NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. Right now the biggest question for anyone, Planner or Pantser is: How will you find the time to write? It’s a lot of writing, and you have responsibilities that don’t just go away because you say “please.”
I wish I could tell you that I have a machine that will stretch your time so you have 25 hours in a day instead of 24. Alas! Such a thing still doesn’t exist.
What I do have is personal experience as a mom and a writer with not enough time in the day.
Here are my favorite ways to get a little more time out of my day:
Set your alarm for an hour earlier than your usual. It’s that easy. And that hard.
But mornings are a great time to get an extra hour or so of writing done. If you can manage to get yourself out of bed, that is. Once you manage it, and are armed with your caffeinated drink, you’ll discover that mornings are quiet in a way that late nights never are.
It’s easier to focus when the world feels calm in the early morning.
Your mind is fresh in the morning. The cares of the day haven’t piled on you like they have in the evenings.
Even if you consider yourself a night-owl, you should give it a try. It might surprise you how much you can get done.
Every mother knows that moment where you finally have everyone in bed and you have the house to yourself. Whether you’re planning to finish up housework or just sit and relax with a book, this time is yours.
If the idea of waking up even earlier than you already do makes you want to pull your hair out and scream I completely understand.
The biggest problem with trying to squeeze in an extra hour at the end of the day is that you’re running down from everything that you’ve already done. There are two ways to counter this:
The usual way is to just power through the tiredness. You’ll hit a second wind and won’t be so tired. Caffeine can assist with this, but may interfere with your sleep later.
Take a Nap
My preferred method is to take a nap. This is currently how I’m getting work done at night. I put my 3-year-old to bed then lay down with my 10-month-old to nurse him to sleep and take a little nap myself. By the time both of them have drifted off I feel re-energized and ready to go for another hour or two. Without caffeine.
Watch Your Habits
Sometimes the best way to make the most of your time is to figure out where you’re wasting it. I know we all hate hearing productivity experts rag on the time suck that is Social Media, but they have a point. Ten minutes spend checking Facebook could be ten minutes writing.
Smart with all their nifty apps are a blessing and a curse. I still spend entirely too much time in the bathroom.
Where else is time being wasted just taking too long to do something?
Plan And Batch
Taking five minutes to plan what you’re going to do will save you ten minutes later of “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.” Provided you don’t constantly re-plan what you’re going to do.
Planning helps you consolidate tasks. It takes less time to vacuum the whole house if you do it all at once than if you do it over several days.
Different tasks take different mindsets. It’s faster for me to outline a bunch of blog posts at once, then write them, then edit them. Each task takes different skills. Batching them together streamlines the process.
I’m a big fan of having a plan and following through as a way to save time.
Ultimately, saving time is about knowing what is most important to you and making time for it.
Did I miss any major time-savers? Let me know in the comments below.