Let’s face the facts: If you’re an author or writer of any genre, then you are going to be spending quite a bit of time with marketing! You’ve got your brand to build, graphics to make, and blogs to publish. You’ve got to interact on Twitter and reply to comments on your website. Not to mention all the household responsibilities stacking high on your desk. How on earth are we expected to juggle all of these things?
It’s hard. There’s no doubt about that. Time management is one of the most challenging things any adult can face. But people are doing it. That’s the thing. There are plenty of successful authors/artists/business professionals out there who are successfully balancing the same 24 hours in day that you have. But how?
I know you’re trying to save time, so let’s cut right to the chase:
Step One > Cut The Fluff
My arch enemy is time wasting. I just can’t do it. My husband, bless his heart, is a dilly dallier. He likes to take his time with things. I’m all about the hustle. I want to get stuff done and get it done now. It may be a good idea for you to find a balance between the two. Are you really busy in the morning before work, or are you on Twitter for an ungodly amount of time, Facebook stalking your old boyfriend, and reblogging cat gifs on Tumblr? Pay attention to where your precious minutes are spent, and be prepared to take them back.
Step Two > Take SHORT, EFFECTIVE breaks
Don’t get me wrong, you should take breaks. No one can physically be on hustle mode 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But your breaks should be short and effective. Don’t break for an hour a day to binge watch a television show, or eat foods that are bad for your body. Take a walk, read a book, take a power nap, eat a healthy snack. Let the moments in between work drive you to be better. Also, it’s a good idea to consider several short breaks throughout the day, rather than one big break in the middle.
Step Three > Make A Plan
I love writing down my tasks for the day. It helps me feel at ease to get them out of my brain and down on paper. Not to mention the satisfaction of crossing them off. Set a few realistic goals for yourself each day, and list the steps it takes to reach them. Your goals should never be vague or too challenging. Think specific and reachable. On top of your daily goals, you should also have a marketing strategy on hand. How many blog posts per week, tweets per day, graphics per month will drive your sales forward? Who is your target audience? Have a plan!
Step Four > Time Yourself
While completing each task, set a timer. Spend an hour in the morning writing your new blog post, take a break, then come back and spend an hour designing a few graphics, take a break, and so on. You won’t feel like your drowning, and the change of pace (whether you’re done with the task or not) will help you feel refreshed. Sometimes it’s easy for us to “overwork” an idea: a blog post, an outline, a Facebook graphic. Be confident in yourself when the task is done, and move on to the next thing. Also, once you start timing your social media use, you’ll cut a whole lot of wasted fluff from your day.
Step Five > Outsource
This seems to be a challenging idea for most writers just starting out, and I totally get why. Times are tough, income is slow, and our novel is our baby. Outsourcing just doesn’t seem like an option to you right now. I get it. However, you need to know when it’s time to start hiring. As authors, our time is worth money. Hiring a designer, a freelancer, or an editor may be able to free up a few hours of our time per week, and therefore make us more money by giving us time to work on our craft. Think about the big picture.
Productivity is all about organization and balance. Sometimes, overworking ourselves can actually hinder our productivity. Don’t forget to take a day off to recharge your battery and do things you enjoy. Remember, if you’re not enjoying this process, it’s time to re-evaluate your goals.
What tips do you have for someone struggling with productivity and balancing the writer’s life? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @NicoleLautore