Time Management For the Win!
Being sworn enemies with the ticking clock seems to be a shared affliction among writers. Whether you’re a novelist working on your first book or a veteran author tackling your next project, staying committed to a deep-focus task such as writing can feel like an insurmountable challenge—especially in a world built to distract you.
Even though the battle against the clock is lifelong, time management tools can make it easier to stay on track and meet your daily word count. If you struggle to find the time to write, here are four tools that can help streamline your process.
#1: The Pomodoro Technique
If staring at a blank Google Doc with no idea where to start is a regular occurrence, then the Pomodoro technique might just be your savior. This is my go-to process. The method uses cycles of 25-minute sessions of intense focus, followed by a five-minute break, to help you manage your time and stay productive. After four consecutive working intervals, you get a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
There are tons of free digital timers you can use (like this one), but if you prefer something tangible, I like this physical timer that you activate by flipping over. Just make sure you make the most of your break time by stepping away from your computer and doing something non-screen related. I like a quick ball toss with my dogs (er, writing buddies) or a quick jog down to the kitchen to refill my water jug.
Easily distracted by any and every little noise? Then Focus@Will is a great tool to have in your arsenal. This service uses neuroscience-based music streaming to help you stay focused on your writing for up to 100 minutes. By slightly shifting the characteristics of the melody during times when your brain is naturally inclined to lose interest, Focus@Will can help you stay in the writing zone. This membership-based tool isn’t free, but you do get a free week-long trial to test it out.
#3: Rescue Time
Imagine you had an assistant whose entire job was to protect your precious writing hours from meetings and other distractions. Well, RescueTime is like having that assistant, only it runs in the background on your computer and tracks how much time you have available for focus-based work.
You’ll receive “nudges” when it’s time to take a break, as well as weekly reports about where your time is actually going. Its monthly plans are fairly affordable, and you get a free two-week trial to take it for a test run.
The premise of SelfControl is simple: it blocks you from opening distracting websites for a period of time. You pick the apps and set the timer for how long you want to remain distraction-free—and you’re locked out of the sites until that timer runs out. For Mac users, this app is free and easy to download. However, it’s not available for Windows or PC users.
Make Time Your Friend
Finding the time to write will always be a matter of prioritization. But if you want to make sure you’re making the most of your available time, these tools can help. And if you need an extra push to stay motivated, click here to check out my book coaching services.
ilable time, these tools can help. And if you need an extra push to stay motivated, click here to check out my book coaching services.