Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More on Time Management

This last week I wrote over 9,000 words on In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. I'd say that was effective time management. In a comment to my last post, a good friend, Gary, asked if documenting my time management was a good use of time. I replied that for my engineering work it was close to a necessity.

Since I came to Arkansas, I've been involved in nine (give or take 1) lawsuits. Sometimes it's us being sued by a client or a third party. Sometimes it's our client being sued by a contractor or a third party. I've also been involved in three mediations, generally between a client and a contractor, with us supporting our client. The last six or seven of these have happened after I began doing a fairly good job of tracking my activities. How good was it in court to be able to say, "I first met Mr. Finch on November 1, 2006, and his wife on March 12, 2007." Those people had both said they had never met me, but in my diaries, contemporaneously recorded, was a record on those days of meeting them. One point scored for the good guys.

Writing doesn't involve lawsuits, of course, though I suppose questions of copyrights could possibly arise. Professional writers say always data your drafts, either in manuscript or on the computer, and save everything. They say keep a diary of progress on a book. I don't exactly do that, though I might jot down on paper what my word count is at the end of each day that I work on it.

So what's the purpose of talking about managing time? Of documenting time spent? For the first question, I suppose it's my way of giving myself an incentive to get off my lazy butt and do something—of sit on my butt in front of the computer and write. If I talk about doing it, I'm more likely to do it than if I don't talk about doing it. As far as documenting the time I spend on writing, part of that is to show the IRS, should I ever be audited, that I'm serious about this second career, despite the relative lack of earnings. I suppose I also have a dream that someday, perhaps a century from now, a researcher will research my writing life for a thesis or dissertation, and will be interested in the day-to-day attempts to carve out time and write.

Dreams are good, so long as they don't immobilize you from pursuing them.

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