Is your book slowly turning into a neverending project? You have reorganised your desk, looked for inspirational quotes to get you into the writing mood, and scrolled down your Facebook feed only to realise several hours later that you haven’t written a word. Procrastination bothers even the most organised authors. Don’t give in to its dark powers. Read our tips for effective time management and your books will be finished in no time!
1. Set yourself realistic and timely goals
Many authors have a daily word count they aspire to reach. Others have a daily editing goal of one chapter. Whatever it is that you need to finish, break it up into smaller parts. Then look at your calendar and figure out how much time you have in a day or in a week to devote to the project. Set up goals appropriately, knowing that they are realistic and achievable for you.
2. Turn waiting time into writing time
If you are too tired to write after work, seize the empty minutes throughout the day. Make the most of the time spent waiting for public transport, travelling, queueing, waiting for meetings and appointments, or being stuck in traffic. Use this valuable time – especially if you’re an author with a full-time job. Nikesh Shukla wrote three novels while working full time – get inspired by his motivational pep talk.
3. Note down your ideas all the time
One way to fight procrastination is to have a steady flow of ideas you can work on. Either commit to always carry a pen and notepad or use one of these online tools. Alternatively, use anything you don’t mind writing on to keep track of your ideas: leaflets, receipts, you name it. Just make sure you don’t throw them away!
Don’t try to write, edit, proofread and tweet about your book all at the same time. Separate the stages of writing and schedule them for certain hours and days. For example, you can treat Tuesday as your editing day, and schedule in an hour or two in the evening to devote to your book marketing efforts. Keep the focus on the activity and try not to get distracted by the internet.
Do you swear by a classic to-do list, or Google Calendar? Or perhaps you can’t work without early morning planning in your diary? Revise your time management methods. Sometimes the tools we are using to manage our time are not as effective as we think they are. If you’re a pro at writing to-do lists but never complete them, maybe it’s time to find a better approach.