My favorite line in “The Martian” trailer, uttered by Matt Damon, is “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 17, 2015
Hello Internet! And welcome back to The Martian inspired “Do The Shit Out Of This Series.” Here in this series, I’m going to share my tips and tricks of how I do it all, and still keep my sanity in check. Last week, I talked about setting priorities which you can see here.
I talked about how prioritizing is very much the anti-ADD. Make a list, check it twice, and feel the deep-rooted satisfaction of crossing it off. But how do you even make that list to start with? You think of all you have to do and you think you have to do it now, now, NOW!
Breathe with me.
My dear friend, and thorn in my side editor, Tricia Kristufek mentioned we live in an age of Instant-Everything. Social Media has radically altered the way we communicate. People worry about being disconnected but we’ve never been more plugged in. Information flies fast like a nailbat to the face. And you have to know when to duck, or you’re gunna end up with hamburger for a face.
So how about that time management?
I should add if you have more than three to five things on your list for the day, you’re doing it wrong.
Here’s today’s list for me:
- Answer Email
- Revise Chapters 2 and 3 of Urban Fairy Tale
That’s it. That’s all there is. Those are my three main goals today. Everything else is icing. Case in point, I’m actually sitting here in my gym clothes and as soon as I queue this post, I’m off to Planet Fitness. Yes. Really.
So, last month I finished co-writing a book, and I wrote a novella. And I edited two other books. Checkmate Ever After for DSP Publications and Bayou Fairy Tale for Dreamspinner Press. The edits varied in level of difficulty. We usually get a week to ten-day window. Use it. Don’t try to edit the book all in one go and hand it in the next day. Peck away at it, bit by bit. Set aside a time limit, or a page limit, when you get there and get to a stopping point, stop. And I do mean it.
For Bayou, I would do them in 100 page sessions. I didn’t have content edits on the story, thank god, but I still had bits I had to figure out. I also worked out if I took a stab at it every other day, I’d be done in time. And so I did. What else did I do? Checkmate Ever After edits in the meantime. Blogging. Planning new projects. Updating deadlines.
Stuff that had to get done that red-hot second, got done that red-hot second. And that was feed my cat. Nothing else.
Tyme 4 a N00B! How I Mine 4 Tyme?
Listen. Beyoncé has the same hours in every day like you do. And she be like…
My trick is if I have a task that requires me to leave the house (the gym) I take my notebook with me so when I get to my car, I can make notes on whatever project I’m doing. Or if I have to go further out, stop at a coffee shop to write. Or just pull up to Pensacola Pier and sit in my car to make words.
The Distractinator! Killer of Time!
It happens. We all suffer from being fucking distracted. That thing about prioritizing? Your list? If you do only the things on that list you’ll destroy those distractions. Trust me. You really don’t have to be on Facebook. Who gives a flying fuck about the latest rant of the day or which deadly virus are you? You can actually unplug. It’s cool people. No one’s going to call out the National Guard.
If you really seriously do not trust yourself and have absolutely no self-control, I recommend Stay Focused for Google Chrome. You can block out time of which sites you can get to for certain times of day. Set your work hours, and off you go. There’s also a Nuclear option where it will block you out of everything if you so desire and will not unlock until time’s up. I set it for four hours sometimes. It’s amazing. You will not believe the relaxing feeling you get when you’re shut off from the universe.
But what about your phone? Oh there’s an app for that. There’s the magnificent Offtime. You set your time limit and off you go. You can also set up apps you absolutely need to get to. But the bitch of it is if the app requires data usage, it’s still off limits. So if you have apps that need to sync, you are shit out of luck. And it’s glorious. You can also get out of it with simple baby ways, like a long press on your phone. Or more tricky of plugging it in to your charger. Or the most diabolical and my favorite is it will not unlock until time is up.
Now! Put it into practice!
First! Set your priorities. What are the three things you must do today? Here’s mine!
- Queue DSP Blog Post
- Outline Urban Fairy Tale
- Write 2k on Urban Fairy Tale
- (And feed the cats)
Second! Where are you going to find the time for all this business!
Join me next week as we continue our awesome series with “Outline The Shit Out Of This” featuring my favorite app OneNote!