Wednesday, January 8, 2014

10 Steps That Will Change The Way You View Time Management

As authors we have to balance a lot items on a to-do list. Not only do we have the professional aspects, which are plentiful, we need time to tend to other necessities. How do you go from procrastinating to actually accomplishing your goals?

What if I told you that the following 10 steps have enabled me to become more organized than ever before? I am steadily working toward reaching my goals and even have time for relaxation and housework!

10 Steps that will change the way you think of time management:

1. Define your goal(s).
2. Visualize your goal as if it were already accomplished.
3. Transform your vision into color and imagery. 
4. Get organized.
5. Double check that every step is accounted for. 
6. Get organized.
7. Color code, or categorize activities.
8. Break it down.
9. Execute.
10. Bask in your accomplishments. Mark off your to-dos as they are accomplished.

Now, let's discuss these steps in further detail.

First Step
Define your goal(s).

Only you can know what is of utmost importance to you. In this post, I will be focusing on achieving more when it comes to writing and publishing, but as noted above these tips can apply to any goal.

Is your primary goal to sell more books? To write more books? To publish more books?

Once you've decided where you want to be, then step 2 comes into play.

Second Step

Visualize your goal as if it were already accomplished. How do you feel? Visualize yourself in that moment.

I learned this trick from Jack Canfield through my self-discovery journey. Believe you're already living that lifestyle, or already there, and it will propel you.  (This is an extensive topic and will be covered more on my Shining Soul blog under the subject: The Power of Affirmations on January 30th.)

Third Step

Transform your vision into color and imagery. 

Create a layout of what you're wanting to accomplish.

For example, I will be releasing 10 titles in 2014.  I laid out a release schedule and then created a document with the mock-up book covers and put their release date under them. I have a copy of this in my office, on my fridge, and in my media room so that my goal is always in front of me. (Once all the images are bought and the covers finalized, which will be finished by mid-January, I will be printing this schedule in color.)

Fourth Step

Get organized.

Once you know your release schedule, figure out what you have to finish writing and editing, when you have to pass it on to a professional editor, a proofreader, upload to Amazon/Smashwords, format or hire out for the paperback interior formatting, etc.

Fifth Step

Double check that every step is accounted for. 

When it comes to my goal, I made sure I had all the steps were covered for each title. 

Sixth Step

Get organized.

Now you have your targets set and know you have every step accounted for, add this to a calendar to keep you on track.

Maybe you let out a moan? Appointments and calendars never worked for you in the past. Take heart, I used to be in the same place!  

Remember, you can take a month, or two, "snapshot" at a time and update your calendar bi-monthly to align with your goals. (I went in with the purpose of adding 2 months and ended up with 6 entered into my calendar.)

Seventh Step

Color code, or categorize activities.

I'm using Outlook Calendar for my activities. There are some items that reoccur and the program makes it easy to set things up this way.  I also love adding color-coded categories to each type of responsibility/event. For example, the posts to be done for my author blog are a bright purple, I used orange for my Shining Soul blog posts, and yellow for Celebrating Authors.

Eighth Step

Break it down.

Once you've entered your activities into your calendar, it's going to appear pretty scary and overwhelming at a month's snapshot. Your going to have color everywhere!! Your heart may even start to palpitate.

Remember, this, though: you only have to accomplish what is on your to-do list for that day to reach your goals--nothing more. Don't pressure yourself, don't get ahead of yourself. This ties in with the next step.

Ninth Step

Execute.

When looking at your daily to-dos, set out to do the most unpleasant task first. You will always find time for the activities you enjoy more. 

If you've accomplished must-haves, don't feel you have to go ahead to the next day to get ahead of things. You don't have to. You've laid everything out. You've got it covered. Relax.

Tenth Step

Bask in your accomplishments. Mark off your to-dos as they are accomplished.

With each activity you delete from your day's to-dos, you will become empowered. You are working toward your goals in a balanced and effective manner.

Remember, by doing this today, you will accomplish a year's worth of goals! 

What's left over...
You may find other "to-dos" creep in. For example, you have a marketing idea, changes you want to make to your website, etc. I've added these type of things as tasks, most without any sort of due date. These are items I can check off when I've accomplished the things moving me toward my goal.