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Take the “Time-Management Self Assessment Test” for the Writer! (Learn Conscious Control!)

Aside from craft questions, Time Management is maybe the number one issue writers bring up.   Questions I hear often:

“How do I fit writing into my busy schedule, I have work, kids, a spouse, my parents -I’m already overloaded?”  “How can I keep my husband from interrupting me?”  “Should I go to a coffee shop?”  “How do I ‘find the time’ to do what I most want to do, every moment seems to be accounted for?”  “How do I fit writing into my life when my day job is so overwhelming?”  

First, lets define what it is we are talking about.

Q: What is Time Management?

A:  It is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.

Key words in this definition:  CONSCIOUS CONTROL  – when you become conscious, you can exert control over your time.

If you are not sure if you need some assistance with your time management – take the assessment test below:

Time Management Self Assessment Test for the Writer

  1. Do you utilize goal setting?    Yes      No
  2. Do you make “To Do” Lists?    Yes     No
  3. Can you visualize your goals in detail?   Yes    No
  4. Do you know where (home, coffee shop, library…) you write best?    Yes      No
  5. Do you have a method to tackle procrastination?    Yes     No
  6. Do you have one or more people who help hold you accountable?    Yes     No
  7. Do you know how (computer, long hand, with bg noise?) you write best?   Yes     No
  8. Do you know what works for you to keep you motivated?    Yes    No
  9. Do you have a method to silence your inner critic?   Yes    No
  10. Do you know how to prioritize tasks?    Yes    No
  11. Do you know when (time of day) you write best?   Yes    No
  12. Do you set aside time to organize your time (for the week/day)?   Yes    No
  13. Do you have a method for handling interruptions?   Yes    No
  14. Are you committed 100% to finishing your first draft or rewrite?   Yes    No
  15. Do you have a method to eliminate multi-tasking and create focused attention?   Yes    No
  16. Do you utilize affirmations?   Yes    No
  17. Do you have writing rituals that keep you motivated?   Yes    No
  18. Do you feed your muse to keep yourself inspired to keep writing?   Yes    No
  19. Do you have a reward method for when you complete small writing tasks?   Yes    No
  20. Do you get enough sleep and eat healthy foods while writing?   Yes    No
  21. Do you keep distractions like e-mails and facebook to a minimum when you write?   Yes    No


How Many Times Did You Mark “Yes”_____________

How Many Times Did You Mark “No”______________

If More than 5 “No’s”   It’s time to build up some time management muscles!


Concrete Time Management Tools for The Writer

  • De-clutter your writing space
  • Learn how to prioritize
  • Make a Sunday to do list – prioritize!
  • Make a Daily to do list – prioritize!
  • Find your tools to limit procrastination
  • Find your tools to limit interruptions
  • Utilize deadlines
  • Create a writing routine that works for you
  • Utilize accountability partners/writing groups
  • Don’t wait for inspiration.
  • Utilize a regular writing time.

Time Management Mistakes/ 5 Things to avoid:

  1. Too many things on your “to do” list
  2. Multi-tasking
  3. Checking e-mails, facebook, tweeting (interrupts your focus)
  4. Working in environment where you often get interrupted
  5. Leaving e-mails in your in box (handle them when you read them)


How to Prioritize Your Writing Time:  Questions you can ask yourself to simplify your life and create a more effective writing practice:

  • What event or activity in my business or personal life can I eliminate to make room for writing?
  • What can I learn to say no to in my life?
  • How can I feel at peace enough to write even when I have a lot on my to-do list?

Things to consider when learning how to prioritize:

  • Time limits- what should be done daily, weekly, monthly, or at year’s end?
  • Weed out things you don’t need to do – drop em!
  • Consider how finishing will help you/hurt you – consequences of completing.

Tips to handle Procrastination:


  • Get organized (clear, inviting writing space)
  • Write up a priority list every night for the next day
  • Make sure to put good stuff (stuff you want to do!) on your to do list

  • Reward yourself for the amount of “to dos” that got done
  • Step out of comfort zone slowly – one step at a time – but keep moving
  • Utilize reminder notes (post-its)
  • Make sure your goals are realistic
  • Offer small rewards for completing tasks
  • Reward yourself for the moments that you do not procrastinate!

My Personal Motivation Map

  • What you will need to create your own Motivation Map:
  • Corkboard
  •  Affirmation
  • Visual picture of short term goal
  • Visual picture of Long term goal

“To Do” this week (done every Sunday)

You can add anything else that motivates you!

Power thought cards, sayings, phrases, quotes, photos.

Be creative.

Keep your personal Motivation Map in a place where you will see it daily.




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