Tag Archives: time management

Toggl, My Brand New Tool

Moonday Mania

a time stretching blog

I’m now treasurer of my local RWA chapter, Colorado Romance Writers. It’s a crazy thing to do with all the other things I want to do, but someone needs to do it and I’ve avoided board membership for five years now. I’ll put in my time and then be back to normal. Right?

Sure, if you believe that then we have lots of things to sell you!

So, the treasurers job turned out to be much bigger than I thought. I think, like everything, it’s been made much bigger than it has to be by the addition of email. With email, people think you should be able to work non-stop, all the time, for them. They email you and think you should respond. RIGHT AWAY! Because they know you are online and just waiting for them to call. And there is a lot to learn and set up. Accounting programs, Paypal, paying bills. And board duties. It’s not just keeping track of the money, I ended up helping with our retreat too.

timer and laptopI found myself spending way too much time on this and I felt overwhelmed. I need to be taking care of my family, my treasurer’s duties, my health. I need to be writing new words and editing old ones and getting covers ready. And I have a job too. Oh, yeah, I have to work.

The first part of January I estimated I spent 20 hours a week on getting the hang of all this new treasurer stuff. That’s crazy!

But did I really spend that much time doing that? And what else did I spend my time doing? How much time am I devoting to my writing? And will I continue to spend this much time on this job, or will it get better as I settle in and learn all the ins and outs.

I really had no idea. So I’ve adopted a new tool: Toggl.

Toggl is a time keeper. You put in all your projects and clients and it keeps track of your time for you. Now I can divide everything into clients, like CRW, Abracadabra Pubilishing, and ME! I can see where I spend my time and exactly what I was doing. Was I wasting time searching for new YouTube videos? Or was I working non-stop on my latest romance project?

Without knowing exactly where I was putting my time I didn’t know. But now I do! I’ll be able to see how my time is allocated. And once I do, then I can fix the issues. I can start saying no to projects that I just don’t have time for, and make sure I have time for those that really need me. Like getting Broken Mirror edits done. Or making sure I have a great cover.

I plan to keep track of my time for the next month, and then look at it and see where I need to tweak things. By the end of the year I should have a very good idea of whether or not I should continue to be treasurer. I’ll be able to see my exercise time, my personal time, and how much time I spend on social media, blogging, and exactly how much time it takes me to really write a book.

I hope to report back and let you know if this is effective. So far I love it! But then again, I love clear plastic boxes and organizing my books too. Not sure if either of those things is a good way to spend my time. But I’ll find out!

How do you keep track of your time? Do you know how much time each book took you to write? Or how much time you spend cooking healthy food? Is it important to you? Do you exaggerate how you spend your time, or do you underestimate how long everything really took?

Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE. 

Author web links:  

Website: http://jessicaaspen.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5759763.Jessica_Aspen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaAspen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessicaAspenAuthor

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicaaspen/

Join the Jessica Aspen mailing list! Get the scoop on new releases, sales, plus the chance to win ARCs and participate in special giveaways.  When I send you an email, there’s always something in it for you! To sign up for Jessica Aspen’s new release email and get your link to download your free book, please click HERE.

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Filed under channeling success, Goal Setting, Moonday mania, writing organization

Finding time Part II with author Lynn Cahoon

Thursdays Bite

Guest blogger extraordinaire!

Welcome back to author Lynn Cahoon. Lynn’s post on finding time was extrememely popular and I’m thrilled to have her back here with not only more on the same topic but a second fae paranormal book to  follow up her fantastic first paranormal, A Member of the Council. Lynn is one of the amazing members of my GaimX5 Goal setting group, and I’ve loved watching her this year as she comes out with book after book. Congrats Lynn on your huge success this year and on managing your time!

Last visit (https://jessicaaspen.com/2013/05/09/finding-time-with-author-lynn-cahoon/) I talked about cementing your dream – What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

This visit, I thought we’d get down to some detail work or how to plan what you’re going to do.

First, let’s set a goal – After signing my first two contracts last March, I knew I wanted to write the sequels to both series while the editors still knew my name.   Return of the Fae was my summer project. Although I wasn’t contracted for either of the two sequels, I set deadlines for myself.  And both books were completed and sold.

I want to write a book.

Good goal, but how will you know when you’re done?  And how are you going to start? Let’s try again.

I want to write a category length book by the end of the summer.

Okay, better but still that’s kind of vague, let’s tighten it up a tad.

I will have a completed first draft of a 55,000 word book by the end of September.

Much better.  This one is specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-based – or SMART.

Now that we have our goal, we can look at our calendar and figure out how much time we have to write. Starting today there are 21 days left in July – 31 in August – 30 in September. (You can subtract days here if you’re going on vacation or can’t write on Sunday’s but for now, I’m leaving them all in.)  So 82 days until I am done.

55,000 words (the average size of a category romance) divided by 82 days equals 671 words a day. Or 4697 words a week.

Totally doable.  Or, if that’s not reachable for you, you’ll have to kick out that deadline.

I like planning by the week because if I know I won’t have time to write on a Monday (day job deadlines, soccer practice, guitar lessons) then I just have to double up my words on another day (usually Saturday) and I can still meet my goal.

I know what you’re thinking – Sounds good, but it will never work for me.  And if you are thinking that, you’re right, it won’t work.  Before I said the magic is in the work. And I believe that. You have to find your own rhythm and how the process works for you.

And if you’re not meeting your weekly word count because you’re too busy?  At least you have something to show for the summer.  Half a book is better than an idea floating around in your head.  If you don’t meet your goal, adjust it.

Final word on the subject?  Write. Write hard. Write often.

What’s your favorite goal achieving tip?

return of the fae by author lynn cahoonReturn of the Fae

A witch in training, a hunter on the prowl, and a world in jeopardy.

Learning the rules of being a witch takes years, but Parris McCall needs to master them in only weeks. Ty Wallace is going mad with his desire for Parris, but she’s a distraction in his quest to find Coven X before they take The Council and everyone he knows down.

The couple searches for Ty’s mentor, but he’s disappeared. Their only clue comes from a banished witch. When they return, not only are their own lives threatened, but a new life hangs in the balance.

Available at Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Return-of-the-Fae-ebook/dp/B00DJVH8V6

lynn cahoon authorBIO – Lynn Cahoon is a contemporary romance author with a love of hot, sexy men, real and imagined. Her alpha heroes range from rogue witch hunters, modern cowboys, or hot doctors, sexy in scrubs. And her heroines all have one thing in common, their strong need for independence. Or at least that’s what they think they want.

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Filed under Fae, guest post, Thursdays Bite, writing organization