How much time do you spend each day on the little things? Things worth doing, but not worth writing about: checking the post office box (Is there an order? Better yet, a check?), buying socks, getting the mower fixed, driving to work?
To set realistic goals in work, any self-employed person needs to prioritize. Knowing how much (or little) time you have left can motivate you to use your time well, and to be more realistic about what you can get done.
As Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, said in his excellent lecture on time management, (Pausch starts 7:30 minutes in, the lecture itself begins 12 minutes in) :
Everyone has good and bad times.
Find your creative /thinking time. Defend it ruthlessly.
Find your dead time. Schedule meetings, phone calls, and mundane stuff during it.
His handouts in html are here and PowerPoint here.
Yesterday, I joined NAIWE, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, directed by Janice Campbell, who’s encouraged me as a writer and speaker. Today I attended Meggin McIntosh’s teleseminar, I Just Want to be Whelmed. Tomorrow’s task is “to implement at least one idea” that I learned today.
What struck me most was how much time I spend on e-mail. So my plan is to use a timer to limit my time on e-mail:
-10 minutes each weekday morning, looking mainly to see if there are things that can’t wait.
-(maximum of ) 20 minutes after lunch for requests for speaking and consulting, and if time permits, writing ads for the homeschool group I help run, for the support group and book club I lead.
-20 minutes in the evening for anything left over.
We’ll see if I can do this!
My friend Tara told me today she unsubscribed from several newsletters she wasn’t keeping up with. I should do the same. But one thing at a time.