I’m a college student. (Though only part time this semester hallelujah!!). That means 15-20 hours a week are dedicated to school.
I work part time. Another 15 hours each week.
I read 7-10 books a month. (No idea the hours on that.)
I’m a musician. Approx 3 hours a week (I’m in a slump right now).
I’m a martial artist. 1 or 2 days a week, I’m at the Dojang for 3 hours each time.
I’m trying to shave down blogging to an hour or two per month.
Somewhere in all of that, I have to have some kind of family life.
Yet I also want to write.
So how do I do it?
To be honest, not very well. A lot of days, I feel like I’m riding a spiraling roller coaster into “the depth of despair” (as Anne of Green Gables would say).
Other days, I sorta feel like I come out on top.
So what makes the difference?
Let me introduce you to this lovely little device called a timer.
The timer has changed my life. I decide how much time I want to dedicate to a particular project, then split it up into 20, 30, or 50 minute increments, depending on how my brain is functioning. Here’s how it works.
After a 20 minute set, I get a 5 minute break. That’s enough for 20 pushups and a fresh cup of water, or 3 TaeKwonDo forms.
After a 3o minute set, I get an 8 minute break. That’s enough to make a cup of coffee, do a quick desk tidy-up, or 5 TaeKwonDo forms.
After a 50 minute set, I get a 20 minute break. That’s enough to read a chapter of a book, reply to an email, play with the dog…or write 250 words.
Here’s the most important thing: set a timer for the breaks, too!!!! You’ll regret it if you don’t. (Speaking from experience.)
And also, switch between two projects/school subjects. Twenty minutes on this, twenty minutes on that. I was shocked with how my productivity skyrocketed when I did that.
If I don’t do that, this is what happens.
*clears throat* *coughs* yeah–not what I wanted.
So, this is great and all, but what does it have to do with writing?
A lot!! When I get done what I need to get done during the day, my evenings are free to write. Or edit. Or outline. Or–whatever! But even when I’m writing, I set a timer. Seeing exactly when I’m going to get a break helps me remain focused.
What do you do to keep yourself on track? Have you ever used a timer?