Time Management: Getting Caught Up

I’ve written in the past about time, and how to manage it. Some of that has been about understanding how long a project takes. For example, in one post I wrote about measuring how long freelance writing assignments take, and how to account for that time in price negotiations. Lately, I’ve been dealing with another type of time management: balancing school, work, and personal writing.

I have a huge pile of notes around my desk right now. The main surface area of the desk is covered with notes about “Manifestation,” and the revisions I need to work on. Next to the desk, I have a portable podium desk, which is covered with notes about the sequel novel, “Contamination,” and about several of the short stories that I need to revise. On the floor next to that are notes about critique partners, publication plans, and freelance work. Behind me, the floor is covered with notes about various school projects, including a transcription I’m working on for my Graduate Assistant job. Then there are notes about the final finishing touches I need to make for the “Radiance” short story (which is mostly just waiting on one final person to contact me about the Special Thanks section). Beyond that are piles of books to be read for my grad classes.

If that sounds confusing, it is. Sometimes I feel like John Nash. I stand there, rotating in a circle, pointing at each pile and mentally going over what is in the notes (I don’t actually stop to read them; I know the contents of each note pile just by looking at it). I review deadlines, goals, and how much time each item will take. I sort things in my mind and decide which task I have time to complete. Today, it was working on the transcription. Tomorrow, it’ll likely be working on the “Radiance” publication. Little by little, I eliminate notes from the piles. Each note I eliminate is a certain quantity of time I’m done with and don’t need to manage anymore.

I only budgeted 15 minutes for this blog post, and I’m closing in on that mark now. But that’s one more item off my to do list: write a scheduled blog post. Now it’s time to go to school, and in the fifteen to twenty spare minutes I’ll have between arriving on campus and the start of class, I’ll be devoting my time to reading the next chapter of a book for my Creative Nonfiction Workshop. I’m looking forward to finishing that book, not because it’s good (even though it is), but because I need to cross it off my list. Maybe I’ll manage some free time later this week and I can relax for a change.


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