Establishing time management resource needs
Time is a limited resource and writers need to be paid for their time. Time management for writing projects encompasses the need to establish limits and productivity on the writer’s part to adequately deliver quality output. A writing project can be broken down into several general phases: Research, Writing, Editing, and Publishing. Personal involvement in each phase differs for a writer across writing projects—not every writing commitment requires the same amount of work in each category.
Clients demand that a writer meet writing goals and objectives by predetermined deadlines. The essence of good time management incorporates time spent on planning and organizing, and is not just relegated to the writing project's phases or customer deadlines.
Planning and organization
Personal writing projects do not require the same time/cost turnaround required by the business of writing professionally, but planning and organization can benefit any writing endeavor. A writer must use several tools and strategies to efficiently and productively manage project time commitments. Writing Project Time Management Tools include organizational items such as: charts, schedules, calendars, white boards, and files.
Rolling “to do” lists can provide a constant check on work items as finished tasks for the day are removed from the “to do” list and all items still on the list at the end of the day move to the top of the list for tomorrow. Several software programs designed to aid project time management are available, and the software can be tailored to adapt to the needs of any project, including writing. Time management tools only benefit writing projects in work if the disciplined use of the tools’ functions is included in some sort of system or routine.
Strategies for time management implementation
Time Management Strategies for Writers require planning to implement flexible timekeeping practices to maintain productivity. Interruptions in schedules will inevitably occur, but a well-planned time management strategy should always include priorities. Goal-setting experts recommend ranking systems and activity matrices to put activities in order so that importance and urgency can be evaluated. Periods of non-productivity integrated into the workflow optimize work time output by allowing breaks for fatigue and re-evaluation of the writing in progress. When constructing writing project timelines, outsourcing project phases must also be included for effective time management strategy implementation.
According to Peter Bregman in his article “A personal approach to organizational time management”, (January, 2013; McKinsey& Company), “The biggest and most destructive myth in time management is that you can get everything done if only you follow the right system, use the right to-do list, or process your tasks in the right way.” Time management does not reflect productivity or project status. However, time management weighs the value of work against the time resource used. Writing projects that require more creativity and less research can still benefit from constructively using time management tools and strategies to organize materials and develop accountability for progress. Although personal preferences and levels of discipline reflect differences in writing environments and work practices among individual writing professionals, tailoring effective time management systems to meet those needs should not be considered wasted effort.
1. “A personal approach to organizational time management”, (Bregman, P., January, 2012; McKinsey & Company)
2. “Kicking the Procrastination ‘Habit’”, (Stein, Traci, PhD, MPH, March 13, 2013; The Integrationist)