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#Authortoolboxbloghop Create More Time to Write in 2020: 20+ Ideas to Reclaim Your Schedule

The new year is officially here and like many, I have committed myself to several new goals I want to accomplish in my life and writing career. And while I think goal-setting is admirable, setting achievable goals with a specific, direct path to success is even better.

The link between time-management and writing might not be an obvious one, however I find that so often it is the obstacles in my daily personal life that prevent me from advancing in my writing. There have been many lessons I've learned in the past few years that have helped me take control over my schedule and carve out time not only for writing, but related activities that have propelled my writing to the next level.

I've compiled a list of time-saving ideas that can reduce time spent on the mundane activities of everyday life. Hopefully some of these will inspire some changes to help you master your schedule this year and spend more time on what you love.

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Simplify Your Getting Ready Routine

  • Acquire a signature look - invest some time upfront so you can save time daily.
    • Get a low-maintenance haircut.
    • Find an easy hairstyle.
    • Master a 5-minute makeup routine.
    • Take a photo of your favorite outfit and use it as a daily template.
  • Set the coffee the night before (or buy a new coffee maker).
  • Place all your getting-ready items in a basket on your counter or in a drawer.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Spend Less Time on Food Prep

  • Batch cook your meals for the week.
  • Order groceries online through Amazon or Walmart Grocery pickup.
  • Plan groceries and meals throughout the week using Google Keep. You can even share the list with your family members to collaborate.

Photo by takahiro taguchi on Unsplash

Cut Down on Your Commute

  • Ask to work from home one day a week.
  • Lump your errands to save on drive time.
  • Don't run errands during rush hour, if you can help it.

Photo by kelvin balingit on Unsplash

Reclaim Unused Wait Time

  • Take the 15 minutes in the waiting room at the doctor's office to read a book, jot down scene ideas, or pin setting or character inspo on Pinterest. 
  • Consider wait time in the school carpool lane as "me" time. 
    • Dictate your novel to your note app on your phone.
    • Listen to an audiobook or an education podcast.

Photo by Tina Dawson on Unsplash

Eliminate Household Chores

  • When you're finished eating, put dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of the sink. 
  • Turn cleaning into a weekly task, instead of a daily one.
    • Commit to a block of time on the weekend (2 hours) instead of a daily one. Eliminating a half hour, seven days a week, will save you 1.5 hours every week that you can dedicate to your writing. 
  • Get a whiteboard. If you're spending hours managing tasks you've delegated to members of your family, try writing out the instructions ahead of time so you don't have to be physically present.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Overhaul Your Financial Tasks

  • Setup automatic bill pay to shave hours off of your month. 

Photo by Maria Ziegler on Unsplash

Beware of Time Thieves

  • Don't let lost items steal your writing time!
    • Create a dedicated space for your car keys.
    • Create a coat & shoe nook where the whole family will put on and take off their shoes and coats everyday.
    • Get a Tile or key finder. These can be used on a variety of items, so whatever you're spending time tracking down on the daily, attach one of these gadgets to be able to track it easily from your phone. 
  • Turn off your phone. This is perhaps the biggest time-thief of them all. It's amazing how much we are able to accomplish without the distractions of social media, text messages and alluring YouTube videos. Set a block of time where your phone is completely off where you can focus your energy solely on the task in front of you. 
Those are all of my ideas to cull through your everyday routine and create more writing time! If you're interested in even more productivity hacks and time management tips, check out the companion video over on my YouTube channel

What are your favorite time-saving hacks that help you find the time to write?

This post is part of the January 2020 Author Toolbox Blog Hop, hosted by Raimey Gallant. Be sure to check out the rest of the awesome bloggers here!

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  1. I'm definitely a strong believer in aiming for atypical times. If work is flexible, midday grocery shopping is great.
    I find that in general it's often helpful to adopt an atypical schedule, either waking up well before everyone else or staying up much later, to further minimize the windows where someone might incorrectly view writing time as "a good time to ask for help."
    One thing that I've found helpful lately is researching personality types, specifically different forms of burnout, and how people tend to incorrectly compensate, and correctly heal. (Come to think of it, that might be a good blog post topic, once I finish my research.)
    One of the big challenges, in my mind, is recognizing when a break or shift in what you're working on is going to accelerate mental recovery, and when it's good to just "push on through."

    1. That does sound like a good blog post. I'd be very interested to see the differences between different types of personalities. I also struggle with knowing when to take a break and when to push through, but I find that most of the time the break comes when I have no other options to continue with my task or lack the inspiration to proceed.

  2. Great tips :) I'm always distracted by my phone, phone free blocks of time sound great!
    I used to love commuting by train over driving, as I could use the time more productively!

    1. Thank you! My phone is probably my biggest distraction other than my dogs! lol

  3. Those are great tips. I'm always looking for ways to make sure I make the most of my time. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment!

  4. Great tips! I always struggle with meal planning. Maybe this is the year that I'll finally commit to it!

    1. Thank you! It used to be a challenge for me as well, but I find that once you start doing it it becomes a routine. The way I look at meals now has completely shifted and I find it hard to go back! lol

  5. I'm about to start a contract which will take me back into the office a few days a week. I plan to listen to podcasts during the commute, and try to start and finish early to avoid the peak-hour traffic.

    1. That's awesome! I love listening to podcasts. Thanks for reading!

  6. I want so much time back after reading your list. I definitely already do some of these things. Thanks, Christy. Great ideas.

  7. These are great ideas! I already do some of them, like using commute time to listen to audiobooks, but some of these I hadn't thought about. Thanks for sharing!

    1. So glad I was able to inspire some fresh ideas! I feel like "time management" is a term that is thrown around a lot, so I was hoping to approach the topic a bit differently and shine a light on small ways to regain a little extra time in our lives. Thanks for reading!

  8. Interesting tips! Some days skipping make-up and turning the phone to silent is the best thing you can do for your writing ;-)

  9. This is a great list of timesavers! Unused wait time is definitely where I use most of my extra writing time. I sometimes try to arrive at an appointment a few minutes earlier so that I can use those moments to write (or ideate). It kills two birds because I'm generally on time and I get some writing done.

    1. Thank you! I also like the idea of turning time that I might otherwise be frustrated or impatient waiting into being productive and working on a project I'm passionate about. :) Not only does it help me get more done, but elevates my mood significantly.


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