If you do creative work, you might consider how to get more done in less time. In the world of multitasking, creatives can become lost because they scatter their thoughts and feelings among too many things to do. I’ve read advice for creatives about making chores into activities. Run all your errands in one afternoon. Cook and freeze enough meals all day to feed everyone for a week or more. Answer routine emails once a week until your inbox is empty.

Of course, I’m going to talk specifically about writers here. You probably know that I’ve done a lot of research on time management and personal organization. And I’ve come up with a set of guidelines from all the research to use myself.

Over the last two or three years, though, I’ve become frustrated with my schedule, which in theory should work so well. I kept wondering why it didn’t. I’m going to show you what I used to do, and what I’m doing now. And why I think what I’m doing now is better.

My days had a set schedule/routine, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. I take Thursday and Sunday off—Thursday to shop instead of the weekend, and to do other errands, perhaps see a doctor, whatever comes up. Sunday is my unplug day—I check email morning and night, but the rest of the day I [try to] stay away from the computer.

This is what my schedule looks like:

  • Get up, get dressed, get coffee and orange juice, turn on computer, make bed while computer warms up.
  • Drink coffee and juice, read and respond to emails.
  • Write 1,000 words on work in progress—fiction
  • Exercise.
  • Eat lunch while reading newspaper (resting eyes from computer glare)
  • Housework, more email, odd jobs—not my best time of day to do creative work. I have one chore planned for each day—bathroom and kitchen day, dust and dry mop day, vacuum day, and so on—more about this later.
  • Four o’clock, put computer aside, no more housework, relax for an hour, reading a book.
  • Five o’clock, make dinner, eat dinner, clean up kitchen, read or do email until seven.
  • Seven o’clock, work for one hour on a writing project or marketing.
  • Eight o’clock, downtime or more email, Facebook.
  • Nine o’clock, more writing projects
  • Ten—finish up on computer, shut it down. Read until bedtime.

Okay, I left out personal grooming, talking to my husband, goofing off.

You’ll notice I don’t watch TV. Well, rarely, I watch football games once a week during the season, and the occasional show my husband is recommending, or a movie he’s watching. Not really my thing, though.

Looks really good on paper, doesn’t it? Not that many hours of work.

The trouble is that the marketing also gets interspersed in there—Twitter, Facebook, blog articles, a newsletter every so often, and lots of other stuff I can’t even remember now. If I don’t schedule those times to relax, I don’t relax.

And usually, by 7 o’clock, I don’t want to do anything more. There’s simply too much stuff! Scattered stuff.

So, I have a new plan using the project idea.

  • Mornings stay the same except the writing new stuff switches to marketing when I’ve finished a project until I can’t think of another way to promote that project, then I go back to new writing.
  • Afternoons stay the same except I do projects instead of small bits of housework—my plan is:
  • Monday, major project, will differ each week.
  • Tuesday groceries, some cooking in advance.
  • Wednesday, catch up on email/home office work.
  • Friday/clean house.
  • Saturday laundry..

But evenings become either more writing/editing or marketing—in other words, not doing both every night, again, until it’s done for the latest project.

I’m not saying this is going to help, but it might. I’m a bit excited about this experiment. But would it be better to continue in the afternoon working on writing and marketing, and doing the other chores after dinner? Like with a regular job? Or reverse it and do the housework/chores first thing, get them out of the way, then spend the rest of the day writing? I’m not sure yet. We’ll see.

So, I’ll report back in a month or so. Stay tuned!


I have a three-pronged routine for saving stuff I need to copy and paste somewhere else. I use a PC, so I have no idea if all of this will work on a Mac.


(I wish my posture was this good!)

First, if it’s a website link, I use a free on-line program called Bitly to shorten it for use mainly on Twitter, but also in emails and other miscellaneous spots.


Copying whatever I need automatically goes to Ditto Clipboard Manager, another free, downloadable program whose icon sits with those other tiny icons at the right bottom of our screens. You can edit the items you copied to Ditto right in the program. You can delete them, too of course, or keep them around.


Third, I made my own document called LINKS where I put those items that I am sure I will need to use over and over again, maybe only for a week for promotion, or forever. They tend to get lost during the day of using only Ditto. Plus I can make the type as big as I want in my own document. Ditto uses tiny type. Most importantly, I put that LINKS document right on my desktop so I can click it on first thing and use it all day as necessary, adding, using, and deleting as I go. I still use Ditto for a quick copy and paste of many things and leave them in there for a few days for future use, if needed.

Until I started using number three, I often had to go and hunt up the link or other stuff in Ditto, and if it had been shortened by Bitly, was not sure if it was the right one. In my LINKS document, I can spell out what it’s for.

I love finding easy ways to get the small stuff done. This approach is one of them. Anyone have more tips for copying and pasting?




We spent most of June traveling. A total of ten days travel to visit two locations where we spent eight days total, not counting the days we arrived in each city.

Two days to get to Meridian, MS, where I finally got to meet an on-line writer friend, John Floyd, and his lovely wife for dinner. We had a great time.

Two more days to get to Washington, DC, for an annual Vietnam Helicopters Crewmembers reunion. We’ve been going off and on since the late 1990s, so there are a lot of familiar faces. My husband served two terms in Vietnam and retired from the Army. He’s on a “crewmembers net” on-line, and many of the members attend the reunions. It’s great to put faces to names and actually chat with people. Many of the wives show up, and in the beginning, rarely a child or two. Now the children are grown and they love coming with their own children. It seems as if about half the attendees were family, the rest actual veterans. Many stories are swapped, much food and drink consumed, and lots of fun and laughter. It was great to see old friends and make a few new ones. We arrived on a Tuesday and left on Sunday for Newport, RI.

Because of an enormous amount of traffic, it took longer than we expected to get to Newport.

We both have a lot of history there. My husband grew up in the town and didn’t leave until he joined the Army. My aunt and uncle lived there, so from the time I was thirteen, I visited often, and when eighteen got a summer job there. Then now-husband Chris and I met later that year during Christmas holiday time in the church his family and my aunt and uncle attended. The Young People’s Association was decorating the church for the Christmas celebration, and I went to help. Ended up handing Chris ornaments while he put them on the tallest branches (he’s 6’4”). A couple of parties attended by both of us after that, and he asked me out. We ended up getting married in the same church where we met and have been happy ever since.

So, in Newport we visited Chris’s family (I have none left there, unfortunately). A brother-in-law, two brothers, and one of their wives, an old friend who hosted one of those parties from way back when, a couple who also met each other around the same time Chris and I did—the man went to school with Chris and we’ve gotten together with them every time we’re up there. Plus two women we’ve known, independently, since our teenage years who happened to meet each other in California and ended up living together, for years now. They are both Episcopal priests. I went to high school in New Jersey with one, and Chris attended church camp in northern RI with the other. It’s one of those coincidences that gives you goosebumps. Chris’s friend grew up in Bristol, which is right outside Newport, and the two women are now renting the house she grew up in and are in the process of buying another one.

I got to eat some lobster, Chris got to eat his whole clams, and the weather was glorious. We both love going back, but hate the trip itself.

It took five days to drive back, and again, the traffic in the northeast was horrendous. You wonder why we don’t fly. That’s just as bad, or worse in other ways. Seating is way too small for both of us who are so tall. TSA and cancelled flights are another big issue. Rental car places a huge hike away from the terminals. Difficulty finding anything and everything. Just not worth it.

Now home and rested, I plan to work on my writing some more. As soon as I make that first million, I’ll get a jet card, and we’ll fly up there every summer for a month or so.

It’s good to have dreams. And good to be home, but we’re so glad we went.

May I recommend a short story collection of mine called Warning Signs? I thought I’d suggest it since the cover is kind of on-topic. It’s an ebook available on Amazon (click on the cover). But if you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll send you a print autographed copy for free. Just email me your snail mail address.Warning Signs 160 pixels