Monday, November 3, 2008

Time Management

Anyone who knows me will laugh if you try to use Audra Harders and Time Management - positive context - in the same sentence. I’m the consummate *good intention* gal, but expect me to arrive early to an event? Even I have to snicker.

So it seems rather contradictive that I have learned time management, and dare I say, efficiency, at the one place that has usurped most of my time. The workplace. Of course meeting schedules and appointments is expected at work, especially if one wants to keep one’s job. But I never thought the skills I developed working for a service organization would trickle into my writing life as well.

First of all, there are events in the year that need planning. I must order literature, awards, supplies, sometimes weeks in advance of an event in order for the function to proceed smoothly. This has filtered into my time management at home. I now prepare days in advance to go grocery shopping. Appointments are scheduled in a cluster so I can take a day off rather than an hour here or there. I’ve purchased the Christmas cards I want to send out to agents and editors at the beginning of December so I can thoughtfully personalize each card to the relationship I have established with that person. Trust me, these are amazing milestones in my life : )

One of my responsibilities is to update our website at work. Bit by bit, I’ve meandered my way around Dreamweaver, a very comprehensive web site program. I had toyed with the idea of using Dreamweaver for my own web site a couple of years ago, but resisted, knowing the learning curve to the program was a bit steep. Since doing maintenance on our work site, I’m no longer wary of the program and I know how to manipulate it to accomplish my goals. Not a guru by a long shot, but not a novice either. Now, all I have to do is come up with the cash to purchase it and I’ll be all set : )

Since September, my team at work has been short a member with no hope of replacing her in the near future. As her responsibilities were scattered among those of us left, I inherited our monthly newsletter. It’s actually kind of fun. I learned how to use MS Publisher and have been a newsletter writing fool ever since. Clipart is a kick : ) Can you believe I already have a couple items ready for my family’s Christmas letter? Heck, last year, I was still printing off the missive a few days before Christmas!

All in all, it’s been a nice exchange of talents. I think the structure of an 8 to 5 job each day makes me plan all the areas of my life, including writing time. I’ve learned to focus and concentrate on the one hour a day I have to write. Amazing, when you learn to work within your constraints, the miraculous things you can accomplish!

Blessings to all!


Donnell said...

Audra, very nicely said. Along with what you're learning, I think less time makes people more efficient. People worried when I took on the Daphne again that I wouldn't write. My writing has increased because I have to budget my time more efficiently. Fantastic that your learning new technologies. These will only help you in the years to come! I'm so happy to see you here today! Whoops, back to writing!

Audra Harders said...

Hi Donnell!
I think I've found that when my mind is left to its own devices, it doesn't know where to start. I'm a great one for having someone schedule my time for me and I just show up : )

Coordinating the Daphne is a HUGE undertaking. When the RWA conference was in Denver in 2002, Leslie Ann coordinated the Death By Chocolate party. I was only a helper, but I knew it was a great time consumer. And, having the Daphne awards during the party, I knew it was a great time consumer, too!!! Atta girl!

Yep, get back to work! LOL!

Leslie Ann said...

Boy, I remember Death by Chocolate chairwomanship. What would I have done without you? Suffered and it wouldn't have been pretty.

Time management is crucial, you're right. I do better when I have little time to call my own. But here's the kicker: I also can't spend the time delving into my plot and characters if I don't just have the time to ponder.

So, it's a horrible catch 22. I want and need the time to dig deep, but find I squander that precious time when I have it. And you know, I'm fairly what do we do?