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Where Does Your Time Go? How To Create A Time Budget For Your Writing Career | Writer’s Relief

Writers are responsible for all aspects of their writing career—marketing, promotion, accounting, research—and of course, the actual writing! Writer’s Relief knows it can be hard to find time to get everything done.

When most people think “budget,” they’re thinking about their finances. But for writers who are struggling to find more time in a day, creating a time budget could mean less time wasted, more productivity…and maybe even a little income.

Time-Budgeting Tips To Boost Your Writing Time!

Clarify your priorities. Determine what must be done versus what would be nice to have done, and number your goals in order of importance. For example: Is it more important to gather photographs for your nonfiction book or to get the proposal completed?

Track where your time is going. Use an app or notebook to get a better sense of how you’re really spending your time. What are your most productive hours? Where are your biggest time-wasters? Take this test to assess your time-management skills!

Find opportunities to cut, trim, and condense. Are you spending several hours a day on social media or surfing the Internet? Running to the grocery store every single day? Try setting aside a specific amount of time for catching up on the news or Twitter—and stick to it. You can also plan a weekly menu before your grocery run to complete all your shopping in one trip.

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Use to-do lists. Daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists help you visualize your goals—and it’s super-satisfying to cross things off and see your progress! Allocate time for social media and blogging, writing, business tasks, and everyday responsibilities. Calendars, whiteboards, and online apps offer lots of ways to track tasks and stay organized.

Create realistic goals and expectations. If you have three children, a day job, and a house full of pets, you’ll probably get frustrated with a “Write five chapters per night” goal. Pat yourself on the back if you manage twenty minutes of uninterrupted writing, and set that as your target goal.

Try time-management tools. Most of these apps are free and can be installed on smartphones and tablets. For example, the StayFocusd app limits the time you spend on time-wasting websites.

Consider a reward system. Celebrate getting through your to-do list by doing something you truly enjoy. If you have a task that is especially daunting, break it down into manageable chunks and designate a special reward for each stage you complete—whether it’s trying a new flavor of ice cream, or taking a nap.

Create a new time budget. Once you’ve created a visual representation of your typical day, identified your writing goals and productivity, and assessed your time-management skills, it will be easier to see what needs to change. Don’t forget to schedule in some quiet, nonproductive time so you can recharge your creative batteries!

And finally—don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and still have time to write. But with a realistic time budget, you’ll be able to develop a more productive writing schedule. Many authors find that getting organized and eliminating distractions is the best way to find more butt-in-chair time for writing, while other writers do their best work when surrounded by utter chaos. Some writers swear by setting a timer for certain tasks; others use an “accountability buddy” to help them stay motivated.

Writer’s Relief can also help. Our clients stay focused and on the right track because we handle all the time-consuming publishing research and targeting for them. With Writer’s Relief, you’ll gain a big chunk of time you can budget just for writing!


Question: Share your best time-management tip in the comments section!

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