Create a Time Management Plan: Day 14 of the October Platform Challenge

If you were able to take advantage of the Twitter chats yesterday, great! If not, no worries. We’ll have another one on the 20th–probably just at the 11 a.m. time. It’ll be a good chance to ask questions and catch up with everyone. The chats yesterday actually inspired me to switch the order of a few tasks for this month, including today’s…

Create a Time Management Plan

For today’s platform-building task, create a time management plan.

You may be wondering why I didn’t start out the challenge with a time management plan, and here’s the reason: I don’t think some people would’ve had any idea how long it takes them to write a blog post, share a link on Twitter and Facebook, respond to social media messages, etc. Now, many of you have a basic idea–even if you’re still getting the hang of things.


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Creating a Time Management Plan

So the next step is to create a time management plan that enables you to be “active” socially and connect with other writers and potential readers while also spending a majority of your time writing. Simple, right?

Here are a few time management tips:

  • Make the plan as simple or complicated as you need. For instance, my plan is to do 15 minutes or less of social media time after completing each decent-sized task on my daily task list. I use social media time as a sort of break, which I consider more productive than watching TV or playing video games.
  • Put writing first and make sure to include that. While I think extracurricular activities like platform development and submitting writing are super important for a successful writing career (and they are), what good are they without the writing to back it up? So make sure to include writing in your time management plan.
  • Be flexible. Set goals, deadlines, and whatever else you need to motivate you to get things done, but allow yourself flexibility in scheduling–because there will be times when everything goes wrong. Having a flexibility allows a writer to have an off-day (or off-month) and still be able to get back to it when things calm down a little.

Remember: A writing platform is a life-long investment in your writing career. It’s not a sprint, so you have to pace yourself. Also, it’s not something that happens overnight (as much as we wish it were), so you can’t wait until you need a platform to start building one. Begin today and build over time–so that it’s there when you need it.

But for today, just start figuring out how to manage your time, it’s one of your most valuable assets–not only as a writer, but as a human being.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.

A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


Catch up on the first three days of the Platform Challenge here:

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185 thoughts on “Create a Time Management Plan: Day 14 of the October Platform Challenge

  1. ConnieCockrell

    My plan is loose.

    Get up and have a tea while checking email, responding to blogs and tweets, post on Twitter, TSU, Tumblr and Facebook. 2 hours

    Daily chores

    Write with 1000 – 2000 word goal (1 – 2 hours) This can be my blog(s), or my books/stories/flash fictions
    Edit 1 – 2 hours per week, more if I’m actually working with my editor.

  2. azlatic

    I think what works for me is dividing up the day by major segments. I work in communications full-time, so I am nearly always at my desk/on my computer. Instead of a “smoke break,” I take “social media breaks.” Just a few minutes to check in here and there and respond where appropriate. Then back to the grindstone. After I get home from work, do the whole dinner/kid/husband/pets thing, I settle down to write. It’s only after that writing is complete that I return to social media.

    That’s my new plan, anyway. I think I need to be more disciplined about not staying logged in to Facebook and Twitter while I’m trying to write. Anyone use Scrivener? I’ve heard that has a nifty option of blocking everything while you write. That might help those of us who are tethered too tightly to all our platforms!

  3. Sherlock

    I find it better if I plan my blog post and research during the week and post on Sunday. I try to keep my goal of posting on each of my social media pages weekly with a goal of more often. I usually juggle several articles at a time and my best friend there is an ongoing and updateable list of what I need to do on each, with a timetable.

  4. L.C. Rooney

    I love the idea of doing a few minutes of social media after each completed task throughout the workday. I’ve recently cut my social media time way back anyway by “unfollowing” over 100 news and current event pages on Facebook. I found all those “headlines” cluttering my News Feed to be very distracting, and I’d find myself clicking through to read all these stories. It was like going down the rabbit hole. So now, I may visit one news website a day — or not at all. Most days, I just watch the evening news after dinner — like normal people used to do before social media took over our lives!

  5. kdexter

    As a lifelong freelancer in several areas, I’ll second the wisdom of having a plan for your time — and using whatever style suits you to do that. Knowing roughly how long it takes you to do different aspects of your work can be a really useful tool whatever your style or focus.

  6. Cindy

    I always plan everything for everyday, then life challenges changes the plan. Never would expect the internet problems could cause the biggest challenges and changes to plans. Solving problem! transferring almost everything to my phone. Plan chart in phone memo. Good place for planning, also has notification. completed.

  7. YvonneM

    Time management is something that I struggle with and continue to work on. Everything takes me longer than I expect it to and I am often too ambitious. So I continue to do this and will continue to tweak and tune as necessary. And it’s always necessary.

  8. MargaretSheehan

    Dang. I planned to do my time management on the 15th, but that blog says to take the day off. So I will manage my time by considering my time management next week.

  9. clarkatniles

    Ooops! Forgot to post this last night. I’ve written a brief schedule of writing-related tasks for each day of the week. At least it’s a start. Thanks, Robert, for reminding us that this whole writers-platform thing is a marathon race, not a sprint!

  10. clpauwels

    Time management planning is an exercise I take my new college freshmen through each semester, and I force myself to participate! My goal is to put my writing first, start the day with an hour or two of just the words and me. It doesn’t always happen, but I try.

    Afternoons are for the myriad other part-time positions I juggle in my “portfolio career,” and for the business of writing (queries, research, bookkeeping, etc.).

  11. smgood

    My normal routine is getting up every day between 5:30 -6:00 am, coffee and read the paper. I’m now going to use that quiet time to write. My emails after lunch, and Social networking afternoon.

  12. Lauren Walker

    Started on this on Sunday when I started my content schedule…neither are finished—much like my novels. UGGH. STILL, the FUNK rages on about this inability for my FB friends or the public to see that I have blogged. Posting this on the 15th because I can’t let anymore days go by flaking these challenges off like dandruff. Up at the tender hours of morn now to complete this so I can actually post, “Gone Writing” on tomorrow’s…today’s challenge…and mean it. But in the meantime…

    If ANYONE sees this and is benevolent enough to give an ole girl some suggestions of what settings to check out in FB and Twitter and wordpress I would DEEPLY appreciate it. (Background: I click the twitter link in WordPress. This posts the link in Twitter and it was posting in my newsfeed on FB(with the link to the blog posting on both my personal and author pages….people were responding) This past weekend I was getting messages, “oh, the blogging was short lived.” NO!!! It isn’t posting on the feed to alert people, just on my pages) Even if I copy and paste the link to FB manually as a status update…it will not post to the newsfeed) Again, if anyone has some suggestions in how to fix, please let me know! Frustrated Writer…. #platchal

  13. lmurban20

    Here’s my time management plan – hopefully I’m on the right track with it…

    Writers Time Management Plan:
    –20 mins – Check Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, blogs)
    –40 mins – Work on website & FB author’s page designs
    –30 mins – Start writing blog for Sunday’s posting
    –45 mins – Work on writing projects

  14. TriciaJoy

    This will be a work in progress but thanks for getting me started! I made a time chart and filled in my other obligations by date before highlighting my available writing time each day. Now I can set this time aside and not let anything else encroach on it. Also, I like your suggestions to keep it simple and to allow for timed social media engagement and also for the inevitable “days off.” I will try to be more businesslike and focused with my planned writing time, keeping social media for evenings and new blog posts for weekends.

  15. lmurban20

    So when putting this together, it basically centered around the time set aside solely for writing, right?
    For example, I set aside an hour per night as my writing time. Is that what I build my time management plan around…those 60 minutes?
    Or should it encompass a full day?

  16. semayawibeth

    This hit at just the right time! I’m renovating my time management system, so am excited about being more organized with a definite plan each morning!

  17. megrant53

    I feel as though I have a handle on how I want to use time during my week to promote my writing. Now to stick to the plan! Thanks for today’s challenge!

  18. Northside Girl

    I’ve made to-the-minutes time management plans in the past, but more recently found what works through a course that promoted the “Power of Three.” Now I have a loose plan that is much less stressful, but does the job. I list 3 things to accomplish for the day related to my writing. If I have time and energy remaining, I can tackle more. I turn off my cell and let the landline take messages. Evenings are delegated to FB and Twitter and blogging–with a blog post due Saturdays. I do plan to narrow the FB, Twitter, and blog management to specific times…but need to see where I’m most productive with them as I work through platchal. Time management remains a work in progress, but I aim to keep it simple.

  19. Allison

    Time management is the Devil! My husband already complains that I’m not paying enough attention to the kids during the day so this will take some creative planning. I like Robert’s method of squeezing it in after completing another task. Think I’ll try that.

  20. wordmage

    I have a time management plan. I just have to add platform building into the mix.

    I hired a life coach late last year and she’s been great at helping me manage my time better. I have accomplished more toward my goals in the last year with her coaching than in the last five on my own. If anyone else shares my ailment of procrastinationitis, I encourage you to check out her services at

  21. Majida

    Like Incans who measured time by how long it took to boil potatoes, I will measure time by what I have accomplished. Though I will also use our conventional way of measuring time.

    1. 15 minutes every morning on Twitter
    2. 15-20 minutes every afternoon on Facebook
    3. Comment on 10 blogs every week. This can be extended to adding 1 new blog every week, so total of 4 new blogs in a month.
    4. Write 1 post for my blog every Sunday.
    As part of our assignment I had already commented on five blogs and posted the comments in my blog. I would really appreciate if you could leave your comments on Thank you.

    1. megrant53

      I like this set-up as a way to get started. I may adopt something similar into the calendar I’m developing. And I love the tidbit about the Incans. Interesting way to tell time!

    1. V. Duwane Ledbetter

      I’m trying to get the link next to my picture to take you to my blog site for me and not my organization. However, it doesn’t seem to want to do that even though it is saved with now instead of the website link. Even the name beside my picture isn’t what I have saved in my profile on here.
      Has anyone else experiencing this type of problem?


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