Wednesday, May 1, 2013

#IWSG: How Can I Find the Time to Do Everything I Want to Do?




First Wed of Every Month        Another A to Z accomplished and now to jump right into our insecurities as writers as we join Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.   I'm not too keen about focusing on my writing insecurities after successfully completing my 26 A to Z posts on all four of my blogs with a few additional posts on the A to Z Blog.  But I'll be reflecting more on the A to Z Challenge this coming Friday May 3rd right here on Tossing It Out.  For more information about the annual Blogging from A to Z Challenge Reflections Post please visit the A to Z Blog.

         So what insecurities to bring up today?  Let me delve back to my post from February 25th of this year.    At that time I announced my intent to start a Wednesday series called "Ask Arlee" and requested that readers submit questions to which I might offer my solutions.   Now that April is done and we are back to normal in a sense, I will resume this feature.  And today being Wednesday we'll start with a question that I get a bit insecure about myself.

         This dilemma comes from Julie Anne Nelson, Young Adult Author:

All right, here's my question:
How do I find time to do the business/marketing side of writing when I am already working two full-time jobs with the job that supports me and the writing that creates the books?
(I am also starting a garden this year and getting a new puppy... neither of which is negotiable... although I do see some comical dichotomies in those two events. Mental note: must put fences around the garden... or the puppy... or both.) :) 

        

       Oh boy, this hits straight home on one of the problems that seems to continually vex me. There's never enough time in the day to do everything I need to do and would like to get done and still have time to watch a movie now and then or take a really adequate afternoon nap. I don't know how anyone with a full time job (let alone two jobs!) can take on writing and life in general. You add in the business/marketing side and you've got more than seems feasible.

Prioritize

      It almost seems trivial to mention prioritizing things, but I know that's what I need to do in my life. I'm sure you're probably prioritizing already. The regular job is a must unless you can find some other kind of income flow or the writing really breaks loose in a big way. Gardens and puppies are probably good to maintain your sanity and keep balance in your life.

Schedule

       If you haven't tried making a list or schedule to see where your time is going then that might be an approach to take. Maybe you're losing some time or even wasting it somewhere. I keep intending to do this list thing, but procrastination is one of my big enemies along with the issue of available time. You can't add any hours to your day, but maybe you can juggle things around to create more efficient time use.

Delegate

      Another good solution is delegating work to others. Recruit whoever you can to help with the garden, the puppy, household duties, or whatever. I don't know your circumstances, but you might be able to take some of the burden off yourself and let some kind souls in your life circle to help you out. Especially if it might mean that you may become rich and famous one day, they might be more than willing to share in your success.

Organize

     The business/marketing end is where the social networking comes into play so nicely. Initially you may have to invest a bit of time getting this aspect organized and honed to a greater precision. You already have your start with the blog and Facebook. If you get these tools along with Twitter, Goodreads, and an array of other networking media coordinated and automated wherever possible, then those should keep you in the web radar on a regular basis.

Network

      Don't forget your network of friends and fellow authors. It takes some time investment to build the platform, but it's time well spent. Once you've got a solid base of support out there, your friends can help with the marketing through tours, mentions, and whatever support they are willing to muster. Be sure to give back what you can in return, but don't just try to do it all on your own.

Fan Base

     Perhaps most importantly let your fans do a good part of your marketing for you. If you are turning out good product that readers like, they will be anxious to pick up on your next offering and to tell others about it. Maybe put out a newsletter for the fans and supporters to provide monthly updates of what's happening.

The Pay Off

     Sure, it all takes some time to do this. But it takes time to make time. What you invest now should pay off in the end if you've done it right. Maybe you know all of this already. If not I hope my suggestions help you. And since this post is for all of the readers, I hope it helps a number of you to consider your options. This applies to more things than just writing. Time is the nemesis we all face, but if we are able to manage it better, time can be our friend. Well, kind of a friend.

        Are you challenged by keeping your time managed well? Do you live by a strict schedule? What are some time saving tricks that you use in order to get more things done in your life?

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30 comments:

  1. A very good question and a very good post to answer it. I'm not anywhere near the publishing stage and to justify spending time on writing, I have to show that it has the ability to generate income, otherwise the time I would spend on it needs to be spent on stuff that will. But of course, it will never get published if I don't spend time on it. Catch-22 situation.

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  2. I guess if you want it bad enough, you make the time.
    I work full time and play in a band (which means daily guitar practice) so my time is limited as well. I'm not a natural multi-tasker, but I've had to learn to do it in order to get everything done.

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  3. I always try to find time for what I want to do, but sometimes emergencies have to take priority.
    Good that you;re going to do the questions again.

    Yvonne.

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  4. Nicely done Lee!
    I do think planning always helps~
    Life did get in my way last month, but trying to move forward~ I so appreciate this post and all you have done! Thank you~

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  5. Well said, Arlee. I've got the writing time down. I've peeled back on blogging time so I can visit and comment on others blogs. Some how I have to figure out better marketing techniques. Sometimes I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm very laid back.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  6. I had to bookmark this Lee because it's simply amazing advice and I've been going through a tough time managing time recently, it's been so difficult and I have no idea how even more popular people like yourself manage to look after your time, it's pretty inspiring and stops me complaining too much.

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  7. Bibliophile - You just have to write some. Maybe 30 minutes a day for a designated trial period? I've been writing only with blogging of late and that's where I probably have to pull back.

    Alex -- Making time is my point. But with the time limitations you sometimes have to make some sacrifices or get help.

    Yvonne -- You're right that life sometimes hands us surprises and that's what can be devastating.

    Ella -- I think a schedule is good to have and then tweaking it as you go.

    Shelly -- Marketing is essentially an aggressive activity that's why it helps to have aggressive fans and supporters if you don't have a powerhouse marketing team behind you.

    Yeamie-- Believe me, Matthew, I often feel like such a failure with managing my time. Fortunately you are young and probably have a lot more energy than I have.

    Lee

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  8. What is this marketing you speak of?

    Yeah, I don't have anything to add.

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  9. All very good advice. I'm still working on much of this, sadly.

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  10. I bought a book that deals with that very thing and it is priceless! My husband and I, who run two businesses together, are going through it chapter by chapter doing the exercises and already have seen amazing results. Like all nonfiction how to books it has this really long title that I can never remember but it's written by Elizabeth Grace Saunders. I plan on blogging about it soon because it's so awesome I want to share it with the world!

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  11. This is a great post. It is the choices we make that let us accomplish, or do what we need to. Well said and well written.

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  12. Andrew -- Yes, the beloved by all topic of marketing.

    L.Diane -- I need to make some lists.

    Samuel - I know how it is my friend.

    Karen -- Books like that can be very helpful if we put them into action. Or you can do like me and put the books on your bookshelf. I'm very organized in this respect.

    Liza -- Thank you. When you come right down to it, real success is the result of a dedicated work effort.

    Lee

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  13. And all summed up it's about being mindful and in control by not letting time slip away.
    Wonderful post, Lee!

    Lynda R Young
    IWSG co-host

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  14. You gave some excellent tips but at the end of the day we put most of our efforts into what we consider a priority.

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  15. Hi Arlee, great advice. I badly need to prioritize and get more organised as well as cut down on distractions.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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  16. Delegate is a great step. But one needs helpers to delegate to. That's why I make myself available with the W4WS thing to help people promote their books.

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  17. Lynda -- And I fritter away a lot of time. Gotta stop that.

    Sheena -- I'd like to think this is true, but it isn't always. I've spent a great deal of time on things that weren't priorities for me, but I did them anyway. So I think you're mostly right, but it's not always the case and certainly not the case for everybody.

    Munir -- Thanks

    Rachna-- Yes, those distractions can be real time slayers. I've got way too many of them for my good.

    Stephen -- And this is the beauty of social media. Once we're connected we get a lot of support from those in our communities.

    Lee

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  18. Lee,

    I find that learning when you are most creative and want to write- for me first thing in the morning- is the best time to schedule that activity.

    When other responsibilities preclude me writing in the morning and I try and fit it in later in the day I get much less accomplished and am not as happy with the results.

    Make the best use of your time by working when you will be most efficient and it saves time spent re-writing later.

    Kate

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  19. My biggest time management challenge is this - blogging. I understand the concept of needing to follow and comment on other peoples' blogs if I want to build a following on my own - and I enjoy doing this - but I can't seem to get a handle on the time involved. If there's a secret to it, I wish someone would share it with me.

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  20. time management -- my holy grail - I stink at it, way too many things to do and I don't follow the solution steps well either.... but I'm trying!

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  21. Being a student, I basically have to balance a ton of things out. Thanks for sharing this post!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  22. Kat -- Morning can be a good time for me as well, though nighttime I can find pretty creative if I'm able to stay up.

    LD -- You and me both. If I weren't doing so much blogging activity I'd have a lot more additional time.

    Diana -- Keep trying! And retain what works and get rid of that which doesn't.

    Gina -- When I was a student and holding a job as well I was in the same boat. And then there was all the fun stuff. I had more energy back then too.

    Lee

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  23. Yes, Lee, I am very challenged by juggling time demands. I try to start the day with the Lord and that helps set the priorities for the day. Thanks for the advice. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living

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  24. Lee covered the time management and all the rest of it superbly with great advice, but I do have two things to add.

    Spend your time and marketing budget wisely. I haven't even finished my first novel yet, but I read L. Diane's book (her comment is above) about publishing and marketing and she has excellent advice about this particular task in your life. I plan to follow what she says once I do finish it.

    Secondly, and this comes straight from Mary Kay Ash's biography, and goes along with what Arlee said about delegation. Once you can afford it, get someone to clean your house. There are already far too many tasks in your life that only YOU can do. Let someone else do the mundane stuff. I took this to heart and have employed teenagers from my church to clean my house since I got my wrist fused. Money well spent.

    Tina @ Life is Good

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  25. Prefect post for me this month as I try to get back into the swing of things. Thank you!

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  26. Maria -- I think you have your priorities straight.

    Tina -- Uh, did you have to bring up housecleaning?

    Jenn-- Yes, I totally agree. April has dallied with my time.

    Lee

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  27. I've been listening to audiobooks on my commute and speaking my posts for editing later at home. Trying to use every moment as efficiently as possible. The little one is still very time consuming.

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  28. Buck-- Having had four kids of my own I know how time-consuming little ones can be, but it's one of the most important investments that we can make as parents. Audio-books are great for drive time. I've listened to them on long trips and it's a good way to pass time while learning something.

    Lee

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