Time Management for Writers–Getting More Done in Less Time

Photo via Happy Housewives Club, which is a FANTASTIC site, btw.

I have always struggled with organization, and frankly, if don’t make a list, I will be sorting baby pictures or writing out greeting cards in three minutes flat. I’ve always been envious of people who run their homes with military efficiency. You know the people I am talking about; those folk who aren’t afraid of their closets and actually know what is in every drawer. Show-offs😛.

Yet, I have to say that just because something is our nature doesn’t mean that we are to be a victim to our innate shortcomings. In fact, Bob Mayer gave a really interesting exercise in his Warrior Writer Workshop. He said to look at your Myers-Briggs personality…then look at the opposite of your personality, and likely that is the area you need the most work. I am going to take it a step farther. I believe that the opposite of our personality could be what keeps us from ever enjoying great success.

More on this in a second…

One of my all-time favorite books is Eat That Frog—21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey. In Eat That Frog, Tracey gives an interesting rule.

Rule: Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.

 Tracey advises that you sit down and write out all that is required for you to do your job. We’ll take five for our purposes today. As a writer I must:

  • Have a good imagination
  • A solid command of grammar
  • Possess a modicum of talent when it comes to writing prose
  • Have the self-discipline to write
  • Possess superior organizational ability

When it comes to the first four, I totally ROCK….and then we get to that last part *winces.* Superior organization? Oh yeah.

That.

First of all, even when you write non-fiction, information needs to flow in an optimal way or it won’t be enjoyable reading. I just turned in my new book Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer and one of the largest challenges was taking all these lessons from my blog and making them flow like a book…62,000 words of seamless lessons.

Eep! Yeah, it was tough, but after 42 versions and a lot of alcohol, chocolate and crying, I got there.

Same thing applies to fiction. If we hope to be a successful novelist, we have to be masters at organization. We have to balance narrative plot points, character arcs, POV, setting, dialogue and keep everything straight and give it perfect timing. The greatest part of dramatic tension is relaying the right piece of information at the right time. We have to manage all these components over the span of 60-110,000 words. This is one of the reasons many aspiring novelists never get beyond the “aspiring” part. They believe that the talent to manage all of this information is something writers are born with, when in fact it is a skill that 99% of the time must be taught, and then refined with a lot of trial, error and shots of tequila.

Writing a novel is an entirely different creature, yet many new writers mistakenly believe that they can jump from short story to novel with no problem. Sure. That is like creating a three-bar melody and then believing we are ready to compose a symphony with a 100 piece orchestra.

Not happening.

And, if I look at where I have had the largest struggles when it comes to writing…it has always been in my ability to organize (or lack of ability as the case may be).

Ah, but if we look at my Myers-Briggs, I am an ENFP, which means I am highly skilled at concepts and BIG ideas…but I fall apart when it comes to execution because I have a hard time managing the details. If we look at the opposite of my personality we get…my husband. Seriously, there should be a picture of my husband below the ISTJ.

 Tigger married Spock.

ENFP (The Inspirer)——ISTJ (The Duty Fulfiller)

Kristen, you are being illogical.”

I have creativity, imagination and enough energy to power a small city, but it is clear where I fall abysmally short. Ah, the devil is in the details. 

I think this Myers Briggs test is a great exercise for getting a clear idea of what specifically is in our nature that needs to be addressed. But I want to take it a step farther.

In Eat That Frog, Tracey also introduces the Pareto  Principle. In 1895, economist Vincent Pareto noticed that society seemed to naturally divide into what he called the “vital few” and the “trivial many.” 20% of the population had all the wealth power and influence and the bottom 80% got whatever was left. He later discovered that this principle held true in all economic activity.

In short, 20% of our activity will account for 80% of our results.

This means that if we have a list of ten things to do, TWO of those items will be worth as much if not more than the other eight combined. But can you guess which items we are most likely to procrastinate on doing? Right. The two activities that could make the most difference. We are also most likely to procrastinate where we are weak.

Can you guess where I procrastinate? Yep, any activity that requires organizational skills. Whether it is plotting my novel or filing invoices, I do everything I can to get out of doing the chores that require I operate where I am weak. Yet, remember the rule I began with?

Your weakest key area sets the height at which you can use all your other skills and abilities.

This rule basically says that if I do not figure out a way to mitigate or correct my greatest weakness, that it will always be my single greatest limiting factor.

So what can we do?

First, buy a copy of Eat That Frog. LOVE this book and use its principles to get A LOT of work done. See, knowledge is power and once we become aware of our limiting factors, then we can take action. We aren’t at the mercy of our nature.

As far as time-management, I know organization will never come natural to me, but it does come naturally to my mother, my sister-in-law, and my husband. When I need a system worked out for me, I have learned that I don’t have to do everything. I can delegate. GASP! I know! Cool, right? Of course, delegating isn’t one of those things I do well, naturally either, so I have to surround myself with friends who will yell at me if I fail to delegate properly. Hi, Piper! Hi, Cid!

I also make lists every day and no longer try to just “keep it in my head.” I then look at that list and whatever item makes me cringe when I read it (FROGS)? That is what I do first. Remember, 20% of our activity is going to account for 80% of our results.

When I tackle the toughest items first, I actually get more accomplished overall.

How?

When we do the toughest jobs first, we get an endorphin rush from the sense of accomplishment. Also, since our toughest jobs are out of the way, the other “less important” chores go faster since we aren’t dragging our feet dreading the FROGS.

And how does this apply to writing? Well, I know that my prose is strong and I suffer no lack of imagination, BUT I do not naturally plot well. I used to get lost in the details and had a tough time keeping everything straight.  This is why most of the writing books I now buy have to do with various ways to plot. Instead of reading book after book studying my strengths (dialogue), I now focus on my weakness, because that area will be my limiting factor if left unadressed. I also know that my writing will be faster and clearner and require fewer revisions if I can strengthen this weak area. What is your weak writing area? Work on that FIRST.

So what are some issues you guys struggle with and how do you deal with them? Any books or resources you can recommend? Are you a master at organization and maybe can offer tips? Or, are you like me? A junk drawer junkie? How do you overcome the clutter?

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

This Week’s Winner of 5 Page Critique–Irene Vernadis

Happy Easter and happy writing!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

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  1. #1 by Delaney Diamond on April 22, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    Of your list, “self-discipline to write” is my biggest weakness. I get distracted easily, so I have to have complete quiet and shut down the internet browser when I write. On the plus side, I’m super-organized! I have a daily calendar, checklists, etc. Lol.

    Okay, I’m off to write…right after I check the status of my Facebook friends…🙂

  2. #2 by Darlene Steelman on April 22, 2011 - 2:37 pm

    I have that Froggy book on my Kindle!! Definitely something a procrastinator needs to read.
    As a complete procrastinator I believe I have almost mastered the art of wasting time. Thanks for this post Kristen!

    Darlene

  3. #3 by Amanda Rudd on April 22, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    As always, a great post with wonderful ideas. I will definitely have to take a look at that book. At this point, I’m not even sure what my biggest limiting factor is… maybe self-confidence… I don’t know. I’m actually an organizing MANIAC, which is useful. I’m also, pretty much the DEFINITION of INFJ. What’s the opposite of that? I’ll have to go look it up.

    Thanks again for a great post and a useful book suggestion!

  4. #4 by Kait Nolan on April 22, 2011 - 2:53 pm

    Well you already know I’m an organizational FREAK. I have to be to juggle three (now down to two) jobs, family, writing, house keeping, food blogging, and all the other myriad of things I want to do. I’ve thought about doing a series on organizing oneself as a writer, more from a real life make the time kind of perspective, but I’m not so great with explaining what I do. I’m very intuitive with stuff and I tend to jump from A to Z without any stops in between, so when I run into people who need B-Y, I fumble. It’s my greatest challenge as a teacher.

    I’m an INFJ. I’m great at big picture ideas when it comes to fiction and I’m fantastic with details in real life The two don’t always meet in the middle though. I’m neurotically organized and efficient most of the time because, well, I have to be. I’m a huge fan of lists. I have even been known to add things I already did to the list just so a) I get the pleasure of crossing something else off (it’s very reinforcing), b) can look back at the end of the day to see everything I did (also very reinforcing for me). I have this sort of natural abhorrence to chaos and I’m always trying to organize things. What’s funny is that for YEARS I was a total PANTSER.

    Then I discovered Larry Brooks. You’ve mentioned his book Story Engineering before. I was a fan of his blog for a very long time, and bought all his ebooks pre Story Engineering and this man CHANGED MY WRITING LIFE. He gave me the system I needed to organize my fiction in the same way I tend to organize everything else. Which increases efficiency and means that even if it takes me 6-8 months to write a book, it’s mostly DONE when I finish that draft, other than polishing, because I did it all right THE FIRST TIME. So I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it.

    Another essential tool I use is The Story Blueprint, which is something my crit partner Susan Bischoff and I worked up to incorporate all the different stuff we’ve read on craft and story planning/plotting. It’s kind of terrifying to someone not used to planning things, and I will warn you to just take a Benedryl first, if you’re a pantser, and you might not break into hives when you look. You can find the link to download it here, along with a link to her blog post series explaining how to use it. It’s a really useful resource and you can use as much or as little of it as you like. Fair warning, we both write romance, so there are sections there that are geared toward that genre.

  5. #5 by educlaytion on April 22, 2011 - 3:03 pm

    I think we might fall pretty close to each other in personality. Stupid organization. I’m also piling together gobs of NF goodness for seemingly seamless transitions. Then you go and drop Pareto’s principal? Love it. I use that all the time in figuring things out. It would follow that 20% of your effort in something like promotion would make most of the impact.

  6. #6 by Gene Lempp on April 22, 2011 - 3:10 pm

    I like shiny objects way to much…SQUIRREL! Oh yeah, organization, I have this lovely habit of making lists until there is a stack of lists then is then lost. What I’ve found though is that if I take the lists and plaster them all over my desktop until it is unusable then I finally start to pay attention. Or my wife, who is very organized, just slaps me into action…love her lots (shhh, she reads you too).

    Great comment by Kait Nolan and I totally agree with her assessment of Larry Brooks and Story Engineering. This is probably the greatest organizational resource I have found. Sure one can wander through development in the name of protecting the sacred muse but then maybe the muse is drunk and unaware of where he is wandering for days on end. Just a thought.

    Looking forward to your newest book Kristen. Thanks for the awesome post!

    <- BTW I have a picture now, no more snowflake🙂

    • #7 by Kait Nolan on April 22, 2011 - 3:14 pm

      YES exactly! That muse is totally a lush and is wandering aimlessly when really you need to be getting ready for a fully organized campaign for WAR!

  7. #8 by Raelyn Barclay on April 22, 2011 - 3:11 pm

    Another awesome post, Kristen! When I worked outside of the home I was completely organized, everything in it’s place, everything completely in an orderly fashion, etc. Went out the window as soon as I got to stay home with the wee beasties. I’m going to order that book, thanks!

  8. #9 by Anna Silvernail Sweat on April 22, 2011 - 3:14 pm

    Kristin, this is a great blog. Painful but great. Like Kait, I’m INFJ. In most of my life, I’m very organized and very “list oriented”. But when it comes to writing -or any creative endeavor for that matter (I’m also an artist)- I am an unapologetic panster/plunger. I like to dive in and follow my instincts. I have found that trying too hard to map the project out can make the actual process too predictable for me, which translates in my gemini mind to boring (we are the ferrets of the zodiac after all- ooh, shiny!). But I agree that organizing can be a real time saver. So there must be a happy medium and I need to focus on finding it. Thanks for making me acknowledge my weaknesses (grumbles to self).

  9. #10 by Sharon Hamilton on April 22, 2011 - 3:14 pm

    Great ideas, Kristin. Brian Tracey does do a great job in Eat That Frog. I have a slight bone to pick with that. Sometimes there are things on that MUST BE DONE list that almost seem so big or important, they’re debilitating to contemplate achieving. While I agree it’s just smart to tackle the important things first, a couple of those might be better tackled when we have more skill, or emotional capacity to carve them down to size.

    I’ve seen a lot of writers and other people in business, trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. The 80-20 rule is great, because it builds in the wiggle room to be human.

  10. #11 by Sharon Hamilton on April 22, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    Oh, and I hope that photo is free public access. I am so wanting to steal it!

    • #12 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 22, 2011 - 3:27 pm

      Which pic? The housewife is actually from a site that is totally AWESOME. I am a friend on Facebook. I hope they won’t mind the shout-out and will let me use the pic. *shrugs*

  11. #15 by Delorfinde on April 22, 2011 - 3:22 pm

    I love the way you always seem to reference films I like. First Star Wars, now Star Trek … okay, that just shows I’m a sci-fi geek, but there we go…

    I went on my computer to write and work on Script Frenzy. I’m now reading your blog. What does that say?

  12. #16 by Piper Bayard on April 22, 2011 - 3:54 pm

    Holmes has a saying that relates to this. “You are as strong as your weakest skill and as wise as your worst decision.” I have no idea what my Myers-Briggs is. Not sure I want to know. Wouldn’t want the label to limit me in my mind. Thanks for another great post!

    • #17 by Kerry Meacham on April 23, 2011 - 12:27 pm

      Hey Piper – I will warn you that when you take the Myers-Briggs test the first time it will amaze you how accurate it is. Almost to the point of being spooky. I’m an ENFJ, and like Kristen by spouse is the exact opposite. That’s actually a pretty common occurance. I’ve also found that people lean more toward 1-2 specifics within these 4 parameters, i.e. I’m barely across the middle of the scale in Extrovert but off the charts on iNtuitive. Therefore, you can have people with the same base M-B personality but because of the varying degrees be very different people. People also change somewhat depending on the circumstances they’re in. I’ve never known anyone that “changed” because of what the test tells them, so I don’t think taking it will harm you. And like your significant other will probably be an opposite, don’t be surprised that the person in your life that pushes your buttons the most is an almost exact match of your M-B personality. The things we hate most in other people are the areas we’re weak in as well.

  13. #18 by Christine Ashworth on April 22, 2011 - 4:01 pm

    Ouch! You have SO hit me where it hurts, woman! Okay okay, I’ll go buy the book. Sheesh…lol!

  14. #19 by Elise on April 22, 2011 - 4:15 pm

    Kristen, I’m fairly certain you wrote this post just for me. I am HORRIBLE with organization, and yes, it affects everything else I do. I have Amazon open in the next window, and I’m very excited to start frog-eating. I’ll keep you posted!!!!

  15. #20 by Lissa on April 22, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    My weak area is definitely my plotting and organization. I get through 3/4 of writing a book and start to falter.

    What books have you read that have helped you in this area?

    • #21 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 22, 2011 - 4:41 pm

      Larry Brooks “Story Engineering” is THE best reference for people like us who have a hard time with organization. It will be the best money you ever spend.

  16. #22 by writerwellness on April 22, 2011 - 4:50 pm

    Your middle name should be Carmac, you know Johnny Carson’s mind reader, because I was just about to email you for the names of these two books. I need to put them on my list of gifts that will make Mom happy this year for my kids. So, thanks. Joy

  17. #23 by Elena Fultz on April 22, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    Thanks so much for this, Kristen! So many times it’s easy to try to ignore our shortcomings. Your post has encouraged me to go out and do something about them. And maybe I really will read that book now! Sounds fun.

  18. #24 by gabriellan on April 22, 2011 - 5:06 pm

    Someone should probably stuff a gag in my mouth if I ever try to offer organizational advice to anyone. I’ve always been more of a starter than a finisher, and my plans are more abstracted than constructed. I *can* make to-do lists, though! Organization is my weakest point where writing is concerned, I’ve realized, so I’m attempting to stock up my library of writing books with books that cover plot and structure. And I’ll have to add your book to my to-buy list, too.

    • #25 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 22, 2011 - 5:10 pm

      Seriously, get “Story Engineering.” Brooks makes organizing a novel insanely simple. Also recommend James Scott Bell’s “Plot and Structure.” And I hear ya. Every year I vow to have organized closets and drawers and office, and yet….yeah, let’s not go there. But, what strides I have made have been because of these books. I am not where I want to be, but certainly better than where I began.

      • #26 by gabriellan on April 22, 2011 - 5:44 pm

        “Plot and Structure” is exactly the book I’ve been wanting! I got “Revision and Self-Editing” about a week ago, and I’m loving it so far.

  19. #27 by Jill James on April 22, 2011 - 5:22 pm

    Kristen, I so needed this kick in the butt today. I have a to-do list that is pages long because I keep adding things to it, but it has one thing on the list that I don’t want to tackle because it is a job I shouldn’t have volunteered for so I will do that one today and I bet, just like you said, I will feel great when it is done.

  20. #28 by amyshojai on April 22, 2011 - 5:31 pm

    Tigger & Spock sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…omg, that’s my marriage, too. Must be that opposites attract thang…and I’m read in the comments lots of writerly folks who like shiny objects. MY PEOPLE!

    Lists are my friend. I get such a rush out of crossing stuff off when something’s done. Will check out the froggy book, too, and Story Engineering. Great resources in this post (not to mention channeling my inner demons).

    Like Piper, I don’t wanna know my Myers-Briggs. Yet. But it’s on my to-do list.

  21. #29 by Tamara LeBlanc on April 22, 2011 - 9:40 pm

    Thank you for this!
    I’m a terminal procrastinator. I put everything off until the last minute (even getting to the block for my big event at a college national championship swim meet years ago…uggg, running half the pool complex like a crazy woman in a skin tight competition suit yelling, “Wait, wait,” is not a pretty sight. And I doubt it painted me as much of a threat to the other swimmers waiting)
    I digress…the Froggy book sounds great! I need a plan, a strategy to get myself organized and in charge of my destiny, instead of running behind it yelling, “Slow down, I’m not bleepin ready yet!!!”
    I also found this sentence of yours: This rule basically says that if I do not figure out a way to mitigate or correct my greatest weakness, that it will always be my single greatest limiting factor. Was an AHHHHH HAAAAA moment.
    Loved the post. Thanks for the wisdom!!!
    Have a fabulous weekend,
    Tamara

    • #30 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 22, 2011 - 10:10 pm

      So great to have you back! You hadn’t commented for a while and I was about to send out a digital search party. Happy you had a great vaca and, again, so awesome to have you back😀.

      Sigh. It is a process. I have just had to come to grips with the fact that I will never be naturally organized, so I have to make a plan and try harder. Much like, I will never naturally have thin thighs. I can bemoan that I will never wear a pencil skirt without chancing ripping the @$$ out of it, OR I can find styles that fit better and are flattering.

  22. #31 by Julie Glover on April 22, 2011 - 10:12 pm

    First of all, I thought I was the one who married Spock. Apparently, he’s been cloned and exists in several households.

    Second, I was just dealing with two of my weaknesses this morning: editing is a chore for me (not nearly as fun as writing!) so I put it off, and I tend to tell the reader how my character feels instead of showing them. (How boring is that?) I need to tackle both with the force of a 300-pound linebacker and knock ’em on their backs. I’ll be working on that this coming week with a vengeance!

    Third, I love the Myers-Briggs. As a counseling program graduate, I saw my share of personality tests, and this is one I think everyone should take. You learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses and start to understand why other people with opposite personalities seem like the nine-armed, four-eyed alien featured in the sci-fi novel you just read.

    Keep up the great advice! Learning a lot.

  23. #32 by Ann on April 22, 2011 - 11:00 pm

    My biggest issue is actually writing- well other then grammar which I delegate to a grammar goddess. I need/want/should make time every day to write, but it always gets pushed aside, or my schedule changes, or a kid needs something, or or or……
    Great post, it has inspired me. I’m going to find Eat the Frog!

  24. #33 by Caroline Clemmons on April 22, 2011 - 11:05 pm

    Ah, Kristing, you gave the perfect description of my husband and me. Tigger married Spock and, you’re right, I’m Tigger. I love your blogs and have recommended your site to many people. I look forward to meeting you on the 30th.

    • #34 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 26, 2011 - 6:01 am

      Will be awesome to finally meet you too!

  25. #35 by Melissa Smith on April 22, 2011 - 11:17 pm

    Great post! I definitely procastinate too much. On that list, organization and self-discipline are my nemesises. I’ve downloaded the FROG book. Thanks!

  26. #36 by Graeme on April 22, 2011 - 11:45 pm

    Most of these entries are tips about how to write, and many of the people who post comments seem to be working on projects of their own. Is there any place here where they can toss out samples of their work for others to comment on? And if not, is that an idea (a good one, I mean)? If you have Twitter Tuesday, maybe Open House Friday or something?

  27. #37 by Jess Witkins on April 23, 2011 - 12:20 am

    I’m glad you posted again about the book Eat That Frog, I remembered it from a previous post and was trying to do that for awhile, definitely time for a reminder as I just spent the whole rainy day watching old movies on TCM and am just NOW getting to writing. Thanks for the reminder, Kristen!

  28. #38 by Ironic Mom on April 23, 2011 - 1:06 am

    You just described how I write: “after 42 versions and a lot of alcohol, chocolate and crying.” Except substitute tea for alcohol.

    Maybe that’s why I haven’t finished my book yet.

  29. #39 by Marcia on April 23, 2011 - 1:28 am

    My husband and I are not quite to the extreme of Tigger and Spock, but very close! I have a hard time with organization, too. I get distracted by something fun and before I know it the whole afternoon is gone! My closets and junk drawers are neat, my shoes are in a rack, my clothes hang by color in the closet,(Only have been that organized sine I hit middle-age–I think it’s a hormonal thing) but my desk is a disaster! I have post-its on my post-its! I have a stack of notebooks…can’t find which one I wrote down that awesome quote in! But, if I spend time working on being more organized, I’m not sure I’ll have time to write.🙂 Thanks for all the tips and the support you offer to people like us. I’ll grab a copy of ‘Eat that Frog’ and your book ‘We are Not Alone’, then I think I’ll go write a blog on this topic linking to your blog and mentioning your book. Thanks again!

  30. #40 by Natalie C. Markey on April 23, 2011 - 1:41 am

    I’ve always been fascinated with time management. I know, I can be a geek! One problem I found that I had was managing when I do everything I must do to run a successful writing business. Any writer understands that being a writer is a business that requires a LOT more than writing.

    So, I conducted an experiment on myself. I’ve always been a list person but in what order should I tackle my tasks? I kept close notes and a timer of how long it took me to accomplish various tasks at various times of day. I learned that I blog/column best in the early morning and by 8am I’m working on my novel (non-fiction or fiction) writing goal for the day. I hit my social media sites at various timed breaks throughout the day. By after lunch I’ve mostly met my writing goal and will begin freelance projects. In the evening, I read any blogs/articles that I’ve saved from Twitter throughout the day before planning my next day and reading whatever book I’m reading at the time. Twice a week I go over my business expenses and research future writing/speaking projects.

    I also, made my plans around my nine-month-old daughter’s schedule. As a working from home mother, she often can dictate my schedule. But by keeping her on a strict routine, I can be the great mom I want to be while being productive with my professional time management.
    By learning what times of day I work best at various tasks has helped my productivity tremendously.

  31. #41 by Marilag Lubag on April 23, 2011 - 7:09 am

    I only have one advice about organization: If it’s not messy, don’t fix it. Pareto principle is general enough that we can apply it to everything.

  32. #42 by Kerry Meacham on April 23, 2011 - 1:02 pm

    For anyone wanting to get organized I recommend Getting Things Done by David Allen. HOWEVER, I will warn you ahead of time that this is an all or nothing way to organize your life and not for the faint of heart. It will require some serious time dedication and a strict adherence to his method, but once you get there it is life altering how staying organized can give you so much freedom. Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. If you’re so organized that you don’t have to worry about forgetting something then you concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment and be much more productive AND creative.

    I think one of the other big things about staying organized and on target is the ability to say “no” to people and situations. And yes, that even means saying no to writing occassionally. I had a national sales meeting this week and simply would have spun my wheels if I had tried to shoehorn in some writing time. So I said no to writing, had a good time at the sales meeting, and I’m now catching up on my writerly things, like reading your blogs Kristen and working on my evos this weekend. I think the key is prioritization and understanding that sometimes you have to let some little things slide for the bigger end game.

    My two cents. Great blog Kristen, and thanks for taking the time to help so many people.

  33. #43 by generatedanomaly on April 23, 2011 - 2:24 pm

    My weakness? I store and create on vertical surfaces. Not always that easy to do when there’s a lack of vertical surfaces. I’m excited about getting my office next week. Then there will be walls dedicated to plot maps.

  34. #44 by Damian Trasler on April 23, 2011 - 3:55 pm

    Ha ha ha! Made me laugh that I struggled to find time to read this entry! I keep telling myself that there are excuses not reasons, and if I really WANT to write, I will make the time, not find the time, but it would really help if I could explain that to THE WORLD in general…. Still, for two weeks there are no visitors, no renovations to do, just the two other jobs and the three weasels to take care of….It’ll be gravy all the way!

  35. #45 by Jasmine@GoalsOnTrack on April 24, 2011 - 6:11 pm

    Fantastic ideas Kristen!

  36. #46 by Fiona Wren on April 24, 2011 - 10:27 pm

    What a great post! It’s always a relief to me to hear someone else admit they’re not very organized. I am not very organized. Also, I often say I’m married to Spock. My mother bought me a book ages ago called “Organization for the Creative Person,” which I promptly misplaced.

    I think ultimately you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to doing the thing you dread the most first. I’m at the point right now where I have to dig up some new clients, and I am absolutely dreading the marketing part of my business. Without which, of course, I have no business.

  37. #47 by Michelle D Keyes on April 25, 2011 - 12:06 am

    Nice post – I struggle with this too. In face, for my short stories, I’ve never actually written down some of the important things like plot points, motivation, and other nit-picky details which is probably why my stories don’t flow as well as they should. Thanks for sharing!

  38. #48 by Patricia DeWit on April 25, 2011 - 12:24 am

    Tigger married Spock! I love it.
    What a great contest and you’ve really done well with organizing all the details! Your prize, so generous!

  39. #49 by Dana on April 25, 2011 - 4:37 am

    Hi Kristen! I’m new to your blog but am really intrigued by the ideas in this post. It sounds like I’ll have to get a copy of your book and the frog book, too! My personal weakness is not following through on my good ideas and grand ambitions. Too much time spent daydreaming and not enough time with my feet planted firmly on the ground… I’ll have to start each morning off grounded and then gradually take off into la-la land when the practical details have been sorted out for the day.🙂 Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  40. #50 by Evie on April 25, 2011 - 7:58 pm

    I am an anal-retentive organizer. It’s true. I’ll even admit it in AA (Anal-retentives Anonymous). If you don’t need it, get rid of it…a place for everything…everything in its place…that’s me! But that’s my surroundings, my space; it has squat to do with my time. What I struggle with is boredom-induced lack of time management. I know, I’m writing the story, I shouldn’t be bored. Right? Well, not so much. Some days I have absolutely no problem sitting down and writing for hours, until my butt is numb from lack of movement and I forget to eat lunch. Then, other times, I can’t look at my computer for a week…I just can’t stomach sitting there. I’m bored and want to go DO something. What then suffers is my details. I’m the little kid who can’t wait to go outside and play so she shoves all the laundry (clean and dirty) under the bed, pulls the blankets up neatly, and tells Mom her room is clean. I will make myself sit and write when I feel that way, but all I really do is rush through, trying to meet whatever story-goal I’ve given myself so I can be done with it and go do something different. Basically SQUIRREL! on a different level.

  41. #51 by K.B. Owen on April 27, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    Hey, Kristen, I just mentioned you in my blog today (Wed) and linked to your page, if you want to check it out. (No, really, it was complimentary – didn’t mention the death star thing at all🙂 ).

  42. #52 by Marcia Richards on April 27, 2011 - 12:39 pm

    Links are up for your blog and your book on my blog, FB and Twitter! Thanks again! Love the Tigger/Spock reference. Describes my husband and me to a ‘T’!

  43. #53 by Taffy on April 30, 2011 - 2:50 am

    LOVE lists. I learned I couldn’t keep it all in my head either. I also learned if I wrote down what I needed to get done, I would actually get them done! Shocker, I know!

  44. #54 by nataliefaybooks on May 1, 2011 - 5:55 am

    I can’t believe I missed this post. How come I missed this post?

    Anyway, it is awesome! I’m thinking of writing a thematic Smash-Up post and this will fit perfectly… hummmm…

  45. #55 by Arwen on May 5, 2011 - 2:09 am

    “I have learned that I don’t have to do everything. I can delegate. GASP! “……. once I learned to delegate, that is when I began to live (and I am only afraid of my husband’s side of the closet!

  46. #56 by Stefanie N Snider on February 6, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    Reblogged this on sniderwriter.

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