Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 1, VOLUME 9 - Page 35

that’s a time vampire. Who can resist read- ing all the things on their Facebook wall once they log on with the intention of post- ing just one thing? Think about setting up a Facebook fan page. Then after you hit 100 likes, you can schedule several posts ahead of time. Perhaps just playing around on so- cial sites is best left for late evening when the most important things have been done. For Twitter, use one of any number of sites that allow you to schedule multiple Tweets for future posting. Once you know what you absolutely must accomplish each day, even if the air conditioning does go out or your best friend calls right in the middle of a particu- larly productive writing session insisting they have to talk to you, keep calm. If you don’t finish something, move it to the next day unless it’s a deadline situation. Periodically check to see how many times this particular thing has been delayed yet one more day. Is it something that must be done eventually? If the answer is “yes” get rid of it by doing it right then. Sometimes it takes longer to justify to yourself why you can’t do something than actually taking the time to do it. C LEAR OUT DEAD PAPERS Get rid of unnecessary or obsolete pa- pers. I wish I could train myself to do this. I really do. Unfortunately, sometimes my stacks just create more stacks. This is something that sounds so easy, but I tote around bags of stuff that should have hit the shredder or garbage months ago. De- spite my own weakness, my words of wis- dom are: Don’t let it get out of hand. Other- W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE wise you will be reviewing the same things every time you decide to clear the deck. At the end of the day try to address pa- pers you’ve printed, received or put aside. If practice what you preach means any- thing, maybe I will actually master that my- self some day. In the meantime, I keep ac- quiring more tote bags. However, I’ve started scanning im- portant stuff, backing it up and then filing or dumping the hard copy. It definitely re- duces the pile. If you refer to an online manual over and over again, print it out and put it in a notebook. Online is great, but it’s so much faster to grab the notebook and go right to the page. M ORE ABOUT TIME MANAGEMENT Don’t engage in long personal phone calls until the most important items on the list are done. Use caller ID to weed out those unidentifiable numbers that always turn out to be someone trying to sell you a useless service or soliciting a donation for the preservation of fire ants. If the call is important, they will leave a message. Never be afraid to say to a friend, “Can I call you back in a few hours? I really need to finish what I’m working on.” If they are a friend, they will understand. Feeling overwhelmed? Get up and walk around for a while, go for a short drive, grab a book and take a break at the local java joint. The only caveat here is to re- member you do have unfinished tasks. You’ll come back refreshed instead of stuck in neutral and find you’ve become produc- tive again. P AGE 30 S PRING 2019