Time management is something I’m constantly struggling with. That is probably the case for most writers who have another job as well or are moms and dads. Despite having a job I like and a family, I see writing as one of the most important things in my life and there is a reason for that: It makes me happy and it is always there for me, whatever else goes wrong. So, I try to make as much room for it in my life as possible and today I would like to talk a little about the strategies I use to do that. One thing that is important to note is that not everything I plan also works out the way I want it to. There’s a lot of trial and error in how I approach this. Also, like everything else time management is something very personal so what works for me could be a total fail for someone else.
I also want to mention that every now and then it feels as if my life is coming apart at the seems and nothing seems to work out the way I plan it to. Videos and texts about time management often seem to me as if the person making them is 100 percent structured and has their life under control 24/7. That’s not the case with me. Sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster ride and I just try to hang on until I’m able to get everything back on track again.
That said, the most important thing for me was to find time slots for writing. I have to work or do household chores in the mornings and also for me that’s not my most creative time, fortunately. The afternoons are often used for family time or more household chores (which I hate by the way). I also try to be a little active during this time. Go for a walk, do Yoga or go jogging (on a perfect day). If I have the time, I also try to do some editing or plotting in the afternoon.
I was always able to write best in the evening and that hasn’t changed. I love going to my desk and open my laptop when the kids are in bed and I know this is the time I really have for myself. I often start at nine pm. And write until ten or eleven pm. That doesn’t allow me to write a lot of words (on most days it’s around 500, sometimes I manage 1000 on a good day or only 200 when I’m really exhausted). I must say, though that the habit of writing every day has proven beneficial for me. I’m not saying it always works, but it’s easy to motivate myself to try for 200 words, because I know I can always somehow squeeze out those twenty sentences. And sometimes that turns into a good writing session. It also has the advantage for me of never getting out of my flow.
Another thing that has really helped me with my writing process is the bullet journal I started in May. I have a regular calendar, in which I write all of my work and family-related dates and birthdays. And then there’s my journal, that only holds my writing projects and what I want to do for self-care. I’ve noticed that for me those two things are intertwined. On the one hand, writing is a sort of self-care for me, on the other hand, I have to use the free time that I have for getting some fresh air or do Yoga because otherwise, I don’t feel good enough to write.
My bullet journal gives me a feeling of having a writer’s life, which I love, even though there are sometimes so many other things going on. Having this journal reminds me of what one of my highest priorities is. And of course, it also shows me my own progress, which helps a lot.
What I find really important when working on a schedule is not only defining your priorities but also to find our which things hat cost a lot of time you can reduce or cut out from your life completely. (Wish I could o that with housework…) For me, that was watching TV for example. I don’t really miss it, but I feel a little sorry that I’m missing out on so many cool series and movies. I watch maybe two seasons of a series a year and five to seven movies. So, I really have to decide what I want to see. That might not be a good idea for everyone, because watching movies or series can of course be very inspiring, but for me reading is more important I realized.
As I’m going to be a mom again in September my schedule is probably going to change again. I hope that I can find new slots for writing or even keep the old one. I’ll keep you updated.