March will be a much more fruitful month for you. Thanks for reading and sharing a comment Diana. 🙂

      • Brett says:

        Hi June – First of all, congratulations on taking the leap and starting your own business.

        Checking analytics more frequently than I really need to and aimlessly surfing the internet without any real goal are my personal time management crutches. I’ll be trying out the blank sheet of paper test tomorrow. I like the idea of crossing off tasks I’ve accomplished.

  2. I really need to improve my time management. I’m planning to build a new blog and it still not moving. I should try and applied your advice.

    • June Whittle says:

      Fahmi, the best advice I can give you is to get started. Just go for it! We always put things off for tomorrow, but do we really know what tomorrow will bring? Live each day like it’s your last day. Do the best you can with the time you have NOW!

      Don’t wait! Start to build your new blog now. At least get your domain name and hosting sorted out. Take that first step. Good luck with it. 🙂

  3. Ninika says:

    We have to manage time for achieving success. Because, Success also need punctuality. We all should take care of this thing.

  4. June Whittle says:

    Too true Ninika. We put importance on punctuality when we’re working for someone else. But when it comes to our own business we seem to slack on important things like good time management. Good punctuality will help us climb the success ladder. 🙂

  5. prince says:

    this is a great post on time management because time is the thing that consumes half percent of new bloggers and i strongly recommend the above tips for improvement on time management, thanks for sharing this tips

    • June Whittle says:

      Thanks Prince. I’m glad you found this post useful. I know how much precious time I wasted unnecessarily and just wanted to help others avoid wasting their time. 🙂

  6. These are some practical and priceless time management tips I have come across in recent times. Thank you June for putting these together.

  7. June Whittle says:

    You’re welcome Godwin. Like I said in my post, wasting time is like wasting money and I know that the majority of us can’t afford to do that. 🙂

  8. Gaurang Joshi says:

    These are really some useful management tips, June.

    I usually unknowingly tend to waste my time, but I am damn sure after reading your article I can definitely get rid of it.

    Thank you for effective time management tips.

    • June Whittle says:

      You’re welcome Gaurang.

      I do hope that the advice in this article will help you manage your time better. It’s so important to be disciplined with our time.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. 🙂

  9. Abhishek says:

    This is so true and amazing article. I was looking for some article which can inspire me to take my attention away from facebook and concentrate more on my work. Thanks a lot for sharing this and I am going to implement all this in my life now

  10. Jannet says:

    Thanks for all the knowledge in this post. We all know that time is very precious and is a limited resource. Once we lost it, we can never get that time back or you can say we can never make up for it. Sp, it is very essential to learn how to manage our time properly. Kudos! Nice article!

  11. Robin Ashmore says:

    What a great blog full of great information it is just what I need at this time.

  12. June Whittle says:

    I’m so happy to hear that you’re going to implement the tips I shared. Facebook is one of the biggest time-waster 🙂 I used to be hooked on it. Now I only go on there when I need to. Freedom!

    Good luck with giving more time to your work.

  13. Paul says:

    I’m really bad at time management, my work load is always piled up on weekends. I think I really waste some good amount of time on unnecessary things. I really liked the tips about the time waster & good productivity.Will try the paper experiment from today itself. Good post, thanks for sharing.

  14. Thomas says:

    I’m really bad at time management. Meeting, clients, friends, family etc, cannot devote proper time. I really liked the page technique, will try from today night itself. Good post, thanks for sharing.

  15. James says:

    Time needs to be managed well, not leaving behind a chance to let it manage us. Time is a very precious part of our lives that will not come back, once gone. Planning the time we have with us to do tasks is the best option we have when it comes to managing time and not let it misuse us.

  16. Adam says:

    Completely agree. When I started, I failed miserably, I lost patience pretty quickly but it only added to my woes, it made me even more stressed. I gathered my thoughts and set out to stick to my schedule no matter what and today things are just fine. These are some really good tips and I think prioritizing your tasks is very important. Thanks for the share!

  17. Keith says:

    Great post and excellent advice! I’d like to add that we should set a number of hours for each task. Beside each item, we can write an estimated number of hours or minutes in which we should complete the allocated task. We should also try to avoid distractions that can stop us from doing our daily tasks. Too much email and social networks are 2 of the most common “time sucks” for me, and I am glad to say that I managed to lessen my use of these things during work. Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of note!

  18. Ricky says:

    Time management is essential in every field of life because it is a precious resource. It helps us to do our task in time and also utilize time more productively. Also it helps us to identify the useless activities which can be avoided.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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