Time Management for Writers

I first did this exercise many years ago in a writing workshop. It changed my life. Maybe it will change yours—if it needs changing, that is.


(Adapted from A Writer’s Time, by Kenneth Atchity)

No time is more important than the time spent examining your schedule and your time. Time planning doesn’t take much time, but it results in immense amounts of time saved, including time to waste when you feel the need for it.

It is important to schedule leisure time and time to do nothing: when you allow yourself that kind of time you don’t have to resent not having time to relax. And when you are in lesiure time, you’ll know you’re “supposed” to be relaxing, so you need not spend your free time worrying.

Begin by answering the question “Where does the time go?” Make an inventory of your time over the span of a week. Figure out where the hours go by making a list of activities in pencil and estimating the number of hours spent after each activity. Don’t worry about accuracy at this point.

Activity                                                                                                          Hours Spent

Sleeping     (no compomise on sleep–7 X 8 = 56 )






Personal hygiene





Phone/Email / Internet

Caring for others (kids, parents, sick friends)


Now go back and add up the hours, remembering that there are 168 hours in a week.

Next, recacluclate your list, still in pencil, being more honest this time. Once the list is as accurate as you can make it (leave out nonroutine events like vacations or sicknesses), add two columns to each item. In the first column, estimate how much you like this activity on a scale of one to five. In the second column, rate how much potential each activity has for enhancing your ability to “buy time”–ie. can you cut down on this activity?

Activity                                    Time spent                        Like                     Time Barter





Revisit this exercise every few months, and see if it helps you manage time and particularly spend more time doing the things you want to do rather than what you think you have to do.

This entry was posted in freeing creativity, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s