In my blog, What I Wish I'd Known Before I Quit, I talk about four (4) rude awakenings I received after I quit my job to go full-time in this writer-entrepreneur life. Those four things were general, overarching items.
In this post, I'm drilling down and sharing a single, very important aspect of the "writer as business owner" lifestyle I believe has the biggest impact. Think of it as the one ring to rule them all, but without the evil implications.
And that is...Learn to Manage Your Time.
No, I'm not about to go all productivity/time management guru on you. This isn't about a "one-method fits all" approach. Nor is it about setting strict schedules and feeling like a failure if you don't get everything done as planned. It's about having a realistic view of how your obligations, responsibilities, and energy flows throughout the day so you can best complete your writing and business tasks consistently, if not perfectly.
Working for someone else most often means your day is pre-scheduled. The time you have to be at work, the time in the day you're supposed to have certain activities completed...what those activities are, etc., are all determined by someone else. You may have a little wiggle room in that maybe you call some of the shots and so you are responsible for scheduling things, but even then, you're answering to a task list and timing that's been pre-determined.
If you've taken the plunge to be independent, suddenly how your day flows is solely up to you. What needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and how are now no one's fault but your own. If you don't quickly learn ways to manage this new-found freedom, you could find yourself spending more time getting nothing done. *ask me how I know, lol*
Might I recommend the following:
Step 1 - Map out the YEAR. Start with brainstorming and recording what is going on for the next 12 months. Birthdays, vacations, when bills are due and how much they are; doctor's appointments, holidays you celebrate, etc. These are the days, dates, and activities you don't want to miss. NOTE: self-care should be at the top of the list. Life tends to run so much smoother when you are operating on all cylinders, so include things that restore your mind, body, and spirit.
Step 2 - Map out what you want/need to accomplish regarding your writing projects and business milestones; include business expenses (amounts & due dates) here as well.
With these two steps complete, you can now see how much revenue you need to generate and when; how much time overall you'll have versus need to spend WORKING.
From there, you can go month by month, scheduling your weeks and days so you get things done. The End.
Just kidding. I'm not going to leave you hanging like that. Tune in next week to find out more about Time Management for Indie Authors. I'll break down what I've found to be the key activities that need to be done each month, week, and day.
Till then, leave any questions or comments below. I'd love to learn more about how you're scheduling your time - what tools you use and so on.