Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Blogger Cat Woods on TIME® MANAGEMENT

Today's blog post is by guest blogger Cat Woods. Yes, she is another friend I've made over at Agent Query Connect. She has a fantastic blog called Words from the Woods (My favorite post on her blog was about her computer in need of protection.) She is a great writer, and has a fantastic blog. Check it out, but remember to come back here!

So anyway, I asked Cat if she'd like to be a guest blogger, so yes, we are doing a blog swap. I've got to think up something to say for her, but since my compters are all on the fritz she hasn't given me a firm deadline, yet...

So Here is Cat.

First I'd like to thank Dean for asking me to guest post on his blog. One of the reasons I'm so impressed with the invitation is that Dean is organized and writes a blog on time management. I, however, am not. Organized or good at time management.

On the outside, I'm pretty unruffled. Yet when you peek inside, you'll note that I'm a bit of a mess. I've forgotten to drop my kids off at school. I've told my kids I'll pick them up in five minutes and remember this promise two hours later. I'll lose track of time and realize at 5:28 that the hamburger is still frozen for dinner--scheduled to be eaten at 5:32.

But before you call social services on me, hear me out.

I'm learning to better manage my time thanks to the handy invention of a timer. You laugh, but the end result is that I no longer forget my children AND I'm more productive by the end of the day.

Here's the method to my madness.

I plug every, single, little thing into my google calendar and assign events multiple reminders based on how much time I will need to prep for said event. As the day progresses, my phone will chime a beautiful reminder and my computer will concur. I then calculate what I need to get done and how much time I have left to do it in. This is where the microwave comes in.

I set the timer. Sometimes both the microwave and the stove. Then I get busy. I use this specific chunk of time to write, or any derivation, thereof. The adrenaline kicks in and nudges my creativity. "Hello," the downward spiraling numbers seem to say, "you only have forty seven minutes and sixteen seconds to get that scene done. Oh wait...forty seven fifteen, forty seven fourteen, thirteen, twelve...."

This time constraint works for my otherwise-wandering mind and keeps me focused on the task at hand.

But what about the days I have nothing planned beyond the mundane housework, work out and meal prep and the not-so mundane writing, reading, social networking and editing?

Not having specific events scheduled in an eight hour period turns me into a labrador puppy with a bad case of ADD. I sniff my way from project to project, getting side-tracked upon side-tracked. Before I know it, the day is over and I've followed various links so deep into the cyber sphere I could tell you when the first case of documented toilet paper use was (589 AD in China) and what some of the more unseemly substitutions were (you don't want to know). Strange when you consider I started hours earlier by looking up the definition of pugnacious.

On these days, the washing machine nicely breaks up my day and helps me keep on task. Throw in one load of laundry and blog. When the buzzer goes off at the end of the cycle, switch gears. In this way, I move throughout my day of writing and real life, succeeding at both endeavors.

And if I fail to hear the laundry buzzer, it's usually because I got wrapped up in my writing or editing, in which case all is forgiven because I'm on a roll.

Oops, gotta run. The microwave is calling my name.

Thanks, Dean!

When Cat Woods isn't chasing dust bunnies or raising her family of seven (1 dear hubby, 4 fabulous kids and 2 hunting labs), she writes juvenile lit. She's penned everything from warm and fuzzy board books to dark YA. You can find her at Words from the Woods, where she blogs about her writing journey.


J. Lea Lopez said...

Cat, I love that you use the microwave and stove timers! That's hilarious and awesome. I wish these kinds of awesome solutions worked for me. I'd just hear the timer go off, look at my failed attempt at whatever I was doing, and say "Oh well!" hahaha

JM Randolph said...

I've never considered using the timer before, but it sounds like a good idea. I may give it a shot!