Happy Labor Day to my American readers and happy Monday to my international readers! I hope your week is off to a good start!
Flying Home will resume tomorrow, but due to the long weekend, I felt like doing a different kind of post. Participating in two wrimos back to back this summer created a crash course in time management for me and I want to share something I learned that has helped me use time to the best advantage.
We all have to wait or find ourselves with less time than we’d hoped for in which to complete certain tasks. I used to consider a spare five or ten minutes not nearly long enough to accomplish anything meaningful. But I’ve noticed this summer that if I find even a small task to work on in only five minutes, I can accomplish more than I expected.
Have you ever timed yourself to discover how much writing you can do in five or ten minutes? I hadn’t until I participated in word sprints this June and July. I reached several hundred in just a few minutes. I know that doesn’t sound impressive, but if you consider all the five minute moments in your day, it can affect your word count in a very positive way. You can also work your way through plotting and outlining a scene or two in that amount of time. Thanks to mobile devices with writing apps like Pages or Google Docs, taking a few minutes between other things in your day can be more productive than you expect.
Five minutes can allow you to read a few pages of a book, straighten a room in a very basic way, clear your email, fit in stretching or a quick burst of exercise. A five minute walk outdoors is extremely refreshing. I can organize my desk, balance my checkbook or water the plants in five minutes. Making a to do list with short term things as well as those that take longer helps me get more done. There is no such thing as dead time when you look at every part of your day as usable and valuable!
I agree, I can likely write a lot in five minutes, but for me it’s whether it’s a quality period or not – is this going to be good writing? I always do better in the mornings. Half an hour in the morning is worth five hours in the evening from a writing perspective, for me.
That’s true. All writers have different times that work for them! I’m a morning and afternoon person. I think I do better outlining in five or ten minutes than I do writing, unless I am working on a 100 word flash fiction, I can get the bones of it down in ten minutes and revise later when I have more time. I think five minute bursts help me when I simply need to get started on something and stop making excuses to myself about it! Once I’ve started, it seems doable.
I always appreciate your thought provoking feedback!