Welcome to Life List Friday here at More Cowbell! It’s going to be a day of inspiring posts for y’all. Life Lists just kind of work that way…
What? You’ve never heard of a “life list?” Click here for all the deets on mine.
In the meantime, I’m over at Lara Schiffbauer’s place talking about Blogging Your Naked Passion. (Are You Brave Enough?) Jess Witkins is holding down the fort here with the scrumptious post below.
Take it away, Jess…
A Recipe for Making Time
Be Advised: Do Not Substitute Mascara for Mindfulness
There’s an awful lot of chatter today about how to maximize our productivity. From large corporate sales firms to the average person’s day planner, we make goals and we get ‘em done! We plan out what action we’re going to complete when and how. And then we look at the person next to us, and wish we were accomplishing half of what it always seems like they’re doing!
Well, you’re not alone. And to tell us more about that, I’d like to share the Queen of We Are Not Alone’s words of advice. Kristen Lamb is THE social media expert for writers. Her blog is a plethora of information on writing tips, social media, author branding, and publication advice. Her books, We Are Not Alone – The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer, web together a social community of support and success.
Recently, she answered a writer’s question of “How do you make time to write?”
Whether you want to be a writer or not, I think Kristen’s approach is one way of making that goal list happen. Please know you can check out the full HILARIOUS posting of this conversation at the Wordbitches blog, as shared by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom).
Kristen, I have a question, only semi-related to this post. I know you too have a lot of writing-related projects. How do you balance them all? I write a humor column, write for Nickelodeon, have guest posts hanging in the air, my own blog (plus once a week on Wordbitches and occasionally on Stuff Kids Write), and my manuscript. And I teach full-time.
My approach thus far is to try to keep one or two proverbial balls in the air and let the others roll away. Then I chase them later. I write well to deadlines…more external, than internal. I’m semi-successful with this method, but sometimes it takes me a while to unearth the balls that rolled away a few weeks ago. Anyways, you don’t have to answer this now, but I’d love to hear your thoughts someday.
Kristen’s fabulously funny and helpful response was this:
I need to get better at saying no. But I tend to be really ADD so I am good at balancing a lot of things. What I employ is called the Swiss-Cheese approach. I make a list of all the things that MUST get done for the day and then I “snack.” Say, I work an hour on a blog then for the next hour I tend house chores. So I can make the best use of this time, I use speaker phone and maybe call Piper and help her plot or do the next blog interview while I fold (and Piper types). So I am getting writing stuff done while I do dishes and clean.
This way my house stuff gets done while I do other “writing tasks” verbally. Then once I have done so many chores, I return to my desk. Maybe I go post a lesson on the Yahoo loop and scan for any lost lambs who need immediate help in say, a blogging class. Then, before I go back to writing, I scan #MyWANA for anyone I can RT. If a blog looks interesting I click and leave it minimized until my next break. I look at FB and type a quick message or maybe even post the blog I just found on Twitter. I keep a master list to always keep me focused, but then I just nibble all day until they are gone.
So you always have your main action items visible.
Have 3 blogs loaded in queue and ready to post
Write background for protagonist
Load on-line lessons 3 & 4
Write sample chapter for new book
Then you just take bites out of all these projects all day long until they are finished. This keeps me from sitting too long, but it also keeps me from doing housework at the expense of my writing. During breaks I can play with The Spawn, get on the Kinect to get my blood going again, or whatever. A lot of people sit and try to do projects until they are fully complete. This works for some people, but creatives tend to be ADD. When I look at my action items I ask, “What is ONE step I can do in less than 10 mins, 30 mins, and hour…that can get me to closer to completion on each of these?”
Also, I do think we need to lower our standards in some areas and raise them in others. As a professional author, it is critical to have excellent blogs, books and classes. It isn’t however, possible for me to have this standard with my writing and then also have a house that looks like it was decorated by Martha Stuart. I live in yoga pants and a scrunchee. I dress up for church and events outside the home. I no longer have pretty fake nails and I returned to my natural hair color (the darker blonde you see in my pics) because platinum was too high-maintenance.
I delegate, rely on a team and prioritize. I do a lot of multi-tasking and I work hard…six days a week. But, there is a reason this job isn;t for everyone, LOL. I do read a lot of self-help and success book and am always trying new ways of being effective. This method of just keeping my priorities where I can see them and then snacking at them has worked the best so far.
Did this help? …or make you want to drink heavily?
LOL See what I mean, don’t you love her? What I think is great about this advice is how honest it is. I’m a worry wart to the core. I stress over everything and if it isn’t good or I didn’t get all the things on my list done, I feel guilty. I know I’m not alone. (There’s those words again!) We all have goals we’re trying to accomplish and the ones that are most worthwhile, you know the ones in the DREAM BIG pile, may require sacrifice. For Kristen, it’s spot cleaning her house and wearing a scrunchy. For me, it’s using a dry shampoo and unearthing my desk/cleaning out the fridge once a month.
After all, who would want their mascara to get in the way of their happiness? 🙂
What do you think? What ways do you make time for the many demands of life? Wouldn’t it be a better world if we all could work in pajamas?
Jess Witkins claims the title Perseverance Expert. She grew up in a small Wisconsin town as the much younger youngest sibling of four, she’s witnessed the paranormal, jumped out of a plane, worked in retail, traveled to exotic locations like Italy, Ireland, and Shipshewana, Indiana, and she’s eaten bologna and lived to tell about it! She deals with it all and writes about it! Come along on her midwest adventures; Witkins promises to keep it honest and entertaining.
Go ahead, SUBSCRIBE, you know you want to. Follow on Twitter: @jesswitkins