I am not very good at multitasking. In fact, I’ll admit I’m terrible. I can’t even prepare a meal if it requires cooking several things at once, (burnt chicken and soggy mash anyone?) so juggling work commitments, meeting writing deadlines and still finding time to be present for my family are something that I have to work at.
Like most people, my life is busy. I wear lots of different hats and I’ve found that, if I want to get stuff done I need to stick to some basic principles. So here’s my top five. Five hacks, if, like me, you’re struggling to fit everything into one day.
I’m not a naturally tidy person so it takes real effort to keep my work space and my head organised. The best thing I ever invested in is a yearly planner that separates everything down into months, weeks and days. It allows me to set aside times to do my creative work and fit it in around my family and work commitments. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but if I have a list at the beginning of the week of what I need to accomplish by the end, I can usually get there.
After you’ve made a weekly list, make a daily and hourly list.
As well as having a weekly planner, for me, it works best if I have a daily list as well. (Even an hourly list at really busy times!) Every morning I write down what I have to do and I always get a little boost when I come to cross it off! At the moment, I do it in a pad, but I’m thinking of investing in a large whiteboard to put up in my office so I can section off the different areas that I work in and see at a glance what needs to be done.
Prioritise your tasks
I’m guilty of not doing this on a regular basis. For instance, if I have a good writing idea, I can be itching to do that instead of what really needs my attention. So look at what needs to be done, then prioritise it. What has the shortest deadline? What needs to be done first? Should I be editing rather than writing a new scene? What can wait? Do your tasks according to deadline, not according to which one you’d like to!
Get off line
Procrastination is an evil time stealer and my favourite way to spend time is by going on social media. I’m totally addicted to Instagram and can easily lose hours on there. And as a writer, all the social media platforms play a huge part in my career as I’m on numerous sites, so I use it as a reward. I get what I have to done, and then I can visit the social media platforms without the guilt.
Get help where you can
If a deadline is looming and I don’t think I can make it, I ask for help. It’s ok to admit that you need a little support, so if you find yourself struggling, then don’t be afraid to ask for some help. In fact, I find that those around me are always eager to take some of the pressure off when I need it, be it in the form of child care or helping with the house.