Time Management for Poets

November 17, 2006

A lot of people ask me how I can do so much. It’s just how I am, so I don’t think about the process in detail. A few of the most time-consuming projects I have are day work, 32 Poems, writing poetry, mothering, wife-ing, keeping up social relationships, and working on other projects. Since I can always learn to do something better, I’m reading Dan Kenndy’s No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, which helps you get more time out of your day by helping you see where time is wasted.

I thought about how poets might benefit from such a book. Kennedy talks about turning off the phone, running errands and commuting to work at off-peak times, limiting email, and limiting meetings. He writes that you lose 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there and pretty soon you are talking hours. How true.

Recently, I read of a well-known author who said that email was his big procrastination tool. (I have to admit email is one of the time suckers in my life.) I’m sure we’ve all heard at least one writer (or one hundred) say that their whole house must be cleaned before they can write or that the house is never cleaner than when they want to write.

Today, I listened to a educational CD in my car. That filled my 20-minute commute perfectly. I work from home a few days a week, which saves me several hours (and gas). I plan out what I am going to do with my time, so I don’t meander like I can sometimes do. I plan meals ahead a lot of the time and use a slow cooker so food is ready when we get home. I keep lists. If I have a list, I am MUCH more motivated to complete what I need to do. I keep easy-to-lose items like keys in the proper place so I know where to find them (instead of wasting 5-20 minutes searching like I did before). Everyone finds their own way of making more time; I learned to say ‘no’ to a lot.

One suggestion in the book is to link all of your tasks to your overall life goals. Then, you can ask yourself if you are making the best use of your time in this moment. Sure, we’ll goof off and play video games, chit chat with people, and drink lemonade on the porch. However, we also want to make time for what is really important to us and to what we want to accomplish. It’s a good book if you want to check it out.

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