I haven't done a Writers on Wednesday Post in a while, at least not one written by me, but I've been thinking a lot about how people spend their time and why some people are super productive and some people aren't. I don't think productivity necessarily equals success but I do think it is a lot easier to be successful if your are productive.
Lots of people ask me how I manage to get so many things done. I work basically full-time, have a family, I have a fairly active author profile on social media, I've just written my 20th book and I do have a social life and I read.
I've thought about this a lot. Here are some of my thoughts and tips on time management. (I'm a big believer in the 80-20 rule but you don't need me to tell you about that.
5 Time Management Tips
1. Perfection is the enemy of good
I'm not a perfectionist. I'm sure many people think this is a great failing of mine and I'm not sure they're entirely wrong but I do think you need to get out of your own way. A first draft doesn't need to be perfect, you're going to go back and redraft it again and again anyway. Spending an hour finding the perfect image for a social media post is a waste of time...if it's a Christmas post, choose a festive image and get it done. Not sending out a newsletter because you don't have the perfect graphic is also crazy. You will get better the more you do things. Some times you will have to compromise but getting it done is more important. I'm not saying be sloppy and I'm not saying put crap out into the universe, I'm just saying don't let perfectionism stop you from making progress. Keep in mind so much of what we do is subjective anyway, not everyone will agree that thing you spet hours perfecting is amazing anyway.
2. Set goals and stick to them
It doesn't matter what your goals are you need them. It might be you want to write one book in a year. If you wrote 500 words a day you'd have around of 130,000 words. It will probably take you 30-45 minutes a day (you'll get faster). That's a book done and edited.
Write 500 a day and then edit 500 a day and you have one book i half an hour a day. You can do that.
You can post on social media 3 times a week. (Half an hour total).
You can spend one hour a week on marketing your books. (Less than 10 minutes a day.)
I think you need to write goals where you can see them. A whiteboard, a sticky note on a mirror, the back of your front door, on your car's sun visor. You need the visual reminder.
3. Life happens in small chunks of time - use them.
I wrote a post a while back about how to make a difference if you only have 5 minutes. I think this is where we lose a lot of our time in the 21st century. We say we have no time for our author social media and yet we spend hours on platforms doing idle stuff.
I'm a big believer in using small blocks of time. If I had waited for a big chunk or time I'd never have done anything. I wrote my first book, and many since using 30 minute chunks or as long as a children's TV show lasted. Maybe you believe you need a whole hour to write anything. That belief is a big part of your problem. There's a way around that. If you have a 15 minute break in the day (in the car waiting for the kids, your lunch break at work, waiting at an appointment) make some notes on the next scene or chapter in your book and then when you finally get half an hour use that as your jumping off point.
Some people would call this plotting. Lots of people hate that word and many of the people who hate that word also struggle with deadlines, procrastination and time management. Don't call this process plotting - I call it pre-thinking. I pre-think about what I want to write so that when I go to write I know exactly what I want to say.
4. Be honest with yourself.
If you have time to watch every episode or the Bachelor, This Is Us, Survivor and the Great British Bake-Off you have time to write. If you spend an hour a day on Facebook, you have time to write. Look at how you really spend your time and cut something out. I'm not saying everything, just something.
If you don't make writing a priority it won't happen. I've done NaNoWriMo several times now. I love this as an exercise in showing you where you waste time. It's taught me excellent time management skills just by discovering where my free time really lies and where my procrastination takes place.
Be honest about who you are and what works for you - life is not one size fits all. I am not a morning person. I do not write well at six in the morning. I know that. I'm not going to lie to myself and pretend otherwise. I'm better off getting an extra hour's sleep and writing at eleven in the morning or six at night. I don't feel bad about that any more.
Here's another thing to consider - maybe you like the idea of writing but you don't really want to write. Writing is hard, it takes commitment and it's not for everyone. Some people have one or two books in them and that's it. There's nothing wrong with that.
I know lots of people who spend more time reading writing books, attending talks and classes and conferences than they ever do writing. That's absolutely fine. They love the world of writing and the wonderful people in it and the idea of being an author. I love all those things too, but maybe they don't love the process and practice of writing as much. Just be honest with yourself if that's you. Let yourself off the hook and have fun. Don't spend your whole life guilty about not getting any writing done.
5. Be adaptable. Learn to pivot.
Life is messy. Plans change. People get sick. Books are published and don't sell. Deadlines are missed. You need to learn to let the time between the change and the time you adapt be as small as possible.
If your day hits a bump at 10am and you planned to write then rather than think "I guess I can't achieve anything today" try and think "How can I claw back some of that time and still get something done." It might not be the same something but something. Maybe you can book some promo, maybe you can schedule some social media, maybe you can put on the washing and fill out the school notes you were planning to do tomorrow so you have extra time tomorrow.
Alter your plan, be adaptable but don't change your goal...just change how you reach it.
This list is not exhaustive. I haven't discussed any tools I use to help me manage my time. Time is just a construct so how we approach it and how we treat it is just as important as what we actually do with it . These tips are really all about respecting time and be honest with yourself about how you really want to use it. For me, that's the biggest challenge.
An Italian Count for Christmas (London Lords Book 1) by Sasha Cottman
Count Nico de Luca has been blessed with wealth, power, and a seductive Italian body. Though women lust after him, the one thing Nico has never been able to possess is the love of a woman.
After his intended bride jilts him to marry another, Nico decides that he will stick to matters of business and leave love to other fools.
Arriving in London to inspect his investments, he is invited to stay for Christmas as the guest of one of his tenants, a poor young widow, Isabelle Collins.
In Isabelle, Nico discovers a rare beauty, and as much as he fights temptation, he soon loses his heart to her.
Left in reduced circumstances by her blackguard of a late husband, Isabelle is in no hurry to hand her heart over to yet another self-assured male, especially one who has no intention of remaining in England.
But Nico is persuasive and nights of passion spent in his arms soon have Isabelle questioning the sort of future she wants. Can she risk giving up her country and home on the chance of finding love again?
When Nico discovers the shocking truth of how Isabelle’s husband died, he realizes that he will have to risk everything he has to win Isabelle’s heart and finally break his love curse.Get your copy here
Go on Girl, by Hilary Grossman
Executive, wife, and mother of an outgoing first-grader, Sydney Clayton crushes her day-to-day obligations at work but flounders in the cutthroat world of parental politics.
She manages to avoid the local drama until she’s faced with an ultimatum: join the Forest River PTA or risk her daughter becoming a social outcast. Sydney reluctantly becomes treasurer, and takes the recently vacated position of the president’s sidekick. If protecting the children’s freedom of speech, one best friend ban at a time, isn’t complicated enough, Sydney and her husband receive an unexpected offer for their house they don’t think they can refuse.
Embroiled in the deception and manipulation rife among the elementary school moms, Sydney struggles. Should she sell the home she worked so hard to build in a town where betrayal runs rampant? Or should she stay put to avoid the fallout from uprooting her child? As Sydney focuses on what is best for her daughter, and lets go of her judgments, she finds friendship can develop in very unexpected ways.
Warm, witty, and wise, Go On, Girl dramatizes the dilemmas of life in the suburbs and the bonds shared by women. Perfect for fans of Class Mom and Big Little Lies.
Get your copy here
The Scarlet Letter of the Law by Lexi Greene
When Tony Radcliff joins Forbes Lawyers, career-driven Scarlet O'Connor suddenly has serious competition for the coveted senior associate position that is the foundation-stone of her future.
And Tony has a couple of aces up his sleeve. Like his surf-sculpted body, which plays havoc with Scarlet’s ‘all work and no play’ plans for partnership and his brother, who holds the key to a secret from her past.
When Scarlet and Tony start steaming up the office windows, there’s no doubt they're playing with fire. But there can only be one winner, so who gets burned?
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The Perfect Catch (Kissing the Enemy Book 1)
Her brother's best friend used to be Callie's friend too. But that was before he became a jerk, and then her coach, and now...her first kiss.
There's no doubt about it, Noah is avoiding Callie like the plague now that she's living in the dorms on his college campus. She'd hoped this weeklong softball clinic would help put their past awkwardness behind them--after all, he'd taught her everything she knows about the game. But her brother's best friend is more of a jerk than ever. Until he kisses her. And now...well, now she doesn't know what's going on between them. But it doesn't matter, not really. She's not here for Noah, she's only here to show the recruiters at the big showcase game that she has what it takes to play for a college team.
It's a solid plan...until it all falls apart. Thanks to Noah's overprotective interference, she's kicked out of the showcase game, and any chance of college scholarships slips out of her reach. But there might be a way to salvage her plan and her future. She just has to be seen, right? Noah's the new coach for a charity softball event and he owes her big time. She might just be able to save her scholarship chances if she can survive his coaching...and his kisses.
Get it here
Frankie B - Captain's Gold - A paranormal witch cozy mystery (Marina Witches Mysteries Book 2)
Faced with a potentially-lethal blood curse, should she really be on this crazy treasure hunt? Yes, if finding the gold will help break the curse.
Rid of the ghost of Captain Russell Garnet, Frankie thought she could get on with life, if only she wasn’t lumbered with this pesky blood curse. And if only her troublesome grandmamma — the not so ex-pirate — Anne Bonny hadn’t managed to get herself in a heap of trouble.
But before any rescue can take place, Frankie needs to get a handle on her new witchy powers. While she’s no longer stuck with housework spells and the occasional ward, her new power levels are unstable at best. And completely missing, at worst.
And yet again, she’s training with the drop-dead gorgeous Zane, making concentration difficult, especially when the air between them is laced with magic.
Will Frankie break the curse, and find out who killed her mom and dad, or will she die trying? With Dex, her familiar, and Zane at her side, how can she possibly fail?
Grab a copy here
The Wedding Photo (Wedding Bouquet Novellas Book 1)
An outrageous dress. An unexpected proposal. A photo that never should have happened.
Bridesmaid Katherine's perfect boyfriend, Michael, just got down on one knee and she screwed it all up. What is wrong with her? And what is she going to tell Michael?
Bryan doesn't get close to people. Not anymore. Maybe he dropped out of life a little bit, but, hey, it was his life to drop out of.
But when Bryan's photography hobby accidentally makes Katherine a viral sensation, all bets are off. Suddenly, she's in his face and he's not unhappy about it. Maybe she isn't either...
Can one picture change everything?
The Wedding Photo is the first book in the Wedding Bouquet romantic comedy novella series. If you like light, sweet, romantic reads told with humor and heart, you'll love The Wedding Photo.
Grab a copy to curl up with today.
(The Wedding Photo is a Sweetheart Read. The romance is sweet, the language is clean.)
Grab a copy today
Saving Sarah (The Gold Coast Retrievers Book 1)
A shy girl, a social guy, a second chance to get their stories right…
Sarah Campbell loves living vicariously through the residents at the Redwood Cove Rest Home. But when a surly patient insists she can’t die before “setting things right,” Sarah finds she may end up taking on far more than she ever bargained for… especially since all signs point to murder. Have she and her therapy dog Lucky stumbled upon the key to solving the most famous cold case in Gold Coast history?
Despite creating the world’s most popular social network, Finch Jameson lives a life of ashamed solitude. The last thing he wants is to draw attention to himself, but that’s exactly what happens when a distant relative delivers an earth-shattering confession in her dying days. Soon he finds himself more intrigued by the shy and beautiful nurse who’s committed to helping him solve his great-aunt Eleanor’s mystery than in the mystery itself. But will she ever let her guard down long enough to let him in?
Can Finch and Sarah work together to solve Eleanor’s big mystery before time runs out? And might redeeming Eleanor’s legacy somehow save them both in the process?
Find out if Lucky can help these two humans get to the bottom of this mystery and get a head start on their own love story. This sweet tale of suspense, secrets, and second chances is one you won’t want to miss... Get your copy and start reading today!
Hot Mess: Lucy Davenport: Season One, Episode One (The CRD Series Book 2)
In the pilot for the series, you met the #Davenport clan and all their craziness.
Pick up in episode one where the pilot for the book left off.
Lucy Davenport is a Hot Mess, no doubt. She’s digging herself in deeper and deeper with the surprise announcement from her in-laws. They are demanding that she marry Cash Davenport, her deceased husbands brother. Her family will bond together to fight them, but their hilarious
dys-FUN-ctional antics will land them in trouble, maybe even in jail.
Warning: If you are looking for a sweet, sensitive book with a happily ever after, this isn’t it. It is a totally inappropriate book about a completely dysfunctional family. The F word flies free along with many other curse words. Feel free to get drunk (because the Davenports sure are!) while you’re reading it, and prepare to wet yourself laughing. If sex scenes are not your thing, this book might not be your thing. But, if you have a crazy sense of humor and like raunchy comedies - you’re in the right place. Join in on the craziness of The Crazy Rich Davenport Family.
Get it here