As an author and writer, I’m always pressed for time. Reading takes up a lot of time, and writing even more. The question is, how can we develop (and stick to!) a schedule that works and encompasses all of our favourite habits/work rituals?
There are small pockets of time dotted around your day, and like time-management-pros optimise their time, it’s about finding these pockets and using that small amount of time to accomplish a meaningful task. E.g. you’re at the salon. Waiting for 1 hour whilst your hair is done is a waste of time if you have a pressing task at hand.
Unfollowing a bunch of people on Instagram could be a good use of your time if your business is a primarily instagram-oriented business, such as Yellow Scribe. 70% of Yellow Scribe’s income is made through Instagram, with 60% of those clients being women, and 40% being men.
If you are a business that uses Shopify, for example, it might be a good idea to load up the Shopify app while your hair is being done. You could moderate products, clear out lists and do other menial yet somehow useful tasks.
It would be a good idea to make a list of things to do in these times. A check-list is one of my favourites, because once I cross off an item from the top, I feel hella accomplished. This is called my ‘tasks list’, not my to-do list. I reserve the to-do lists for day time activities, such as tasks that make up my day.
Here is an example of my tasks list
While you drinking your morning coffee
It’s incredibly therapeutic to sit down in the morning drinking coffee and adding to a manuscript or writing an article. For me, as soon as I get up is my favourite time to write. I can stretch my mind as if I’m doing mental yoga — and I always produce unique and energetic work.
For me, personally, this is what I have always done when I have a goal for the day. I get the most difficult/time consuming piece done first, and from there it is usually smooth sailing (unless something goes wrong, but you should learn to take these in your stride).
On your commute to/from work.
This one really only works if you have to get a bus/train to work, and if your journey is longer than ten minutes (which unfortunately is most of you!)
Having a sleek and flat laptop is usually the best, but if for time or space purposes you cannot get one, a good phone is usually where it’s at. You can type with the touch screen function, and it’s usually super easy to get a lot down during a bumpy journey.
Always remember your headphones/earphones, and know that you’re probably the most productive person on that damn bus.
What’s on your tasks list? What’s on your to-do list? Can you get your creative juices flowing so you can write on this bus journey? It’s important to not force it, so if you know you can’t — do something else!
You can tick off items from your task list in this time. For example, referring to the list above as the example, you could unfollow accounts on your Instagram account (if you’re like me and follow a bunch of people)!
While you’re baking something.
Baking is awesome in itself. Try setting aside some time each week to bake some sweet things, then use the time it’s in the oven gettin’ all fluffy to crack down on some work. Heck, maybe you could even make bread one morning. Imagine how accomplished you’d feel then. Waking up, baking some bread, and working on your manuscript while it is in the oven.
Writing before bed is a great way to encourage your brain’s natural dreaming mechanism. You can actually encourage your brain to dream about your writing before sleeping if you work on your writing in the 10 minutes leading up to falling asleep. How incredible is that? Google ‘onierology’ (the study of sleep) to find out more about how you can hack your sleep.
I like to write before bed to encourage my brain to focus on work while i’m sleeping. Funnily enough, it doesn’t burn me out as much as you’d think. When I’m working on a project such as writing a book or manuscript, I like to do it before bed. I set a goal of 1,000 words as soon as I get in bed, and I can sleep resting assured that I have achieved something productive that day. Then, like the point about drinking coffee and writing, I like to wake up and write straight away too. I love the cycle it puts my brain through, and it’s true that your brain works its hardest as you wake up – it’s firing chemicals left right and centre to wake you up, kickstart your body for that day, and getting accustomed to your eyes being open. Damn, brain! That’s a lot of work!
While it’s sunny and you’re in the garden.
Recently in the UK, the weather has been amazing. It’s encouraged me to scribble in my notebooks out in the sun (I admit, I did get badly sunburned from this!)
Writing out in the sun helps your body absorb the vital vitamin D – meaning you’ll be happier from it! Why confine yourself to a small office when land is free to roam around in?! Go outside even, bring a yoga mat, and write out in the nature. The sounds of birds chirping to one another are the best form of motivation…
While your hair is being done.
I love pampering people, and I love being pampered. It can be annoying or even awkward talking to your stylist constantly, especially if you always have a different one. You could use this time to use your laptop or phone – or even your book!
This is another time-pocket as I like to say. You could choose to waste the time you spend sitting still by reading a magazine, or you could work on your book. Hey, your stylist might say they like the sound of it and they could be another customer once your book goes live!