Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time for Change, Change for Time

Cricket McRae

I don't know about you, but I don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Sometimes that's more the case, and sometimes less, but lately the situation has become critical.

So here are a few time-saving techniques I'm exploring in order to eke out more minutes, nay, hours, of productivity.

1. Give up sleep. A friend of mine hasn't slept more than five hours a night since his four-year-old was born. He's a walking zombie, but that's beside the point. It's worth a try in order to garner twenty more hours a week, no?

2. Multi-tasking. For example, I only talk on the phone while I'm driving. Unfortunately, I lost my bluetooth headset (I blame the cat), so my hands-free solution is to put the phone on speaker and toss it on the passenger seat. The road noise has caused only three major misunderstandings so far, but I have noticed fewer people are calling me. Fewer people want to sit in the passenger seat, too. Pretty soon I won't have to talk to anyone.

3. Give up exercise. Easier than you'd think.

4. Give up cooking, which balances out #3, since I don't like to eat out much. And the resulting hunger sharpens my focus -- which I sorely need after getting only five hours of sleep a night.

5. Turn off my wireless LAN. This one's real; if I'm connected, I'm distracted. Email, Facebook, and (ohgod) Second Life. I just downloaded SL to check it out after a fellow author told me she's using it for promotion. I've got to get it off my laptop NOW.

6. Do less laundry. Clean clothes are simply overrated.

7. Use Gmail Autopilot. It answers your email for you! What's the worst that could happen?

8. Get rid of the kids and the animals and slap an apron on hubby. (Okay, I don't have kids. Or a hubby, strictly speaking. But if I did ...)

9. Prioritize my to do list and then delete the bottom fourth. I'll never get to that stuff way down there anyway, so why put pressure on myself? For example, I was going to have a dozen time saving ideas in this blog entry. Now I don't have to, and I don't even feel guilty!

Okay, now you. What are your tried and true ways to make the time for everything -- especially the writing -- in this modern life?


Jess Lourey said...

I will fully enable your hermitating process, Cricket. Last year, a regional magazine did a full-page spread on my writing career (somebody important must have dropped out at the last minute), and in the midst of a two-hour interview, the interviewer shot me the standard, "How to you do it all? Full time job, two kids, and write novels?"

I said I didn't shower on weekends, watch TV, or have personal relationships.

It was one of those comments that was true but so sad I hoped she'd think I was joking. It became the headline of the article, right over a huge photo of me holding my cat, apparently the only creature I can sustain a relationship with (except my kids, but they don't have a choice).

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Except for the 2 kids, Jess, you and I have a lot in common.

I get asked at every event "How do you do it?" I juggle writing with a full-time job. I don't have kids, but I do produce two novels a year and do a lot of promotion. TV watching is limited and generally paired with meals and other chores. The apartment is dirty. Meals are microwaved or take-out. My only long term relationship is with my 2 cats, and even they are looking for a good divorce attorney.

How do I do it? How do any of us do it? We just want it bad enough.

G.M. Malliet said...

Jess - LOL, you & the cat. Thanks for the good start to the day over here. Please post that photo here sometime?

Cricket - I don't understand how Second Life could be used for promotion, but then I don't get the point of Twitter, either. I do like some aspects of Facebook and, like you, have to train myself not to go there.

G.M. Malliet said...

Sue Ann - you and I seem to be on identical schedules the last two days. The second I push the Publish button your comment pops up. It's kinda eerie.

Cricket McRae said...

First off, I love the term "hermitating," and plan to use it at least once in conversation today. If I have any conversations today, that is. And for the record, I applaud no showers on weekends.

You guys leave me in awe. However tongue-in-cheek my post was, there was plenty of truth to it. And Sue Ann, you're right -- we just want it badly enough to devote the time and embrace the isolation.

Gin -- I think you can set up store fronts in Second Life, as well as do virtual readings. Don't think it's my cup of tea, though, nor my readers.

Thanks for providing both camaraderie and perspective!

Alan Orloff said...


You need to branch out from fiction and put out some self-help books on time management and organization. I know I'd read them--if I had the time, that is.

And for the record, I almost named my second child "Hermitate."

Cricket McRae said...

Alan, at your suggestion I've added "write self-help books" about 7/8 of the way down my to-do list.

Keith Raffel said...

Cricket, maybe you're looking at this backwards. Why give up everything for writing time. Why not just enjoy yourself and have software do the hard parts of the writing for you? See

Cricket McRae said...

Keith, thank god you stepped in. You may have saved my life! And just in time -- that introductory price of $49.95 is only good until midnight TONIGHT.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Keith, I looked up that write quicky web site. That is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Write an entire novel in 28 days with less than 1 hour a day time investment. Talk about hyping to people's dreams of grandeur - lazy, delusional people, that is.

Jess Lourey said...

Keith, how'd you find that link? What were you searching for? And I love the description of the guy who will show you how to write that book in 28 days, writing less than an hour a day:

"Living in his luxurious Staffordshire home, Nick Daws has been a full-time writer for over 16years. He lives with his partner, Jayne, and enjoys playing his part as a regional celebrity - occasionally putting finger to keyboard to write another book."

I'm exactly like him, except for Jayne and Staffordshire. And the "occasionally." Mmm, and the "celebrity."