Time to Write: Time Management for Poets

November 14, 2008

At a dinner the other night, several people asked me how I find time to do all that I do. At a wedding last weekend, people asked me the same question. After a bit, I found myself not telling people much about myself at the wedding reception. I said I was a poet and left it at that. (By the way, this was a group of many indie rock musicians who did not think being a poet was weird!)

Engaging in the world through lots of projects is how I am, so it’s hard to analyze and figure it out. Someone else who is involved in many disparate projects listened to me say how people ask me this question on a regular basis. She had a two-word answer: “time management.”

Now, it’s true that I do have good time management skills. Many moons ago, I recommended on this very blog Dan Kennedy’s book on time management. He’s a marketer — a person many artists might scorn since he’s focused on ROI and the bottom line — yet no matter your opinion about marketing and promotion, one must admit that the guy has good time management skills. (You’ll see why and how when you read his book.)

Since so many people ask me how I have time to do all that I do, I’ll share the following time manegement tips:

  • Keep lists and stick to them.
  • Batch your tasks (Don’t add one name to the 32 poems database. Instead, wait to have several and add them all at once.)
  • Work from home 1-2 times per week and save a few hours per week commuting.
  • Commute to work at off-peak times.
  • Run errands at off-peak times. For example, avoid the grocery right after work hours.
  • Get groceries delivered. (This saves me several hours!)
  • Hire a cleaner, don’t clean as often or keep only select rooms presentable.
  • Stay healthy by eating well, sleeping enough and taking vitamins. Being sick wastes time.

I hope this list helps you carve more time out of the 24 hours we each get per day. Please feel welcome to read my other blog post on time management for poets.

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