Time Management Tip 7: Get Out the Ax

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Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Daysby Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

Every time someone or something comes into your life, hold it up to your list of priorities and see if you still want to talk to that person or do that activity. Talking to your angry, gossiping neighbor for an hour can’t hold any allure when you realize it takes away from your family and your writing goals. Learn to prioritize—that will help tell you where you should be focusing your efforts. What is important to you? Do you spend enough time on it? Why?

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I know a writer who realized she spent four hours a day watching TV. She never saw it before, but logging her time made it clear. Were watching soaps and talk shows worth not finishing her manuscript? “No way!” she said. “They weren’t even that interesting.” (She’s now happily published and occasionally records her favorite shows to watch at night.)

Write down a list of your main priorities so you will know where to draw the line when requests are made for your time. Now that you know your priorities in life, write down a list of things that take up your time and are not on your priority list.

Can you get rid of the things that aren’t priorities? If not, can you make small appointments to do these things so they don’t take up too much of your time? Can you delegate them to others?

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