Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How I Multi-Task My Writing

I have big plans for the next two months, and it means being very specific with my time.
In order to achieve my writing goals, I decided to work on more than one project at once. Yes, I'm multi-tasking, and yes, I'm enjoying it!


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When faced with a towering to-do list, I always take twenty minutes to plan what I can delete from the list and how I'll get the remainder done.

First, I determined what would feel like a win each day, and I knew without a doubt that making progress on my most pressing project, we'll call it Book A, would give me that boost. Since I want this done soon, I'm devoting the bulk of my hours to it.

Here's the thing, if I don't make progress early in the day, my mood sours, I inhale chocolate, and I mentally beat myself up. Then the procrastination sets in, and Facebook becomes much more important than work. Oh, and Book A? Grows into a big, ugly bear--one I know I can't defeat.

The solution? Rules!

Here is my list of rules for the next two months. (I'll reevaluate my goals in early April and make a new set of rules then.)

1. After a short session of checking in social media sites and reading e-mail, I block off a large chunk of time for Book A. I also set a deadline for each phase to stay on track and prevent myself from quitting early.

2. Twice a week, I work on my Extra Projects. I set aside thirty minutes to an hour to research, write, or edit these.

3. Late in the afternoon or in the evening, I spend an hour working on Book B, which is in the early stages. Right now I'm working on pre-writing tasks, but soon, I'll be writing the first draft.

4. When Book A is finished later this month, I'll bump Book B to top priority, continue setting aside time for the extra projects, and I'll throw revising Book C into my late afternoon, evening spot.

Honestly, I can achieve more when I make smart decisions. If I only worked on Book A, I would be short-changing myself.  Switching gears helps me stay fresh, and I find I'm not as mentally tired at the end of the day because I've challenged myself on different levels.

Do you work on more than one writing project at once? Or does your brain work better with one at a time?

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

28 comments:

  1. I'm a single cell brain. One project at a time. (so far--but maybe one day I'll grow some new cells!)

    I SOOOO know the early morning achievement feeling. If it gets past noon on my day off without a word count, I feel it passing me by. Plus, my single cell just gets way too overloaded past noon!

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    1. Too funny, Anne! Working on multiple projects is new for me, and I'm surprised it's working so well. I completely understand the single brain cell!! (On Mondays, I have zero!)

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  2. My brain works better doing one project at a time. That's in a perfect world. The reality is juggling a bunch of projects.

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    1. It's good to know what works best for you. Sometimes it's draining to fight our natural tendencies. :)

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  3. I only really work on one book at a time, but I like hearing how others schedule their time so I can be smart about mine...because even with doing just one book, there is a ton to do with blogging, social media, etc.

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    1. So true, Lindsay. Building that platform takes a lot of work! I schedule it in!

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  4. Works better one at a time. With everything I tend to dive in and immerse myself...I'm all intense that way. ;-)
    ~ Wendy

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    1. Surprise, surprise! I would never guess you're intense that way--ha, ha!! Love it!

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  5. Jill, multiple projects can be a bit challenging, but fun! I find that keeps the creative juices flowing.

    I liked your schedule and the way you block off time. Way to stay focused! Go, Jill! :)

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    1. Good attitude! It is fun!

      Thanks, Cynthia. I get more done when I stay focused!

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  6. When I was writing the Bible study, I worked on it in the mornings and in the evening I worked on editing my ms. I can work on more than one project. Usually, it's editing one, writing another. :) You are so organized with your time. I love it!

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    1. So are you--I think it's really smart to split the projects up like that. :)

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  7. I usually only work on one thing at once, but sometimes that just isn't possible. Thanks for sharing how you go about it! :)

    Angela

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    1. You're welcome! I'm finding my creativity gets sparked and stays lit when I'm adding to multiple projects. We'll see how I feel at the end of two months!

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  8. Mostly I work on one project at a time, but I do allow myself to jot down ideas for the next project, which isn't the same thing as working on it at all, is it?! ;-)

    And of course poetry doesn't count as a project, so for a change of gear, poetry and editing thereof is excellent. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

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    1. It IS the same thing as working. Jotting down ideas is a necessary part of the writer's life. Poetry counts too! Why wouldn't it? Projects that are just for us are still important. Don't be afraid to block time out for them!

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  9. I tend to only work on one book at at a time, but I usually have other writing projects going on--blogs and MBT stuff. So, it's definitely a juggling act! Loved hearing how you get it all done. :)

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    1. A juggling act--exactly! I don't know about you, but it's kind of fun making it all work!

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  10. I love that idea of writing down what would feel like a win each day. I'm gonna do that! And I'm much better when organizing my time, or at least attempting to. I like to look ahead at my day and figure out what I need to do when, that way when I'm tackling a task I don't like, I can remind myself I have a slot for the task I do like coming up.

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    1. I am too, Susan. We all have different ideas about what a "win" looks like. Having something to look forward to later in the day is a win for you--go with it!!

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  11. I work on more than one writing project at a time. Whether I do it successfully is a different story, lol. Right now I'm working on an edit while drafting an outline for a new book.

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    1. Nice!! It's so great to be finishing a project and anticipating a new one! Yay!

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  12. I focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes I dive in to something new, to freshen the cranial matter, but usually I focus.
    on.
    one.
    thing.

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    1. Good for you! Knowing what works is half the battle! :)

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  13. Great plan of attack. I like this strategy. I tend to focus on one task at a time, but the benefits of learning to multitask are great. Thanks!

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    1. In the past, I've focused on one project at a time. I wanted to try something new this year. I'm loving it!

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  14. You are not multi-tasking.
    That would mean that you are multi brains.
    Another concept from the mainframe computer Dark Age is time sharing:
    Using all your resources to one project at the time but for a limited time before switching to the next.
    That nerdy remark aside, I always have two or more writing projects running. When I got stuck or bored with one, the next one will free my mind until the next time.

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  15. Jill, I'm late to the party (you know why!), but I wanted to stop by and read. :) I like your idea for tackling more than one project at a time. So far, I've been a single project girl, but i've been challenged to start multi-tasking my writing. We'll see. :) Your schedule sounds super!

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