Tag Archives: time management

Must-Haves For The Time-Crunched, 10 Minute Novelist

Are you time-crunched and your dreams are nearly forgotten?

Only read this if you want to get serious about your big, big dreams. Read this if you have no idea how you’ll find a way in your time-crunched day. Only read this if you’d call yourself a 10 Minute Novelist.

I believe that you can be time-crunched and still pursue your dreams.

This blog post (and the website, and the Facebook group) is for the people who will do what it takes to pursue their dreams, who are willing to think through their lives, their responsibilities and their fears to come up with a practical plan to work slowly, ten minutes at a time, to accomplish it.

If you think that novels just kind of write themselves, please, for the sake of all that’s beautiful, go to this blog instead. 

Writing a novel takes hard work

It takes order, discipline, and planning. Writing a book takes courage and determination and tenacity. Anyone can do it, even if they have only ten minutes a day. (How do I know this? I wrote a novel in ten minute increments. Hence the name of this blog!)

So, if you’re serious,  then you MUST HAVE these things. Ready? 

1.  You need a consistent place to work. (Your office? Your home computer?) My workspace used to be the end of my kitchen counter, which was perfect for watching the kids while I worked, but not so perfect when the spaghetti sauce went flying. Now I have a beautiful corner office in my bedroom. This is where I go to work. And I can work for longer than ten minutes at a time!  Why do you need a consistent place to work? Your space is the place that you find the concrete reassurance that your dreams are worth it. Also your space should be yours and only yours. Your space, no matter how small, tells your brain, your will and your family that this is yours and it should be respected. If you don’t have a space of your own to work, drop everything and create a space now. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be yours. 

2. You need a timer.  If you can only work for ten minutes a day, then you need to time yourself. Use your phone, your microwave, an egg timer, three songs on Pandora, whatever it takes. Why? You’re time crunched. And your timer is that little tool you can use to track yourself. It’s likely you waste time during the day. If anything your timer will remind you to stop playing Farmville and get back to work. And when the timer dings? Organize your whole life better so you can make the most of your time. 

3. You need a vision. What is your raison d’etre for writing?  Is it a cozy mystery? A romantic comedy? A Amish vampire dystopian series? Take more time to study your genre, learn craftsmanship, and be a student of writing, so can accomplish this big, big dream of yours. I want to be a novelist (actually I want to rule the world, but I’ll start with the world of fiction) so I have to set aside ten minutes daily to take one more small step toward my big vision. Why is this important? If you sit down to write and you don’t know what you’re going to write, or why you’re doing it in the first place, you’ll just sit there. Take the time to think through the whys of your writing desires. Then think specific titles. Then open a new page and get to it.

4.  You need some sort of organization.  You need a document file or a notebook or something that you can find easily when it’s time to write again.  If it takes you 20 minutes to find the file, you’re kind of missing the point. You need to be able to sit down, type like a crazy person, and then get back up again. Why? Because one of the biggest time wasters we have is disorganization. You are already time-crunched, don’t add negligence or sloppiness to the mix.

5. You need community. This is perhaps the most important thing on this list. You need to know other writers. In a community you can learn from them. You need to be encouraged. You need to share in each other’s defeats and victories. How do you get into one? Oh, it couldn’t be easier! (Click here to join my group, 10 Minute Novelists). 

6. You need to put your butt in the chair and work. Sounds daunting? It’s okay. All you need is ten minutes! The why  of this should be obvious. But there is something about momentum. More than once, I haven’t felt like writing a word, yet because I forced myself to go for at least ten minutes, I was productive. I had primed my creative pump enough that I wanted to keep going when I finished. A little something is way better than nothing.

This is how it begins. Little by little, you work at that goal and someday, maybe not too long from now, you’ll have a story, perhaps a novel. Then beta readers, then you’ll be talking to graphic designers and posting your reviews. You’ll be a novelist! 

Your big, big dream can be accomplished if you have those six things and you’re willing to work. 

And it is so worth it. 


 

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

What To Do When the Timer Dings? A New Practical Guide

What do you do when the timer dings?

Here’s help for 10 Minute Novelists everywhere!

If there is a sequel to Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day, this is it!

 

Click the image to order!

If you write (or paint, or read, or crochet, or watch television) in 10-minute increments, then you know what will happen. The timer is going to ding after 10 minutes and you’ll have to go back to your to-do lists and your reality. But if your tasks are overwhelming, your stuff is in the way or you’ve forgotten your plan then you’ve lost your motivation to do what you really want with your time. This book gives you practical tips on how to organize your foundational truth, attitudes, people, time, stuff, tools, margins and fails so that you go through your day with order and determination.

Since 2009, the premise of this blog/website has been that much can be accomplished in 10-minute increments.

I’d like to suggest that having the rest of your life in order outside of your writing time, can make all the difference in what happens inside your writing time.

What do you do when the timer dings?

This is more than a time management book. This is a confidence management book.

In chapter one, Understanding Your Foundation, I encourage you to think carefully about what you want to really accomplish with your time. I hope you get a better sense of the big picture of your life so you can make great choices.

In chapter two, Organizing Your Emotions, I suggest that emotions may be hindering us from accomplishing the things that we want. As painful as it is, I hope you see areas in your life where your attitude can improve.

In chapter three, Organizing People, I encourage you to gather the people you are closest to. I explain the benefits of communicating with them your mutual needs. I also argue the case for delegation, especially in the context of a home. You can train your family to use the timer too!

“Excellent book. REALLY helpful. I feel like I need a week off to just go through the exercises, but I am going to start budgeting 10 minutes at least once a day and make a start.”  — Barb Szyszkiewicz

In chapter four, Organizing Your Time, I suggest that you track your time to see where it is spent. I hope you take the time to analyze your minutes and seconds and make changes. The timer is a great reminder of how fast life can pass us by!

In the fifth chapter, Organizing Your Daily Needs, I challenge you to look at all of the things that must be done, specifically domestic responsibilities. Then I give you suggestions on how to be more efficient and effective doing them. I hope this makes your home more peaceful.

In chapter six, Organizing Your Stuff, I echo anti-clutter thinkers by giving reasons why clutter wastes time. I hope that you make some deliberate choices in reducing your possessions for the sake of peace.

In chapter seven, Organizing Tools, I ask you to take advantage of good tools to do your job well. Maybe you’ll pull out your slow cooker now.

In chapter eight, Organizing Margins, I ask you to look at the emotional”white space” of your life. I give examples of how to guard good margins so that you have room for the unexpected. I hope my mistakes inspire you to care for yourself.

And in the last chapter, chapter nine, Organizing the Fails, I suggest that you are diligent about keeping failure from slowing you down.

You are more than your to-do lists.

You are more than your obligations and tasks. I believe you have the potential to make some major changes in your life. I think you have the power to be organized. I know you can make more time for the people and passions that you love.

Your dreams are worth ten minutes, but the rest of your life is worth so much more.

You can grab your life by its hand and say, “I’m the boss of you! Let’s get busy!”


 


Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

How to Get Up Early to Write (7 Tips From a Former Night Owl)

by AprIl Davila

Get up early?

I started getting up early to write when I was working full time and my kids were little. I didn’t want to do it, but I absolutely could not find any other time to write.

As a die-hard night owl, the adjustment was rough. I’m not gonna lie.

It took me about eighteen months to settle in, but that was because I went about it all wrong.

Here are seven things I wish I had known when I started:

1. You don’t have to be a morning person.

I was absolutely NOT a morning person when I started. It was painful, no question about it, but eventually, I got used to it because I had to. If your writing is important enough, you’ll get used to it.

2. Coffee.

If you own a coffee maker, it probably has a delayed start function. Take 10 minutes, google the make and model to find the owners manual, and read up on how to set it to start brewing ten minutes before your alarm goes off. You want the coffee to be ready to drink when you drag yourself out of bed. Hot coffee can be a powerful motivator.

3. A quick foot massage.

I know this sounds strange, but sometimes, when I was too tired to get up and even the promise of hot coffee wasn’t enough, I would pinch and roll each toe between my fingers for a few seconds. Somehow this quick little foot massage helped drag me into consciousness. Try it. I swear it works.

4. Do it (almost) every day.

For the first year, I thought I was going easy on myself by only getting up early to write every other day. What I know now is that it is actually much harder to do every other day. Do it every day, or at least every workday. Just put it in your head that this is how you start your days. It will be a drag at first, but eventually, you will adjust. It will get easier.

I struggled terribly with early mornings until I started waking up at 5 am six days a week. I know, it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s easier to settle into it if you do it (almost) every day. (For the record, I’m a big believer in having one or two mornings a week to sleep in. It gives you something to look forward to. Trying to wake up at 5 am every morning forever will just lead to burnout.)

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
Lemony Snicket

5. Establish a routine.

When you wake up super early to write you will be groggy. You will not want to think about anything too much until the coffee kicks in. To overcome this, you will need to establish a routine and make time for it. So if you only need ten minutes, you can’t just set the alarm to go off ten minutes earlier than usual. You have to figure out what routine will bring your head to your writing and then set the alarm so that you have enough time to do the whole thing. 

My routine consists of pouring my mug of coffee and sitting down with my journal. I aim to fill one page of the journal with whatever comes to mind – seriously anything. It usually takes me about half an hour, and I notice my pen starts to move faster as the coffee kicks in. Then, I close the journal, set the mug aside, and attack my writing. This means that to get an hour or writing in, I have to get up an hour and a half before my kids. I just do. If you’re only writing for 10 minutes, you may still have to set the alarm to give you a full 40 minutes. Accept this as part of the deal.

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6. Go to bed early.

Depending on how old you are, and how demanding your days can be, getting up super early on a regular basis will start to wear you down if you don’t compensate by going to bed a little earlier. As a night person by nature, I never used to get tired until after midnight. But I knew I needed sleep, so I started brushing my teeth and getting into bed earlier. For many weeks I would sit up and read until my usual crash-out time, but eventually, the exhaustion caught up and I started falling asleep earlier. It’s embarrassing for a self-proclaimed night person to admit to going to bed at 9, but you’re a writer, dang it, and you’re doing it for your art.

7. Set an end time.

For me, writing time ends at 6:30 or when the kids wake up. Whichever comes first. If you’re a mom, and/or if you’re working a full-time job, you will need to set an end time. Write as much as you can in your allotted time and then pat yourself on the back. Whatever else happens that day, you wrote. And that is a glorious thing.

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
H.G. Wells

For the New Parents

As a quick side note, if you are the parent of a very young child (or children), you may have to wait a few years to implement this, but take heart, the time will come.

I remember, when I was nursing, I felt like the exhaustion would consume me. There was no predicting when those ravenous babies would wake. My advice: don’t stress. Write for a few minutes while they’re napping and know that you are in the throws of a unique and precious time. Get some audiobooks to listen to while you fold endless loads of laundry and soak up as much story as you can. As a writer, you can totally count that as honing your craft (for real).

Happy writing!


If you liked this post, you may also like 

Finding Time to Write (With Toddlers in Tow) or

6 Practical Ways To Plug Time Leaks For More Writing Time


April Dávila lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and two beautiful children. By day she blogs and works as a freelance writer. By the light of early, early morning she chips away at her first novel. Check her out at http://aprildavila.com

How To Handle Other Commitments As A 10 Minute Novelist

By definition, if you are a 10-minute novelist, then you are time-crunched.

You have commitments to your job, your family, and your social life. Because you are a 10-Minute Novelist, you have to find pockets of time here and there to get those words down. But even with all the best intentions, it’s hard to do this.

How To Handle Other Commitments as a 10 Minute Novelist

How do you find 10 minutes here and there if you have so much else to do?

Take stock of where each second of your day goes.

You may have time leaks. If you do, look at this blog post on how to plug them. If you’re really serious about making the most of your time, you need to track it. This isn’t any different that tracking finances if you are trying to get your money under control. This isn’t any different than tracking calories if you are getting your weight under control. Pardon the pun, but tracking your time leaks is time-consuming and difficult. But at the end of the exercise, you’ll be able to see where your time actually goes. This may be discouraging, but you’ll be able to assess honestly your time leaks and make informed choices on how to plug them. Some of your commitments are rigid and you can’t get out of them — like going to work each day. But some are flexible. Use their flexibility to your advantage.

Consider how efficient you are with certain tasks.

Are there ways that you can speed everything up? Can you do all your shopping once a week? Perhaps you can go a little faster in cleaning your kitchen? Perhaps you can store paperwork more efficiently so you aren’t overwhelmed by it? Many household tasks can’t be avoided, but they can be sped up to their most efficient. As tempting as it is, you can’t really write and cook dinner at the same time. (I know, I’ve tried.) So instead, come up with ways to speed up dinner, like making freezer meals, cutting vegetables in advance, or putting something in the crockpot earlier in the day. Eating and cleaning are commitments that you can work around without sacrificing what’s important to you.

Can you eliminate some tasks?

If you have assessed your time, you may find that you are spending time on the unnecessary or redundant. If you don’t enjoy gardening, then don’t plant one this spring. And if you don’t like fussing over what to give your relatives, then buy gift cards and call it done. No task you do should be without scrutiny. Often we say yes to commitments because we don’t think we have a choice, but we do. I suggest re-evaluating some of the decisions you ‘ve made and eliminating or simplifying them to maximize your time.

Can you delegate?

Delegating is my all-time favorite method of saving time and I explain why here. Is it possible for you to give some of your household responsibilities to others? Can you step back and encourage them to participate without micromanaging? Can you be grateful for extra help? Many hands make light the work. While explaining to your family or roommates what needs to be done takes time, you will save time in the long run.

Can you get up earlier or stay up later?

I am often surprised at how much I accomplish when I get up early. And while I would have never called me an early bird, to have some daily tasks done before 8:00 AM is encouraging and motivating. Can you give yourself an extra half hour, at either end of the day? It is possible to squeeze in bits of time between your other obligations.

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Can you be more organized?

Could you sort the mail as soon as you pick it up instead of leaving it in piles? Can you put similar things together in your pantry? Could you give certain tasks certain times of the day or week so that everything can get done in an orderly fashion? We often lose time by not grouping tasks together. Consider how you can meet your household requirements swiftly so that you can block more time for yourself.

Do you need to communicate your needs?

Could it be that the other people in your household could do more to help your productivity? This may be the hardest thing to do on this list, but it could also be the most life-changing. Can you discuss your needs with the people you live with? Or can you delegate chores? Can you start good habits of order? Could you model responsible, non-whiny attitudes about new policies and order?

Are you wasting time?

Where do you put all of your time? Do you dawdle? Are there too many cat videos in your life? Do you catch yourself playing too much Candy Land? You may find it helpful to identify these time wasters and figure out a way to limit yourself. You’ve probably heard it said that life is short. It is. Why would you want to waste it on the trivial or uninteresting?

These could be radical changes for you.

 But if you really want to make time for your dream, you’ll have to look at your commitments in a way that could be difficult or painful.

But you have a dream to write, or you wouldn’t be here.

You can do a lot in 10-minute increments.

Find more of them.

Your dreams are worth it.


If you liked this post, then you may also like:

Wasting Time: Seven Hard Questions To Ask Yourself, Or,

Six Must-Haves For The Time-Crunched Writer! 


Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

Top 10 Things You Can Ask Yourself If You’re Looking For Extra Time To Write by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

Ever since I decided to find 10 minute increments here and there to write, I’ve viewed the time in my day differently.

Now, I compare wasted time to a designer coffee that I might buy daily without thinking about it.

I’d like to suggest that in the area of time management, conscientious writers need to consider the latte factor.

I did not coin the term Latte Factor. It was, however coined by financial guru David Bach. In his book, The Automatic Millionaire, Bach claims that consumers spend little bits of money here an there, say, buying daily designer drinks.

He claims, and rightfully I think, that these little bits add up. Wise consumers should see that this “money leak” is a problem in the long term. His suggestion is that consumers take active steps to stop those money leaks so that they can save money, perhaps significant amounts.

I’d like to suggest that we do the same with time.

We get only 24 hours in a day and we have to spend it somewhere. This may take some soul searching, but if you are really serious about pursuing your writing dreams, you’re going to have to make time for it.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

I am a firm believer in writing in 10 minute chunks. And like Bach’s Latte Factor, I believe I  can find more time in my day if I look hard for it. 

I also believe that you can find 10 minute chunks of time to write if you are willing to  be brutal with the things that take up your time.

Top 10 Things You Can Ask Yourself If You’re Looking For Extra Time To Write

If You're Looking For Extra Time To Write by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

  1. Can you lower your expectations for the amount of writing you can do in a day?

2. Can you be brutally honest with yourself about those optional activities that you could eliminate, like PTA or that birthday party this weekend?

3. Can you get rid of time wasters, like mindless television?

4. Can you consider everything that you do, from the time you get out of bed each morning to the time you go to bed at night — where the time could be slipping from you?

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
Anthony G. Oettinger

5. Can you get up a bit earlier? Or go to bed a bit later without affecting your body’s needs?

6. Can you streamline tasks like meals and chores so that they take less time? Can you plan or prepare meals in advance?

7. Can you delegate to your family members any appropriate tasks, like cleaning, laundry or cooking?

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

8. Can you organize the clutter so that you don’t waste time looking for things?

9. Can you lower your expectations for holidays, extracurricular activities, or family events so that you can have more time?

10. Can you say “no” to people around who need your time and energy?

 

If you can write 10 minutes extra a day, every day for a week, that’s 70 extra minutes you can devote to writing this week. That’s 280 minutes more this month. That’s 14,560 minutes, (or 242.66 hours!) that you can write this year!

Our time is valuable and no matter how hard we try to hold on to it, it marches forward. Rather than giving up altogether, just look for those latte factor moments, make a few changes in your schedule and make the most of it writing!

 

Top 10 Signs That You May Be A 10 Minute Novelist by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

Are Your Big Writing Dreams Worth Finding the Time?

Writing a novel takes hard work. It takes order. It takes discipline and planning. It takes courage and determination and tenacity. Anyone can do it, even if they have only ten minutes a day. (How do I know this? I wrote a novel in ten minute increments. Hence the name of this blog!)

I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends
I am a 10 Minute Novelist and I Have Amazing Friends

Sometimes we think that we also need long, uninterrupted hours, an isolated cabin in the woods, a whiskey habit and a carton of Marlboros to be a writer too. But we don’t. Sometimes we need to stop thinking about how much different our life is from the idealized writer life is and just do what we can. We may have been in the habit of thinking that we can’t write at all unless conditions are perfect, the kids are more cooperative and inspiration strikes.

But I’m here to tell you that there are no such things as perfect conditions for writing.

There are, however, writers out there who make the most of what they do have and accomplish their dreams in less than ideal increments. I call these folks 10 Minute Novelists. 
Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

Are you a 10 Minute Novelist? Ask yourself these questions and see!

1. The baby wakes you at 4:30 and after you settle him back down, your first thought is “How many words can I get in before the whole family wakes up?”

2. While watching a crime show, a prosecutor mentions “solitary!” Your first thought? Solitary confinement? That sounds heavenly! I could get so much done there!

3. You’ve said to yourself “one of these days, when I have the time, I’ll get that book written!” Except that you’ve said it so many times no one believes you.

4. You treasure time alone in the bathroom to collect your thoughts and you may have a notebook and pen stashed somewhere just in case you get inspired.

Why can't I write?
That hashtag? That’s our Weekly Chat on Twitter! Join us!

5. Whenever you hear someone say they wrote 3000 words in one day, your first thought isn’t “good for you” your first thought is, “will they press charges if I slap them?”

6. There’s an inch of dust on your laptop.

7. You think that real writers have sprawling desks, live in isolated cabins, chain smoke, drink themselves silly, wear a lot of black and possibly own several cats. Then you decide, well no wonder they write so much, no one could stand to be near them!

8. If you’re honest with yourself, you think that your dreams are selfish. That your responsibilities are far more important and lofty than any silly, childish fantasy. That the desire to write a book is nothing but a vain attempt of mortality. And then you don’t know why you’re so sad.

9. You’ve watched Two And A Half Men and thought more than once, “I could write better dialogue in my sleep!”

10 Somebody once told you that you had talent, but you’ve never found a way to express yourself in writing. And that kind of bugs you. And you don’t know where to begin. Click this to find out how to squeeze in ten minutes to pursue those dreams of yours! 

If any of these are true about you then you may be a 10 Minute Novelists. That means that you are time-crunched writer with big, big dreams.

Join our Facebook group to meet hundreds of writers from all over the world who are just like you. This is such a cool place to hang out, that Writer’s Digest named us one of the best websites for writers in 2016. Many of us are just starting out on our writing adventures. Some of us are very experienced. Some of us have book deals and agents. All of us though know what it’s like to squeeze writing goals around a busy life. Want to start finding an extra 10 minutes today? Here’s how!

Your dreams are worth 10 Minutes. Find them. Put down some words.

Be amazing!

#Top10Tuesday Top Ten Things I Think About Daily That Make Me Productive

I am NOT perfect. I make a LOT of mistakes, but one of the biggest things I did right was decide that I would make time for my dreams.

(I wrote a book about it too!) 

Click on the image to get your copy!
Click on the image to get your copy!

I realized that if I was going to actually write in 10 minute increments, I would have to organize my life. Now, I’ve been doing this 10 Minute Writer/Novelists gig for nine years, so I’ve streamlined my procedures pretty well (and THANK GOD, my kids are older!)

But I still have 10 Things I think about on a daily basis that makes my organization and productivity possible.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.17.31 PM

1. I know where everything is.  I minimize clutter, assign places for everything and have no trouble throwing things away.

2. I have a plan every day. Most of the time I keep it in my head — but I also write lists and keep a calendar. I’ve also discovered that daily schedules have to be flexible, especially as my family’s needs change.

3. I know how long each task should take me. I figured this out when I was devoting my housework to 10 minute increments. Ten minute tasks include: starting a load of laundry, folding one basket of clothes, starting  meal prep, cleaning the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, emptying all trash bins, vacuuming one floor of the house. Having this information helps my plan my day.

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies
Clearly, I rushed this graphic and forgot to take that last bit off. Oops.

4. I communicate my time needs to my family. I started training my children when they were young that I would need 10 minute increments to work. Generally speaking, they understood it. Now that they’re older, they have no trouble respecting my need for some alone time.

5. I model good attitudes to my children regarding staying organized. This is the most important item on the list. If I whine and complain about anything I do, my children will, most assuredly echo me. If I want them to be happy cleaner-uppers, then I need to whistle while I work. It’s cheesy, but it works.

6. I set a lot of timers. Thank you Apple! My iPhone has what I need: alarms, timers, and world clocks to tell me if my friends in the UK are up to talk! Oh, I kid. I’ve now graduated from my microwave timer to my phone, which is better because my microwave didn’t fit in my pocket.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

 

7. I plan my meals in advance. Generally speaking, I know what we’re going to eat every meal of the week. I also cook the same things every weekend. I love to be creative in the kitchen, but the “old standbys” go faster. I have a couple dozen recipes that I always have ingredients for and I’ve practiced cooking them so often, that I’m pretty fast at it. I also couldn’t function without my crock pot and rice cooker.

8. I don’t waste time shopping or doing other errands. I keep orderly lists and go out as little as possible, combining as many errands as I can. If an item didn’t make the list, then it has to wait a week. It’s brutal, but that’s why we buy four gallons of milk at a time.

9. I multitask if possible. I use down time to get stuff done, but I also understand when multi-tasking isn’t such a great plan.

10. I delegate household tasks. This is my secret weapon. My kids have always had a lot of responsibility around the house and the older they get, the more jobs are given to them. Some people think having five children is hard work, are you kidding me? Because I do have five, I have an army that cleans the house every Saturday morning, tidies every afternoon and cleans the kitchen twice a day. How do small families do it?

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 1.30.44 PM

All of these took practice, but none of them were too difficult. If you’re  new to the idea of working in 10 minute increments (and perhaps a little intimidated) pick one of the things on this list and practice it for a few weeks until you gain confidence. Then pick up the other one.

know you can find time to pursue your dreams.  Even in as little as 10 Minutes a Day!

How Your Wasted Time is Like An Overpriced Latte From A Designer Coffeeshop

 

Ever since I decided to find 10 minute increments here and there to write, I’ve started viewing the time in my day differently.

Now, I compare wasted time to a designer coffee that I might buy daily without thinking about it. I’d like to suggest that in the area of time management, conscientious writers need to consider the latte factor.

I did not coin the term Latte Factor. It was, however coined by financial guru David Bach,In his book, The Automatic Millionaire. In his bookhe claims that consumers spend little bits of money here an there, say, buying daily designer drinks.

The Latte Factor of Time Management
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

He claims, and rightfully I think, that these little bits add up. Wise consumers should see that this “money leak” is a problem in the long term. His suggestion is that consumers take active steps to stop those money leaks so that they can save money, perhaps significant amounts.

I’d like to suggest that we do the same with time.

We get only 24 hours in a day and we have to spend it somewhere. This may take some soul searching, but if you are really serious about pursuing your writing dreams, you’re going to have to make time for it.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

I am a firm believer in writing in 10 minute chunks. And like Bach’s Latte Factor, I believe I  can find more time in my day if I look hard for it. 

I also believe that you can find 10 minute chunks of time to write if you are willing to  be brutal with the things that take up your time.

We don’t have any carry over minutes, or um, “milky minutes” to put toward the next day.

 

How do you find extra time to write?  

  • Lower your expectations for the amount of writing you can do in a day.
  • Be realistic about your firm commitments. Infants and toddlers take up a LOT of time.
  • Be honest with yourself about those optional activities that you could eliminate, like PTA or that birthday party this weekend.
  • Get rid of time wasters, like mindless television.
  • Consider everything that you do, from the time you get out of bed each morning to the time you go to bed at night — where is the time slipping from you?
  •  Can you get up a bit earlier? Go to bed a bit later without affecting your body’s needs?
  • Can you streamline tasks like meals and chores so that they take less time?
  • Can you delegate to your family members any appropriate tasks, like cleaning, laundry or cooking?
  • Can you multi-task in anyway, say, listen to audiobooks during your drive to work? Or, watch your favorite TV show while you fold laundry?
  • Can you organize the clutter so that you don’t waste time looking for things?
  • Can you plan or prepare meals in advance?
  • Can you restrict those times of dawdling or idling?
  • Can you lower your expectations for holidays, extracurricular activities, or family events so that you can have more time?
  • Can you say “no” to people around who need your time and energy?

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  •  Is there down time in your commute? Do you have to regularly wait on something or someone?
  • Can you group daily, weekly and monthly tasks together so that time isn’t wasted?
  • Can you organize carpools and babysitting with other families so that each of you have more time?

At our house, nearly every second of the day is assigned somehow.  I know when I’m getting up, when I’m making breakfast for 7 (we eat the same thing every morning, so I don’t waste time thinking about it), when  I’m cleaning up (big girls clean up after breakfast, boys clean up after lunch, I clean up after supper).  I know what I do after breakfast, what my homeschool morning looks like, what my afternoon looks like and what my evening looks like. I know when we clean the house (Saturdays) and when we do the laundry.  I’ve done my best to manage my time, but even then, things come up, plans go awry, someone gets sick or something else happens.

The point is that I’m doing my best to control my time so that when I sit down to write, I can actually accomplish something.

When it all works well, I’m happy, my family learns responsibility, my home is organized and my writing gets done. You can meet your writing goals in small chunks of time. It takes hard work, organization and discipline, but it can be done.

It’s just too bad I can’t bank time to go over the next day.

 

The Writers’ Guide To Time Thieves A Guest Post by Elaine Bayless

As 10 Minute Novelists, we live life in the margins. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there, a few word sprints, and boom we have a novel! So it makes sense that we would be excellent managers of time, right?

Ah yes, I can hear some of you laughing right now. Managing time is like nailing Jell-o to a wall. And to complicate matters further, we must contend with Time Thieves.

What are time thieves? Those sneaky critters that sneak into our daily calendar and steal away our precious 10 minute writing increments! Fortunately, you don’t have to be a victim. Here are four of the most common time thieves and how to combat them.

Writers' Guide To Time Thieves by Elaine Bayless
Writers’ Guide To Time Thieves by Elaine Bayless
1. The Squeaky Wheel: It’s true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Emergencies pop up, accidents happen, and sometimes we run up against a deadline and must neglect some tasks to complete others.

We do need to attend to those squeaky wheels, but we also need to give attention to the other three wheels. Patching one flat tire does no good if the other three tires have worn away their tread. The worst thing about this time thief is that it is totally valid. Emergencies do have to be addressed and deadlines must be met. But as writers, we have a shared dream that we know is equally valid. Make your writing a squeaky wheel.

– Enlist your community in your writing goals: Kids, spouses, roommates and friends all need to know what you’re up to. When they understand your priority, they can be enlisted to handle some of the squeaky wheels in daily life.

– Set an alarm. For extra fun, make it the sound of a squeaky wheel. Whenever the alarm goes off, do a word sprint.

2. TV Streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, get behind me, you time thieves!

You innocently sit down and think, “Hmmm, maybe I’ll check out this Parks and Rec show that everyone is talking about.” Three hours later you look up in a daze and wonder where the time went! Save the marathons for special times – like pregnancy bed rest, surgery recovery, a sick day, or a very special date night. Otherwise, decide BEFORE you turn it on exactly how many episodes you’ll watch.

Expert tip: half hour shows are typically only 22 minutes long and hour shows are only 44 minutes. That means if you decide to sit down and watch 2 half hour episodes, you have 16 minutes you can use to write. Yes, I’m serious! Open your WIP, set a timer for 8 – 16 minutes and write. Then reward yourself with the TV show of your choice.

3. The Shoulds: These are the external expectations that steal time from your day.

You should get to work on time. You should work late more than once a week. You should cook. You should have a clean house all the time. You should get up early to exercise/meditate/read the paper. You should look sexy/confident/put-together every day. You should volunteer at your kid’s school. You should respond thoughtfully to every Facebook post you read. You should make every blog post a miniature work of art that Elizabeth Gilbert (or Danielle Steele, or Truman Capote) would weep over. These “shoulds” work their way into our unconscious mind and leap out whenever we have 10 minutes to spare. So instead of writing our novel, we wipe down the kitchen counters, or trim our nose and ear hair. Whenever you hear yourself say the word “should,” take notice and pause. Ask yourself WHY the task in question “should” be done. You may find that many such tasks are completely optional. Or, if they aren’t optional, they may just be less important that using that time to write.

How can I get my family to leave me alone?
I mean, pretty please, with sugar on it?
4. Smart Phones/Tablets: Oh my goodness, these are tempting, aren’t they?

We check the weather and then glance at our Twitter newsfeed. We find a super fun game and suddenly we’re addicted. We look up one simple fact on Wikipedia and get lost clicking through from one related link to another. As with TV streaming, decided in advance how much time you’re going to give to this toy. Then set the timer on the phone and put it down as soon as the timer goes off. If you’re using the Internet for research, still set a timer. If you don’t find the answer before the timer goes off you can always add more time. Alternatively, disconnect from the wi-fi while writing (and put the phone is airplane mode), and just jot down anything you need to research. Then later, when you’re NOT writing, do the research.

Elaine Bayless is a member of the 10 Minute Novelists Facebook group. She wrote Birds, Bees and Church Trailier Thieves and is the mother of a lively toddler. 

Three Tricks I Used Around My House That Gave Me More Time To Write

Back in the early days of my original blog, my computer was in my kitchen. It was easy for me to go back and forth between Mommy responsibilities and my writing passions. But I was always looking for ways to make the have-tos more time efficient.  Keep in mind, these all come from a Stay-At-Home Homeschooling Mother of Five point of view. I fully understand that everyone doesn’t live their life like mine (poor you!) but perhaps my ideas will stimulate some of yours!

Here are the first three tricks I used to train my family that gave me more time to write!

Three tricks I used around my house that gave me more time to write #timemanagement #writing #novel #fiction

 #1: Delegate!

If you’re a mom, start giving kids simple things to do, gradually adding more as they get older. (Nobody really wants more responsibility, but it’s a part of life, right?) I’ve noticed that my kids can handle light chores at about age 4 1/2 ( a little later for the boys).  If I can delegate setting the table, clearing the table, washing the high chair and sweeping the floor, I’ve already added ten minutes to my life to do what I want. Of course, I must gently teach them how to do it and reward them for a job well done.  I also make it clear that this is their daily job, not mine. It also doesn’t kill them to earn their TV, DVD, iPad or computer time.

So, take an honest look at your daily to-do list. What items can you relinquish control over?  What chores can be someone else’s responsibility instead of yours? Where can you find those ten minutes?

#2 Blood, Vomit and Fire (Or the Only Reasons To Interrupt Mommy!)

#3: Reward Yourself! (Or What To Do After You Clean the Bathroom)

On Saturdays, cleaning the bathroom is a must do.  Oh, how I would much rather be writing. (Hey, I’d much rather be doing anything!) So, I decided that I would clean that room first, get it over with, work as hard as I could on it for ten minutes and reward myself with writing!

What job do you have to do today that is yucky?  What have you been putting off? Can you reward yourself by tackling it a few minutes at a time.  Can you work hard on it for ten minutes and then go sit at your computer (or even with pen and paper) and write for a while as your reward?

If we are to be real writers, (the kind that get paid and published) then we must be disciplined.  If it weren’t for my little ten minute method, I would never have a clean bathroom, clean clothes, clean dishes and DSS would be knocking on my door. Perhaps these three tips can help you too!

Take these little steps. Ten minutes at a time.  You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish.