Time management is arguably one of the most challenging things for everyone. You don’t just have to be a writer to find managing time a struggle. You could be a parent, a full-time employee somewhere, a business owner, or a person with just a lot of interests. Time management is the ultimate struggle.
So, how do you find a balance? What can you do to balance family and writing? Work and family and writing? Life and work and family and writing?
Are you already overwhelmed? Me too, but don’t worry, we have this. Here are some ideas that could help, but please share them in the comments if you have a different opinion. I am always looking for new ideas.
1. The Bullet Journal or Planner
The planner is the most iconic of scheduling tools. Everyone has experience with a calendar or journal in their lives, be it their cell phone, computer, or a physical book that they jot down what is going on. The topic of a planner is a topic all on its own. There is the bullet journal, the monthly planner, the daily planner, and an electronic calendar. There are apps that game-ify time management and planners.
If you are more of a hands-on planner, you can use a regular planner or calendar. I have a planner in my purse. It doesn’t have much information, but it helps me feel a bit more organized. On the calendar part of the planner, I have my blog topics written down on their publication date. I could probably use a smaller planner, but the bigger one makes me feel like I’m doing something.
A great reference for finding the right planner or journal for you is online. There are social media groups that fan over the newest trend in the journaling world. You can also go on Youtube. One creator I like watching is How To ADHD. It’s a great resource for organizational tools because so much of being ADHD has to deal with the executive function of your brain. If you have ADHD or know someone who does, check it out.
Alarms are my favorite organizational tool. I have alarms set for everything. There is an alarm for my wake-up time, an alarm to tell me it’s time to rush to be ready for work, and an alarm for whatever new thing I need to do. It can be annoying, though. If I have a really fun alarm tone, I may end up dancing. Which gets interesting when in public.
If you go the alarm route, be ready to change the tone periodically. I suggest finding the tone that is annoying and changes for those important times you cannot miss. I have that for my rush to be ready for work alarm. It reminds me that, yep, I have a job outside of writing and it might be just as important.
3. A Personal Assistant
If you have funds to spare and prefer a little extra help, a personal assistant may be the right fit for you. A personal assistant can help market your work or organize your day to day, but only of you follow what they present. The upside to a PA is that you can take more time to focus on your work.
However, there are possible cons to this. You will have to pay one if you are getting a professional PA. The lowest rate I’ve found is $15/hr. Honestly, I feel that this is worth every penny if you choose this route but each PA is different and they can have more than one client. You will need to look for one that fits your needs.
Or, you could get a friend or family member to help you stay accountable. That is always an option. My editor is a bestie of mine and she definitely holds me accountable. There have been a few arguments about me not getting my writing taken care of. Again, she is paid for her services. I do not recommend having someone do something for you without something going back to them in return. However, you two decide on it.
4. A Writing System AKA Habit Making
Creating a writing system is probably your best bet. Just pick a time you can consistently work in and do it every day. There is a saying that after a set number of days, a habit will be formed. How many days? Well, I’ve read it being from as little as 18 days to as much as 254 days, but a habit can be made, and making a habit is a great idea.
But that brings up the question, how do you want the habit to go? For me, I wake at five AM on weekdays. I get the coffee brewing, I do my morning bathroom run and clean out my phone’s notifications, and then I start writing. But, that kind of schedule isn’t for everyone.
A great way to find your own schedule is to try out another writer’s way of doing things. I follow a writer on Youtube, Kate Cavanaugh, who does those very things. She has videos of her trying out the writing habits of famous authors, from Stephen King to Neil Gaiman or Nora Roberts. Each author has a different way of doing things and seeing her experience is quite interesting and inspiring to try out for yourself. You may find that an author you look up to has a system you could use.
There are other organizational tools and ways to help find that work and writing balance. If you know of one, don’t hesitate to share. I love trying new things and seeing if I can utilize them in my day-to-day life.