Saturday, July 9, 2011

Call me Spin Master Fresh, yo!

11A: Pratos chinos / spinning platesImage by fonso via Flickr
I was talking with one of my clients this weekend about the importance of time management in our lives and how it's not just about managing your time but the quality of that time. I'm usually pretty good about managing to keep all of the plates spinning or balls in the air but today it's felt like a daunting task. I think it's harder to stick to my routine when anyone is sick at home. This week, I have 2 of the kids down with a cold and hubby too. The kids being sick is not as bad considering they spend most of the day sleeping and playing their handheld video games but when hubby is sick... well, that just throws all kinds of monkey wrenches into my schedule.

Those of you who have gotten to know me a little better know that I have schedules for everything. My schedules even have schedules and I truly live by my Google Calendar. I keep tasks and deadlines on it, jot down birthdays and events and since my iPad is a permanent fixture in everything I do, I'm always aware of my schedule and what I need to get done. I wouldn't be able to get anything done if I didn't.

So what's the difference between time management and quality of that time management? Simple, when you look at your schedule does it make you feel bogged down? Are you dedicating enough time to your well-being in that schedule as you are to your obligations? If not, then the quality of your time management sucks and needs to change. In my schedule I add things like "Read for fun", "Stand up", "Date Night". The quality of my time needs to be as important as the things that get done during that time.

Authors forget to schedule times like these for themselves and I often find myself reminding my clients to take things in stride. Yes, you want to have all six of those manuscripts out to your editors today but have you thought about how you will manage edits, marketing/publicity, and writing projects into the crazy schedule you just committed yourself to? When are you going to have time for your family, for yourself? You'll find yourself burnt out very quickly and suddenly, the career you've mapped for yourself feels like a job you don't want to get up to go to.

If you suddenly feel like you're constantly having to keep the plates spinning in your life, ask yourself if you're doing too much and then check to see where the quality of your time management needs to improve. Don't forget that in managing your time, you should have support to keep the plates spinning. If you don't have someone who can help you do that... make that a priority in your schedule.