Friday 11 January 2013

Top Time Saving Tips!

Thank you for the fantastic response to my ‘Planning Ahead’ post last Friday – in which we discussed our personal goals for 2013. It seems to me, that while most of us enjoy planning ahead and setting targets – we all worry about finding the time in our busy lives to actually achieve those goals.

I’m certainly guilty of letting time slip away from me by procrastinating and giving priority to other things when I really should be sitting at my desk writing. So I did a shout out on Facebook  and Twitter for all your ‘Time Saving Tips’ for today’s blog post – and I received some incredibly valuable practical tips and workable strategies to help better manage time. I’ve listed them below.

I also approached Grace Marshall – Head coach, chief encourager, author and productivity ninja - who is passionate about helping busy people make the most of their time and their talents. Grace says she's not a naturally organized person. She doesn't believe there is such a thing as ‘perfect work/life balance’ or in trying to ‘find more time.’ Instead, she's learned how to get stuff done in a way that works with her personality, lifestyle, and commitments.

I asked Grace to help me with my procrastination and this is what she advised:

Grace Marshall - Productivity Ninja!

1. Decide when you’re going to start writing and commit to it.

Give yourself 15 minutes before to get your space in order, and decide what absolutely needs to be in place during that time, (e.g. pen, paper, laptop, cup of tea) and what can wait until later (e.g. laundry, tax form, phoning the bank). Use a timer if you need to.

2. Keep a tangent log

Sometimes our biggest distractions do not come from our external environment, but from inside our heads, when our brains come alive with ideas, thoughts, and reminders that have nothing to do with the task at hand.

Keep a separate notebook next to you for anything that comes to mind unrelated to your writing. Every time you go off on a tangent write it down - every thought, reminder and idea. This way, you don’t have to keep remembering and you know you can come back to it later. Capture the thought, get it out of your head and can keep it free to write.

This is taken from my book, 21 Ways to Manage the Stuff That Sucks Up Your Time, a little book that is packed with simple, practical tips and techniques you can put to use straight away, to help you manage the stuff that sucks up your time, and have more time for what really matters.


You can Follow Grace on Twitter @GraceMarshall

I did a shout out on Facebook  and Twitter for your ‘Top Time Saving Tips’ and here are some great suggestions:

@helen_kara - Helen is an independent business researcher who has also written a book on time saving tips. She advocates: “Back up everything you produce on a computer every day – is it worth saving one minute of your day when you risk losing days or weeks or months of work?”

@Jean_bull – Jean says:  “To save time, my idea is to glance at emails on my iPhone, deal with the urgent ones and then crack on with the writing.”

@fishsoupwriting  - Michelle says: “I do all my novel and short story writing on a laptop with no internet connection. I don't have FB or Twitter to distract me.”

@Harrietgrace65 - Harriet suggests: “Set dead-lines to achieve a certain amount of writing by a certain date – seems to work for me!”

Sue Johnson at The Writer’s Tool Kit I write a monthly 'wish list' of 20 things I want to achieve with my writing in that time (it helps to maintain focus) carry a notebook everywhere and have pen and paper in every room in the house. I always plan my next writing session before I finish for the day.”
Kristal Baird writes romance novels for Xcite Romance and also has a full time day job: Kristal says: “Having a big dog who can't see the point of anything less than a couple of hours romp over the fields or in the woods - I came up with the solution of "writing" into a digital recorder as I walk. Best done in a relatively quiet spot, unless you really don't give a hoot. And you have to allow for the heavy breathing (quite atmospheric really)!”
JB Johnson at Brook Cottage Book Blog says Have folders for everything on your computer rather than having to spend ages searching for stuff. And LISTS!!! I cannot survive without lists! I cross of jobs so that I don't end up repeating the same jobs.”

KitDomino – Kit, writer and editor says: My tip: Strict discipline as to time spend on Twitter and Facebook - both big time suckers.”

@WellsNicky – Nicky, rock star writer: says “Here's my three big ones. 1) lists and priorities. 2) if you're meant to write, write. Don't go on social media. 3) 'the one touch' rule: if you've opened an email/tweet/FB message and read it, ACT on it. Don't leave it until later and duplicate your effort.”

My own tip – and this is something that fits in nicely with Grace’s tip of using a timer. Apparently, you can only work effectively and totally concentrate one task in blocks of 40 minutes. This is why, at schools, the classes are based on periods of 40 minutes. I downloaded Pomodairo a desktop timer that can help with productivity. So I’ve set it to 40 mins (if interrupted, I can pause the timer button) and an alarm will sound when my session is up. The idea is to take a 15 minute break before beginning another session.

I’ll let you know how I get on and would love you to do the same!

Do leave a comment here on the blog or on my author Facebook page or tweet me at @JaniceHorton. Good luck!