I was feeling frazzled. It was December.
I was juggling a lot of different writing assignments. I owed one client three blog posts, another two articles, a third some interview phone calls for a book chapter.
And of course, I needed some posts for this blog, too. All the deadlines were fairly pressing, and sort of drop-dead, as I had vacation plans and needed to leave town in about ten days.
My usual approach to this situation was to divide up the day and try to do a bit to advance each client’s work.
But it was hard to get my head in and out of so many different projects over the course of the day. I would end up feeling like I hadn’t really gotten anything done. Nothing seemed to get finished.
My sense of panic that I wasn’t going to get it all done and be able to leave on my vacation was rising each day.
Then, one day, I decided to try something else.
For just one day, I would only work on one assignment.
To start, I chose to focus on the posts for this blog. All day, I wrote posts for this blog. Nothing else.
When the day ended, I couldn’t believe what had happened.
I had written the entire month’s remaining blog posts. I cranked out eight different blog posts, found their photos, got them all linked, posted and ready to go. In one day.
Wheee! I was elated. Now, I had several weeks ahead where I didn’t have to worry about getting my own blog written. That really cleared my mental decks.
The next day, I assigned myself the task of writing another client’s pieces — and nothing else. Done! Another item checked off my list.
They say we never really multi-task. Our brains need to focus on one task at a time.
I’m a believer now. This was so much more time-efficient than my usual do-a-bit strategy, I couldn’t believe it. Soon, I was off on vacation with all my deadlines met.
I have a new motto when I get into a crunch with my schedule.
One day, one client.
The other problem with my old strategy of trying to work many accounts within one day is that I thrive on a sense of completion. My old method left me feeling nothing was complete. Day after day, I didn’t finish anything.
Now, if I can block out a day where I can complete a project and check it off my list, I do it.
Obviously, many assignments can’t be completed in one day. But by devoting a whole day at a time to one client, all the projects got done a lot faster and with a lot less stress.
It makes me a little nervous that nothing is happening on the other assignments that day. But as projects get turned in, the remaining assignments feel more doable.
I know now I can knock them out, too. One day at a time.
What’s your time management tip? Leave a comment and tell us how you get more writing done.
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