Saturday, April 19, 2014

Self-Publishing Overwhelm-Top Five Time Wasters

This is a picture of my friend and fellow teacher, Susan.  She is putting together an arts festival for our school and an arts career day while helping with testing and teaching her usual 25+ classes a week.  Can you relate?  You're trying to balance your day job, your family and social life and then on the side you have this dream of writing and publishing a book.  Who am I to tell you it can be done? 

You know that I've done it but I probably had time you don't have.  Maybe I have a family that isn't full of drama and demanding of my time and energy.  Maybe I have a job that pays me to just show up and I can use lots of free time to write and research. Maybe I have plenty of money and resources. Let me assure you none of these things are the case.

Moving forward on a dream, a goal--any goal takes time and focus.  It takes setting priorities and identifying ways to carve out extra time and energy. Here's the top five time wasters that I've had to to address in order to be creative, write and publish five books in four years:

1. Plan and prioritize--Spend some time each day and each week in setting priorities and establishing your focus.  So many people jump out of bed, rush around to get to work on time and once they get to work, address each task as it rears it's ugly head.  This is responding to the urgent rather than the important.  Take time to plan and prioritize first thing every morning.  You'll be amazed what a difference it makes.
2. Planned neglect- This is the second technique that I've used to accomplish my goals.  It means that you resist the call of so many simple things that eat into your time.  It is deciding that you will wait to unload the dishwasher until later, maybe tomorrow.  It is skipping those things that can easily be done but that suck up your time relentlessly; checking email, posting and reading on Facebook, fixing another cup of coffee and chatting with a co-worker.  Of course we all need a break and a little reward from time to time but make sure it comes AFTER you have completed your first priority.
3. Work in your strengths-I hire people to do many of the things that I either don't do well or just plain hate to do.  Does it cost money?  Of course.  But my time is better spend creating content that I can sell and make money with rather than saving money by cleaning my own house or doing my own taxes. You probably have lots of things that you do but someone else could it do better and more efficiently.
4. Networking and Learning-I belong to a women's networking group and a Christian authors' guild that meet monthly.  I'm involved in an online coaching class that meets weekly and I'm in a ten week uplevel my business class.  I attend several conferences every year. Is that part of my overwhelm?  Yes and no.  I do tend to overdo it a bit, but continuing to learn and grow is one way to stay energized.  I am also constantly learning new concepts and techniques to improve and streamline what I do.  Don't sacrifice learning and networking in order to accomplish your dream or you will quickly become burnt out and frustrated. 
5. Celebrate small victories- Sometimes we get so focused on the work we forget to stop and celebrate our accomplishments.  I finish the book but now have to focus on publishing.  It's published but now I have to focus on launching and marketing.  You get the idea.  Take some time to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing each milestone.  Schedule a celebratory party and enjoy!!

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  1. Love "planned neglect." Use that strategy all the time.

    It's a great list, Lynne. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Kent. I think I learned that one from you....