writers / writing

6 Ways to Find Time for Everything

icon-34048_640Writers tend toward the Energizer Bunny approach to living. We do everything from writing to research to marketing, sales, and media because we have no choice. No matter it doesn’t all fit in a day. We must get it done because no one else will.

I constantly hear how I do too much (usually from someone at a restaurant or relaxing in the teachers lounge between classes). My friends don’t know how I teach full time, webmaster five blogs, write non-fiction tech books as well as my thriller series (which I haven’t touched in a while), pen weekly/monthly columns for at least five blogs and ezines, write reviews/etc for clients–and market my 110 books/ebooks (no one has a publisher anymore who does that job).

I do get it done and I decided to analyze how that is and share it with you. I realize there are steps I take that make it work:

  • If one of my writing activities is no longer working for me, I stop doing it. I’ve written columns for a variety of ezines and blogs. I’m always happy to do one, but more than that, maybe not. I have to see the benefit to my craft. If it’s not there, no matter how much I personally like the people involved, I have to cut the cord and move on. Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but I’m a one-woman show and there’s only twenty-four hours in a day.
  • I don’t waste time. If there’s ten minutes free between dinner and my favorite TV show, I draft an article, edit one, review a scene in my WIP. The point is, I use that time. It’s amazing how it all mounts up. I had a thirty-two lesson textbook that I edited pretty much one lesson at a time. First I went through the whole book to be sure consistency was there, and then I reviewed the lessons.

  • I give myself deadlines. It’s tempting to review and re-review an article to be sure it’s perfect, but I trust myself. I know how long it usually takes to write a piece. I budget that much time and don’t obsess over tweaking.
  • I delegate everything not in my core skillset. Sometimes it’s to my husband. Often, it’s to people I pay for their expertise. I don’t want to become expert at Adobe InDesign (Photoshop is enough of a learning curve) or CSS/HTML for websites, so I trust them to get their job done while I concentrate on the pieces I do better.
  • I don’t feel obligated to do things. Where I used to force myself to stay in touch with peripheral friends or attend events I didn’t want to because a friend of a friend wanted me to, I don’t anymore. I weigh them and decide if it works for me. You’d be surprised how much time that frees up.
  • Here’s one I haven’t done yet: Quit my day job. This is a desperation move, but I could consider it. Is it time to take a chance? Does what I get from my Day Job make up for what I don’t accomplish with my passion (writing)? Jury’s still out on that.

There you have it–my six point plan. How do you do it?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog,Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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10 thoughts on “6 Ways to Find Time for Everything

      • I haven’t thought about work for one second since I left. I know I made the right decision, Jacqui. For all those people who said, ‘you’ll get bored when you retire’ I say – I LOVE IT 😀 There is just so much to do. I just need to get organised because every day is like a weekend day and I still haven’t found my routine. I find I rush from one thing to the next and drop into bed exhausted at night. I still haven’t started on my WIPs yet, but I will once the ‘writer’s nook’ in my house is finished 😀


  1. No wonder, you’re what you’ve achieved Jacqui. And I’m what I’ve achieved – nothing. We, with my kind of quality, will always get the second fiddle hoping something like your bloody-mindedness and determination will rub off on me and others. I guess it proves why someone is successful and while others don’t achieve. Best wishes and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I, for one, do admire your qualities and what you do and how you do – that incidently helps others, like me. Arun


  2. I suspect you work faster than most people and definitely much faster than I do. Your ideas may come quicker and you get them down efficiently. I muddle too much. But I love your plan about using every moment including the pauses between other activities. I’ve been trying that technique with some success. Thanks for insight into your strategy.


  3. As Rudyard Kipling said in his poem, “If,” . . . if you can forgive each unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run . . .” It’s called time management, and I’m happy to see someone besides me does it. I was beginning to feel like the odd person out. Great article.


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