Time Management and Planning

CindyCarrollETwo months ago I wrote about fiscal planning for 2016. It’s important to know what you have in mind for your business in advance so you can map out the work that needs to be done. Today’s topic is time management because boy do I need it. Having a business plan is only part of the work. I need to manage my time for the rest of this year and into next year so I can accomplish everything I want to accomplish. I knew this of course on some level but didn’t do much so far with the actual management part when it came to my time.

Juggling a day job, running a writing group, running a book club, having essentially two part time jobs with the writing and ghost writing (I’ll talk about that later) not to mention having time to spend with family doesn’t leave a lot in the way of free time. I knew I needed a better time management plan when I realized I missed a guest post deadline earlier this month. Two weeks ago I was so focused on launching a ghostwriting/plotting/beta reading business because I needed money fast that I completely forgot that back in March I had booked a spot on someone’s blog for November 2.  I remembered the last week of October and put it aside thinking I would do it the weekend before it was due. Then I decided to start offering author services and totally forgot the guest post.

Way back in the day I had a day planner. It was one of those thick paperback sized binders where you list everything you need to do in your day. I got it through work and they even offered a day class on how to use the planner properly to best effect. You could buy refills every year at your favourite business supply store. I have no idea where that planner is now. Then there are the lists. I frequently make lists of things I need to do each week but I don’t make them every week. At work I use Outlook. All of my meetings and tasks are listed in there and reminders get sent to me.

None of the reminders do any good unless you actually look at them every day. Which I haven’t been doing.  I want to go into the new year on top of things. Meeting deadlines for my clients and for myself. So I am on the hunt for a time management system that can keep me on track. Right now it will be Google Calendar. But if anyone has any other suggestions for something that is easy to use, that I can use from my iPhone and that will send me reminders I’d love for you to share them!

Do you use a time management system? Does it work for you?

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ReflectionsFinal2A road trip without a plan sounded like a good idea when Lena and her friends hit the road. After hours of driving in the heat in a cramped car they’re all ready for something to eat and a good night’s rest.

Reflections Inn looks perfect for the group of friends. A little run down, it hides a supernatural horror. A curse that replaces people with their repressed alter egos forces the friends to fight for their lives. Duplicates who lack restraint, crave gratification emerge from the mirrors. Too late they realize they didn’t know each other as well as they thought.

One by one, Lena’s friends learn the truth about their repressed emotions, their suppressed violent urges.

What doesn’t kill them can only make them stronger.

Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1avH00L
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About Cindy Carroll

Cindy Carroll is a member of Sisters in Crime and a graduate of Hal Croasmun’s screenwriting ProSeries. Her interviews with writers of CSI and Flashpoint appeared in The Rewrit, the Scriptscene newsletter, the screenwriting Chapter of RWA. She writes screenplays, thrillers, and paranormals, occasionally exploring an erotic twist. A background in banking and IT doesn’t allow much in the way of excitement so she turns to writing stories that are a little dark and usually have a dead body. When she’s not writing you can usually find her on Twitter.
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12 Responses to Time Management and Planning

  1. Cindy,
    I know what you’re saying. I feel like I fly through my day not knowing what’s coming up next and taking things as they come. It’s like you don’t want your main character to just be reacting you want them to take action and drive the story forward.
    I used to love my day planner. It felt more secure than organizing my time on the computer. Let us know what you finally decide works best for you.
    Thanks for the blog
    – Stephen

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  2. Years ago (like in the early ’80s”) I took a time management course from a best selling author at the time, but I can’t remember his name. I have always kept a few of the ideas he stressed about using time wisely. I am a procrastinator, a project leaper, and the biggest forgetter in the world. I have to keep everything on my iPhone calendar and in physical form next to my computer. Good luck with your goal – I think it’s essential for all writers, but hey, we’re creative, right? And to us time doesn’t mean a thing! Good post Cindy.

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  3. Doris says:

    Although I have a good memory, planners do help. For me, when folk keep changing schedules, it gets a bit hairy. Best to you and I’m now on the hunt for a good system. Doris

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  4. I have a pretty good memory and I’m very visual so I need to see my schedule/appointments. Plus I’m old school. I have a big calendar I put up on my corkboard in my room/office. I write everything on this calendar (trips, appointments, blog posts, short story deadlines, work, social events, etc.). My entire life is on it. When I need to commit to something, I prefer to check this calendar at home which means it would be beneficial to have it digitally but I usually can remember what I’ve written. Writing something down helps me remember as well as seeing this calendar every day. By the way, you say you’re launching a ghostwriting business. I do transcribing work for ghostwriters so if you ever need a transcriber, let me know! Great post, Cindy! Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful recommending something more technologically advanced.

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  5. S J Brown says:

    I think we all struggle to manage out time better. I have a day planner where I list everything. The trick with using a day planner or any other method is you have to take the time to record everything. Once you are in the habit it will get easier. Just don’t loose it because then you are screwed.

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  6. I hate iDevices with a passion. I know blind people who use them, but I never could get the hang of the gestures. I tried an iPad mini with a bluetooth keyboard, but that was too clunky so gave up. My BrailleNote has a planner I use for appointments and other events, and I can set an alarm to remind me. I hope you find something that works for you.

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  7. Wranglers says:

    I read your blog and everyone’s comments. I have a lot to keep track of–we’re old ya know. LOL We have a lot of doctor and hospital appointments, we work full time as truck drivers, I have the blog to keep track of and to schedule, I am always in the process of writing a book or two, I have appearances, conferences, classes, and family time I have to schedule in between everything else (and there are a lot of every thing elses). I have church services and lunch or dinner with friends, and sometimes my husband. We also live in 3 locations, WV, FL and in the Truck, so if I want to have a bit of sanity-I have to keep track of what’s going on. I use Google Calendar-it syncs on all of my devices and sends me a daily email to remind me of my agenda. When something is really important to remember, I send myself reminders from my phone’s assistant. That works well. I am trying to get in and stay in the habit of checking my calendar daily. I don’t usually miss anything, and I arrive in a timely fashion, but every once in awhile I still slip up. Cher’ley

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  8. Joe Stephens says:

    I use the calendar on my Microsoft Office 365 program through my school. It allows me to set reminders so that it pops up and lets me know I’m about to miss something. It has pulled my fat out of the fire a number of times.

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  9. I’ve been relying on my memory WAY TOO LONG — I need to make changes, too, not only in the products of logging my time/projects, but also in how much I’m juggling. 2016 will be the opportunity for both of those changes: the what to change and the how to do it. Good luck to you, Cindy! by the way, my husband uses his IPhone for calendar stuff — I don’t seem to be smart enough to figure that out so I’m sticking with a calendar/day planner in paper form! 🙂

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  10. katewyland says:

    I just recently saw an article by a super busy guy who accomplished an amazing amount. (I’ll see if I can find a link later.) He had five main suggestions: 1) To-do lists are evil. Plan out your day and schedule everything. 2) Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day Backwards. 3) Make a plan for the entire week. 4) Do very few things, but be awesome at them. 5) Focus on the deep stuff, do less shallow work.

    I’d like to try these once we get over the move. Right now I never know how long something is going to take. Once we get settled it should be easier.

    Good luck with your planning.

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  11. Nancy Jardine says:

    My time management sheet should read ‘Can do better! ‘ 🙂

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  12. Mike Staton says:

    Back in the ’80s when I worked for a Central Florida newspaper, I went to a seminar on managing time and tasks. It didn’t do any good. Even now, I sometimes wrack my brain: Did I take those blood pressure, statin and diabetes pills? And what about that doctor’s appointment… uh oh, I forgot about it.

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