Daily Time-Savers: Make Time For What You REALLY Want to Do

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I’ve been trying to find time to write two series of novels. Insanity, I know, especially since I need to carve out time for my fiction from everything else I have going on.

I love this article, 30 Ways to Save 1 Minute Per Day, especially this:

“Set up a recurring task list. Certainly there are tasks that are part of your daily and weekly routines. Use an app like 30/30 by Binary Hammer (iOS only) or something similar to create a recurring task list for such items so that you can get moving on them without delay.”

Unfortunately a recurring task list doesn’t work for me unless it’s in my calendar; my exercise time, regular meetings, and various daily and weekly chores are blocked out in my calendar. So are my daily writing times.

If I’m serious about something; I block out time on my calendar.

Years ago, before I returned to Macs, I used Time and Chaos, as my favorite calendar. I have fond memories of it. Nowadays I use Calendar on my Mac.

Dictate to save time

Here’s my biggest time-saving tip: I dictate as much as I can. Anything short, which takes fewer than five minutes, I write. Anything longer, I dictate, after I’ve created a mind map.

While this works for nonfiction, fiction is different. I’ve no idea why, but I can’t type or dictate first drafts in fiction. I hand-write the material, then I transcribe it by dictating it into Scrivener.

Make time for what you really want to do

All the time-saving strategies in the world are meaningless, if you’re not sure why you’re saving time.

What do you want to do with the time you’ve saved? Do you want to spend more time with your family, exercise, spend more time on a hobby?

Once you know why you want to save time, you’ll become much more dedicated to being productive, and to saving as much time as you can.

For example, one of my friends talked about starting his own business for years. He always said he’d do it when he had more time. Then his father died. He decided there and then that he would make time for what he REALLY wanted to do. He started his own business a year later.

What do you REALLy want to do? Once you know that, you’ll be able to make time to fit it in.

Plan Your Way Out of To Do List Chaos

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Mastering Your To Do List: Planning is the Answer

I have fond memories of my ultimate To Do list manager, long-defunct Lotus Agenda. (Now available as freeware, if you have an old MS DOS machine lying around…)

Agenda was an early Personal Information Manager. For its users, it was perfect. So of course, it vanished when the world turned to Windows. In the decades since its demise, nothing has been developed to take Agenda’s place.

Here’s why I LOVED Agenda. And why, if I let myself think about the program, my eyes fill with nostalgic tears: the program made PLANNING easy.

None — not a single, solitary one — of the applications available now can take Agenda’s place, because they don’t take the planning aspect of To Do list and time management into account.

Your To Do list is useless without a plan

This article, A Brief History of the To-Do List and the Psychology of Its Success | Brain Pickings, is wonderful. It points out that:

“… our brain appears to be wired to nag about unfinished to-do list items as uncompleted tasks and unmet goals continue to pop up into our minds.”

As the article points out, the items on your To Do List keep popping into your mind because: “the unconscious is asking the conscious mind to make a plan.”

Once you create a plan, completing the To Do list tasks isn’t a chore, it’s fun, because you can see the bigger picture.

The Brain may be as close to Agenda as you can get

I love The Brain. No, it’s not Agenda; the program doesn’t automatically sort your freeform entries.

But it does make it easier to plan. If you use tags judiciously — @today, @important, @this week etc, you can link your To Do list items to their plans, and to what you’ll need to carry out those plans.

I still wish I could use Agenda…

Easy Time Management Solutions Eliminate Writers’ Procrastination For Good (Press Release)

Eliminating procrastination is essential for good time management. Top copywriter and writing teacher Angela Booth attributes her own productivity to a range of time management skills, which she has started teaching to her students.

She believes that with a few simple skills, anyone can learn to make the most of their time. She believes writers especially benefit from learning productivity skills to eliminate procrastination, and says: “Many of my students have tripled their writing production in less than a month, and they’re always amazed when they realize that not only are they writing more, but their writing’s quality has improved too.”

Angela offers two time management tools for writers and others. An ebook, the “Top 70 Writing Tips To Help You To Write More”, which she compiled from writing tips she’s discovered over 20 years, and a five-week class, conducted via email: “Write More And Make More Money From Your Writing: Develop A Fast, Fun Productive Writing Process”.

Although aimed primarily at professional writers, Angela says that anyone who needs to write can benefit from these two time management tools.

Business people and students benefit, because the tools improve not only their time management and productivity skills, but also their memory and creativity. She says: “Students find that the class helps them to improve their memory skills, which means their grades go up.” Business people who take the class find that their email inboxes are cleared quickly each day, and that they now enjoy those tasks which they’ve avoided before: such as writing reports and creating presentations.

Angela Booth is a top copywriter and writing teacher, and the author of a popular time management book published by Prentice Hall.

[tags]time management,procrastination,writing,productivity,time management tips[/tags]