Deadlines! Finding Time to Write — A Proven Time Management Tip

I have 6 hours left to post. Since I’m participating in a contest which requires blogging every day for 30 days, I have 6 hours left to come up with something. This means that I will come up with something. It may not be eloquent, but I’ll get it done.

When you don’t have a deadline, when you simply ‘want to finish this story,’ often you can’t find time for it. So…. one way to increase your productivity and force some writing to occur, is to give yourself a deadline, or better yet, have a friend give you a deadline. Someone who can check up on you.

I have a friend at work where each day we score our productivity. We each have different scoring methodologies. I generally write my to-do list and assign points for each item, maximum score for the day is always 10. She also gives herself points for avoiding time-wasting activities, like internet surfing. Then we compare our scores and keep a running total for the month, with some ribbing about which one of us has been a bigger slackard. We had planned to have the winner buy the loser lunch at the end of each month, but haven’t followed through. On the other hand, our follow-through on work items has definitely increased. I care little about advancing at my current position, BUT… by focusing on my productivity, I can limit the number of hours that I spend at work, which frees up time for writing, reading and family (not necessarily in that order).

Paula Danziger said she used to make writing deadlines with significant penalties. Like she and a friend would set a target of writing a new chapter each week. Before the week began they would decide on an unpleasant penalty for each of them. The penalty was customized to be distasteful for the person. Paula would always hang her head a bit and say, this method and her tendency to procrastinate was how she came to be on the fundraising mailing list for a well-known Republican candidate.

I heard someone else used a method of telling people that he would finish a task in the next month and that if he didn’t, then he owed them $5. Only, he told this to EVERYONE he knew — at his church, where he worked, his family, etc. So that people were constantly asking him if they’d be getting $5 at the end of the month. Each of them only had $5 at stake, so they were pretty good-naturedly teasing him, it wasn’t as though any of them could be planning to pay their rent with the bet. But, collectively, he had about $1000 at stake, in addition to the constant reminders.

Did he get it done? What do you think? Right. He got it done.

So, if you are having trouble finding time to write, or complete a task and you REALLY want to make it happen, just give yourself a deadline, preferably one that someone other than yourself knows about.

And with THAT! I will be meeting the deadline for Colleen’s 30-day blogging challenge for one more day. Hip hip hooray!

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