Like a lot of writers, I’m someone who struggles to find the time to write. A full time day job and family commitments mean there isn’t a lot of time to spend on my passion – what is essentially to those around me considered as a hobby (but that’s for another blog). When I do get a few precious hours at my disposal it’s difficult to know what to tackle first and how to best maximise the time. I’m often overwhelmed with the task at hand and essentially freeze.
The solution to this problem for me is the simple use of a timer. I work to tight deadline all the time in my day job but I’m sure this simple procedure will help you even if you don’t. Breaking down the allotted time into smaller sessions (often allocated to the individual tasks) helps to focus my mind and makes me significantly more efficient.
This also helps two other issues: concentration and sitting still too long. I believe the average concentration time (for students) is about 20 minutes before the mind starts to wander. And if you are sat in the same position working for long periods you risk stiffness and over time RSI. By using a timer set at 25 minutes I focus and work flat out knowing that I only have that time to get through a task. At the end of the 25 minutes I go to the loo or make a cup of coffee, or just roll my neck and readjust my position before setting the timer again. I’ve found that I achieve so much more using this very simple routine and the work is better for it.
Initially I used the timer on my phone but I recent downloaded an app to the laptop called Howler. Crows caw as it counts down and then a wolf howls to tell me time is up. It’s a bit of silliness that makes me smile before I head for the kettle and reboot my brain ready for the next session.