Monday, September 22, 2014

Guest feature: Time Management in Less than 10 minutes

Nikolas Baron discovered his love for the written word in elementary school where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at Internet start-ups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

Time Management in Less than 10 minutes

Though everyone has the same 24 hours each day, some writers find these hours vanish quickly. Deadlines arrive seemingly ahead of schedule. Time for sleep, proper nutrition, and family evaporates in the rush to complete necessary tasks. How can you make better use of your time? Do you understand what time management is? At Grammarly, learning about how writers successfully overcome obstacles is part of my job. What I have learned about time management may change the way you write forever!

  • Let Others Make the Coffee

First, figure out how to set the timer on your coffee maker. If you don’t have that fancy of a coffeemaker, you have three options: (1) Buy a new coffee maker. (2) Ask a housemate to start the coffee in the morning before you awaken. (3) Head out to a cafe in the morning for a cup of joe.
What is the importance of coffee? Well, your morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. If you putter around making coffee, reading the paper, and shuffling around in your jammies, you could lose a large part of your day. It is best to hit the ground running. Grab your coffee and head straight to the place in your home where you write the most efficiently. If you opted for java in a coffeehouse, bring your writing materials with you and start writing while you enjoy your brew.

  • Cut the Fat

Next, think about where you lose time unnecessarily during the day. For example, do you find yourself spending chunks of time searching for lost papers? Do you forget appointments, obligating yourself to apologize and reschedule things constantly? Find a tool that addresses your biggest time-wasting weakness. If you confuse dates, I suggest organizing your schedule with Google calendar. The program sends alerts by email when you have an upcoming event. If you are not online regularly, use a good, old-fashioned agenda book. Keep it in the same place all the time, and consult it every single day.

  • Do More than One Thing

You will also need to multi-task. While you are writing, set other things in motion. If you work at home, use your writing days to do laundry and cook crockpot meals. Fold and put away your laundry during mental breaks, but do not stop the flow of creativity to attend to household chores. Delegate chores that require full use of your mind or body or do them at another time. If you must complete the task on a writing day, find a way to incorporate the task into the writing process. For example, while you wash dishes, brainstorm and dictate your notes into a voice recorder.

  • Use What Works, and Avoid What Does Not

Be careful about software programs. Some tools save you time; others cost you time. For example, using proofreading software will probably save you time. In moments, proofing software will find errors that you might not have noticed until your second or third read-over, if ever! Any software that is difficult to master will cost you time. One author that I know once spent two hours typing one page using typing-by-voice software. The speech recognition program made many errors. It took more time to correct the mistakes than it would have taken to type the paragraphs the old-fashioned way. Perhaps there is good software out there, but make sure you do not squander your time on products that bring little benefit.

So, did you discern what time management really is? It is any technique, product, or practice that will help you to accomplish tasks in less time. Invest a little time in setting a routine and eliminating time-wasting habits. In the long run, you will gain more time for the things and people that matter the most!

By Nikolas Baron

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Good information. I am too often a putterer.