by Linda Rodriquez
In my former life, I ran a very successful university women’s center. I was famous for my time management and organizational skills—and not just on campus. I was fairly well-known in Kansas City because of the many public programs I organized and led and the numerous organizations with which I collaborated and partnered. People often remarked that they couldn’t understand how I could keep track of so many events and activities and accomplish so many things.
I was extremely organized, and my family and I lived and died by my DayTimer. That was part of the answer, but the other, hidden part was the number of nights I stayed up until 3:00 a.m., finishing some project before getting up again at 5:30 a.m. to put myself together and attend an early breakfast event or meeting to start my workday of 10-12 hours. Eventually, when I developed several serious autoimmune disorders I could no longer keep up that kind of schedule.
Now, I write for a living. Writing is my job, as running the women’s center once was. But I seem to have lost all those fabulous time management and organizational skills. Not only do we no longer live and die by my DayTimer in this family, I’d be hard put to lay my hands on it. After several years of serious and scary debility before doctors diagnosed and found proper treatment for me, my house has never been the same, smooth-running, well-organized place it once was. Some things I regularly did to keep it humming along I can simply no longer physically accomplish.
My biggest problem in the time management area is managing to balance the writing of books with all the online and in-person promotion of books that is required of us today. If I overdo building the “platform” my publisher would like to see, my writing time suffers, but if I don’t do enough of the promotion, my sales suffer. I don’t have an answer, but I’ve learned to make writing the first thing I do in my work hours. Once I ensure that my current book-in-progress is going well, I can schedule in promotion activities for the rest of my time. When I follow that simple principle, I feel that my writing life is in balance. When I get sidetracked and don’t, I begin to feel out of whack and overwhelmed.
What are your tips? How do you manage your writing and promotion time? How do you organize your life to keep that balance? Or don’t you?