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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never been good at time management.  I think I would turn into a tree sloth if I could.
I'm finding that I have so much on my plate right now, I've become immobilized.

Does anyone have any tips on how to structure a day to fit in all we have to do?  I have so much that I don't know where to start and end up stressing and not getting much done.

Any and all tips gratefully accepted.
 

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The best thing to do is make a schedule and stick to it.

Give yourself a specific amount of time to work on a task. Notice I didn't say complete a task.

It's much easier to get things done if you don't feel pressured into completion.

I sit down and think, "Okay, I'm going to work on this book I'm editing for x amount of time." I don't say I'm going to finish it. If I happen to finish, great, but that's not my goal. My goal is to make some headway.

Then, I do some work on the blog. Same thing, no specific task to be completed, I just give it some of my time.
 

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One task at a time, Jeanne, that gets your full attention. The problem when you're overwhelmed with things to do, as you pointed out, is that you tend to get little done at all because you don't know where to start.

Just tackle one task at a time. Figure out the things that are most important and/or time sensitive and work from there.

And deep breaths!  :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Lynn and Andrew. Deep breaths. :) Wonderful advice. I just have so many things that I feel I need to do that I just don't know where to start. I'll try a little of each but I always seem to mess that up.

There are four short stories I've been trying to work on as they are all bugging me and keeping me awake at night. Dialogue will start in my head and I can't seem to shut it off. Each night it seems to be a different one...like they want to be written and won't stop harrassing me until they are. Does that sound nuts? Probably.

I'm trying to finish my website and I need to promote and I have five readings and .....and...I just want to take a nap...or hide.
 

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JeanneM said:
Each night it seems to be a different one...like they want to be written and won't stop harrassing me until they are. Does that sound nuts?
Not at all, Jeanne, the same thing happens to me, too, quite frequently. But then again...I'm nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, at least I'm in good company.  ;D

I think Lynn is right on about not feeling the need to complete a task.  That is probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks for everyone.
 

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If you have enough space, why not try bringing all that stuff down out of your head and putting it in the objective world by having a different place where you work on each of the four projects.

As you move physically it changes your mood and revitalizes and focusses you for the next task.

Book 1 on the sofa.
Book 2 at the desk.
Book 3 at the kitchen sink (that's where Agatha Christie did her plotting).
etc.

Just an idea. Also I intersperse blocks of writing/promo with wild bursts of exercise/eating chocolate/chatting.
Hope this helps.  :)
 

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I played with the getting things done (gtd) method. It's the fav of tech geeks and the lifehacker crowd, but it's really complicated. Way more complex than I need.

The pomodoro technique is simple and really good for breaking work up into less intimidating chunks. I used to do it when I was doing a lot of high-volume health and fitness writing for livestrong.com. I started to find the ticking of the timer almost hypnotizing.
 

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I have a pretty busy life and the best way I know how to stay organized, is to make lists and stick to them.  Things that are really important such as writing, I schedule time for.  Some people think it is ridiculous but there is no way I'd be able to accomplish everything if I didn't do this.  Plus, it helps with stress.
 

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If my nose is still above water at the end of the day, I did an AWESOME job with time management. But that's not much of a useful tip, is it? *heh*
 

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With five kids, writing, and running my own business, I've found that lists are my best friends.  I make my "Have to" and my "Want to".
I work on the things I have to get done and combine the ones that I can do in one trip (ex. grocery shopping and mailing packages). After I
get done with the "have to" (which includes writing), then I work on my "want to" if I have any energy left.  If your "have to" list is so long that it is humanly impossible to get it all done in one day, then you have too many irons in the fire and need to prioritize or enlist help.  We all need it sometimes and there's no crime in asking.  ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You are right, R M.  I think I have too much on my plate right now and I'm going to have to let something go.  Sadly, none of the things I have to do are anything anyone else can help me with.  I slept most of this evening because I was so tired just thinking of all I had to do.  My energy is a bit sapped right now I guess.
 

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JeanneM said:
You are right, R M. I think I have too much on my plate right now and I'm going to have to let something go. Sadly, none of the things I have to do are anything anyone else can help me with. I slept most of this evening because I was so tired just thinking of all I had to do. My energy is a bit sapped right now I guess.
Yep! I've been there. It's the feeling where you have sooooo much to do, you just don't know where to start and it overwhelms and exhausts before you have a chance to do anything at all. Hence, nothing gets done. Sometimes, even if you just get one or two things done, it seems like you're moving forward. Take little steps and don't punish yourself (mentally) for not being superwoman. Although, the invisible plane would be cool!
Take a deep breath and allow yourself to say the word "No" to whatever it is that is demanding so much of your spirit. It's a powerful and liberating word when used in the proper place. Give yourself a hug and know that others DO understand. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you R M.  I'll do that.  But first, I must ask someone.  How on earth did WW find where she parked her plane when it was invisible?  LOL
 

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JeanneM said:
Thank you R M. I'll do that. But first, I must ask someone. How on earth did WW find where she parked her plane when it was invisible? LOL
That's a question only adults would ask. As a kid, I never once questioned the logic. It all made perfect sense. She IS wonderwoman, after all! LOL!
 

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I use the pomodoro technique as well, http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/, and I find it relaxing. Lately, since life interferes with my writing, I have reduced the amount of words I write, but I try my best to sit down and do it. But, in your case, I'll strongly suggest you that you write as much as you can, since I liked Dual a lot, and I can't wait to read some more. No pressure ;D
 

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I took a time management class awhile back and it was dreadful EXCEPT FOR one idea that took up no more than five minutes of the class time, but I retained and still utilize virtually every day.

The idea is to maintain REALISTIC lists of what you are going to accomplish on a given day.  I have always been a list maker, but I suffered from making the list so long that it wasn't functionally a daily task list but more of a permanent, never ending task list.  Now I prioritize each morning, decide which items are going on the daily list, and leave the rest on another list.  That forces me to give the attention and focus to the items I selected and provides some level of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of the day.

The other thing to do, and I'm not nearly as good at this, is to not be distracted by emails popping up.  Look, something shiny... :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the link, Momilp.  And thank you also for your kind words.  I'm so happy that you liked my story.  You just made my day!    :)

Michael,  Oh my God...that is exactly how my lists look.  I make them out all the time but they are so long and unattainable.  I end up doing what I know I absolutely have to do (readings if they have come in that day. I've 6 pending now! Aaargh) and by the time I have finished those for the day, I'm already wiped out before I start.

Then the rest of the day looks like this Kafkaesque free-for-all.  I end up looking like the painting "The Scream."  LOL

I do need to learn to prioritize.  I'm so happy to know there are so many others with this problem.  I felt like a disorganized whacko.  :)
 
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