This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Time Management

Edison time clockEdison time clock (Photo credit: Anita363)

                In the comments for one of my earlier posts in this A to Z marketing series, Shelly from Second Hand Shoes requested, "I'm really liking your posts on marketing.  I'd like to see one on managing your time with marketing if you're a writer.   But you've probably already planned your posts for A to Z."

            Well, guess what--I'm not so good with time managementsometimes.   With four blogs entered in this year's Challenge in addition to my role as an A to Z co-host, I got a bit behind my intended schedule.  Two of of my blogs I finished ahead of time.  On Wrote By Rote I planned out all of my posts and finished about two-thirds of them.  On Tossing It Out I planned most of my topics ahead of time, but I've been writing as the Challenge progresses. 

            That being said, I think that I have an understanding of some good approaches to time management as do probably most of you.  Sometimes time management is easier said than done.  We all have things to do and other things that arise in our lives to hinder us from doing what we need to do.  Jobs, families, household responsibilities, friends, recreational opportunities...whew!--the list never seems to end.  How do we find the time for everything that must be done and still include writing or whatever the passion is that we truly want to pursue and the marketing that accompanies that pursuit?

           There will always be those things that throw us off schedule, but that doesn't mean we can't still maintain some kind of time management plan.   Time management may sound like an ordeal, but it doesn't have to be.  Here are some approaches you can try:

The Trip Schedule--  Treat your day like a journey.   Figure out your departure time and your arrival time and factor in all stops in between.   You can create accomplishment maps with stops along the way that represent the things you have to do.  Draw up a time table that outlines your stops in order to see where you have time to fill in.      
The Event Planner---Treat your book or special project like an event.  After all that's what it is.  Aim for a planned finish date and work backwards from that.  Be realistic and give yourself adequate time.  Make a list of everything that needs to be done and create a series of deadlines that you can check off as you go. 

The Daily Grind---  This is not so much of an analogy as it is a fact of life.  Our lives mostly run on some sort of schedule.  If you have a book to write, a quilt to sew, or something else that is your special life ambition on the side, then you have to figure out where in your schedule you are going to squeeze it.  Maybe you'll have to give up something else that you like to do.  Decide what your priorities are and make as much room as you need to attend to these priorities after the duties of the daily grind have been taken care of. 

             Let's face it.  Time is limited and there is not much you can do to change that.  However, you can make trade-offs to accommodate your dreams.  If you're spending too much time doing housework can you get help with it somehow?   If you're driving a two hour commute every day, can you car pool or take public transportation so you can follow some of your own pursuits in that time. 

              When you have something that you want to do that is outside of your normal daily life, you may have to make some sacrifices in order to do it.  What are you willing to give up?  Television shows, club-hopping, bridge night, or some other recreational activities?  How badly do you want to achieve your dreams and are your loved ones going to back you up on doing it? 

               There are always things in life that we want to do and other things that we must do.  The question we must always be ready to ask ourselves is what are we willing to give up in order to do what we must do?  After that we have to find the proper balance to make our dreams be fulfilled to the utmost without turning those dreams into nightmares.   In the end it's all about balance.

Speaking about Time:

One blog that sounds pretty involved with time is Living 2012: Every Minute--Every Hour--Every Day.  Actually Kathleen Medina is all about family and making the best of time with family.   She was also one of our A to Z Video Contest entrants and you can see her clever video here.

Ruby can be found at Blabbin' Grammy.   She could be listed under T for Texas, T for Tennessee since she was originally from the latter before moving to the Lone Star State.   But I can guarantee you that Ruby knows a thing or two about time--she sure knows how to fill up her days.  And she's been telling a great tale for her A to Z entries.  The 2012 A to Z is her third year participating in the April Challenge.

Another blog about time--as in having a good time--is Al's Penwasser Place.  I dare you to read one of Al's posts and keep a straight face.  You might think I should have featured Al's blog on P day--no, I'm not going to go there.  Let's stick with time--good time.

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  1. Some great tips here Lee although the post over lapped the A to Z badge and was difficult to read.
    Maybe it was my pc I don't know.


  2. Awesome post Lee, you're right about everything as well, there's nothing more important than judging time for advertising with work because it's like a scale, you want it to balance instead of being tipped in favour of one side.

  3. Ah,time management...a daily battle of priorities. I struggle daily.

  4. I'm fairly happy with how I manage my time, and yet I know that this year I'll have more fails than I usually would, because of all the stuff that's taken away time from my 'goals' schedule ;)

    Great post, Lee!

  5. Ha! The myth of Time Management!! I don't believe it really exists! :)

  6. Treating your day like a journey is a great mindset. I used to be such a scheduler. But after I had kid #4, that all went to the waste-side. I find a bit of planning, while leaving room for compromise, allows me to accomplish more...on most days. lol

  7. Good post. I'm terrible at time management. For me, the problem lies in that whole 'set realistic goals' area. I have no idea what is realistic!

    If I can type 85 words per minute, it's perfectly logical to me that I should be able to write 5K words an hour. or maybe 3K if I'm being slow and lazy and typing at only 50WPM.

  8. Good post, Lee. I especially liked the idea of treating the day like a journey. One thing I struggle with is being okay with making an unscheduled stop now and then in order to sight-see. :)

  9. Hmm, I think I needed to read this post BEFORE the A to Z began. I'm usually quite good at managing my time but I do get drawn in to doing the things I love best of all. (You should see my ironing pile!)

    What I don't understand is that thing about giving a job to a busy person. It works every time. I suppose it's because once you're on a roll you can't stop.
    A to Z of Nostalgia

  10. Good points Lee.

    With blogging, the more one does it, the more work it becomes.

    I am all about lists for organization. It least it makes me feel good to check off a few things.

  11. Yvonne -- The page looked fine on Chrome but when I checked it on IE it was like you said. I think I've fixed it now. Thanks for letting me know. It took some time to fix, but I needed to do it.

    Yeamie -- Balance in everything.

    Em -- I always struggle with time management as well.

    Trisha -- For some things I'm happy but others not. I still don't have absolute balance, but then again I might be trying to do too much.

    Heather -- You might be right. We all probably need to simplify our lives more.

    SA - The more extraneous factors, the more allowances we need to put into the formula.

    Amalie -- Sometimes realistic goals and real life don't cooperate.

    Madeline -- When the sight is worth seeing I think it's essential to stop. Sometimes we just need to toss out the schedule and revise the plan.

    Rosalind -- If we all had a service staff to take care of the mundane chores, we could get so much more done--eh? Real life gets so intrusive on our ambitions. I suppose when a person is efficient they seem to be the logical choice to get things done.

    Slamdunk -- Lists help me because I'm so forgetful and I have too many things I want to do.


  12. Coincidentally, just last week, I decided to make an hour by hour schedule. I went to Google, found a daily schedule sheet, printed it and photocopied more, and I'm off! It has worked a few days, and a few days, it hasn't. I think I'll stick with it and try to make it a habit. It was so nice to realize that I couldn't do everything that I would, ordinarily, have just listed on a card. One day, I realized that dinner was not on it, so I had to, as you mentioned, "sacrifice" something else for the sake of eating. :)

    I've been "here" a long time ago when I had a corporate job, and then gave the schedule up when I had kids, like your mom of 4 commenter above. But now, it's time for it again. I think we discussed before, that we both feel that it is NOT enough time in the day! And that's a good thing. :)

  13. I've come to accept that there are only so many hours in a day and there are some days when not matter how hard I try things just aren't going to be completed.

    The tips you've given in this post are solid! Great post Lee.

  14. Time is the essence. And I'll visit the good time blogs!

    Arlee, my blog has a new address and it is on my profile. Thank you Arlee.

  15. I like to think I'm good with time management, but I'm going to have to get even better. But then, I'm a perfectionist.

  16. I managed time far more effectively when I was a working mother - now time expands to accommodate whatever I'm doing and I still don't have enough of it;-)

  17. Hi, Lee,
    Thanks for the shout out about my blog. I am having such a blast at writing it. After I finish this story I may go back to a previous year or two on Challenges and finish a couple that I began during them. I didn't realize how much fun it would be to do a complete long story. JUst happened by your blog today. Best wishes.
    Love, Ruby

  18. thanks for taking the time to give all of these wonderful ideas to us

  19. Anita -- I keep meaning to do that hourly schedule thing to see if it would help me. I think I have a day planner book somewhere that I could put to use. I need something.

    Jen -- Too bad we can't buy more time. We always borrow or steal more time from somewhere else in our lives.

    Oceangirl - I'll check out the new address.

    Wendy -- Whenever I seem to have time under control something comes up to mess up my schedule. Time rules us and not the other way around.

    Jabblog-- Work seems to center time for us to a greater extent. When we try to conform to our own schedule time seems more difficult to organize.

    Ruby -- I'll need to go back to finish where I left off. It's been a very good story.

    Lynn-- You are quite welcome.


  20. Yeah it's those things outside of the norm that mess with my day's schedule.

  21. As someone who has struggled with finding the right time management method -- especially one that works so well that it's continued on a regular basis, I like how you described it in terms of traveling.

    I can attest to the mention of taking public transportation in place of driving because it frees up more of your time. I've written many blog posts and worked on many outlines and jotted down many ideas for my writing or other projects all while riding public transportation.

    Now, most of these trips I speak of were on out-of-town travels on the likes of Greyhound, etc. rather than city based transportation services but I'm sure the same can apply there as well :)

    I also agree with what you said about making sacrifices for things that mean the most to us. In our faced paced world, time management does not come easy but sacrificing activities that we don't necessarily have to do, for what we're passionate about can bring us closer to getting a hold on those seconds, minutes and hours that seem to slip away faster than we can say "accomplishment."

    Blog: The Madlab Post
    *Rockin' the A to Z Challenge!*
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

  22. Well this A to Z challenge has certainly taught me a thing or two about time & time management or my lack thereof. It sounded so simple but in reality it has been a huge growing experience and learning to manage my time is a perpetual struggle.

    *~ MAJK ~*
    Twitter @Safireblade
    A to Z Blog Challenge

  23. well, I am good at knowing what I need to do and managing my time, I really am...I know, there's always a but...BUT, I don't always want to do what is on my calendar so that's when I struggle and find twenty other things to occupy my time :)

  24. It is hard to decide how to spend the day - write or market? I try to do mostly writing with a little marketing but we shall see...

  25. Wow! You have four blogs in the challenge? Do you have a cook and a maid and a valet? Maybe it's just your good time management ,I salute you sir and take my hat off to you!!

  26. Alex -- Yeah, nothing like an unexpected monkey wrench tossed into the machine.

    Nicole - Excellent points all. We need to escape now and then, but entertainment while fun and sometimes memorable is rarely a sound investment in our futures. A couple of hours relaxing with a movie while a couple days and a few hundred dollars at an amusement park could be debated as to its usefulness in the long run.

    Majik -- The A to Z Challenge presents many options for time expenditure and that in a sense becomes the biggest challenge of all.

    Tracy -- There's always something that can distract us and they are frequently viable alternatives or at least arguable choices.

    Libby -- You need to do some of both. It's a matter of deciding when and to what degree.


  27. Cassam -- I started ahead of time so that helped. But my point here is that I still need time management help. A valet, a maid, and a cook would be wonderful--maybe someday.


  28. Time is all about priorities and trade offs. It's a constant balance, but makes for full and interesting days.

  29. I started scheduling writing time, housework time etc in Outlook - I thought if I got an email telling me it was time to hoover, or check emails, or start writing then I'd do it. I didn't. I deleted the email - it turns out I don't like being told what to do, even if I'm the one doing the telling!

    So I still haven't got a perfect system.

  30. I work on tradeoffs. Sometimes I just don't get that hour for uninterrupted writing or writing-related jobs. There's family or friends or (heaven forbid) a clean house that need that time, so I give it. Then the next morning I get up an hour earlier and give myself that uninterrupted time.

    Interesting that we both wrote about time today.

  31. This blog challenge has messed with my usual writing time. I need to do double time in May.

  32. God - four blogs?!!! I barely manage one blog.

    Sonia Lal @ Story Treasury

  33. Hi Arlee! Great post on time management. This is something I struggle with. Will try some of your tips.

  34. Paula -- It's nice when you can find the time to do nothing but sleep, watch movies, or do something recreational.

    Annalisa -- Sounds good in concept I guess.

    C.Lee -- I think time is on a lot of our minds. I guess we all have similar dilemmas.

    Susan -- Things need to change for me in May.

    Sonia -- Normally I only post once a week on 3 of them and 3 times on the other 1. It's not always as frantic as in April.

    Susanne -- Good luck! I'm still struggling.


  35. Oh, my, time management, or rather mismanagement. I struggle as a retired person. I need a boss (nah, not really). I can get whatever I put my mind to (i.e. the A2Z challenge) accomplished without a problem. It's the other chores that get ignored in the process. Maybe what I really need is time compartmentalization management.

  36. All I can say about time management is sometimes, you just have to go with it. Life happens...and then it happens some more. At the end of the day, if you can sleep well, you know you managed your time well, especially if your plans didn't get in the way.

  37. This post definitely lit a fire under my bum. It's so easy to say that I don't have time, but when something is important, time must be made.

  38. Time management - a challenge in itself. :)


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