INKSPILL Advice: Time Management



We dream of a writing career, we might not realise how much work is involved beyond the writing & editing. You can easily use your entire writing time on admin tasks. Sometimes this is a way we avoid writing if we are not feeling it, but sometimes the tasks need to be sifted so we have time to write.

There are many methods of time management. Here is just one for you to try, a proven one found in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Here I focus on the first 2 Quadrants.



In Quadrant 1 – tasks are those that are urgent and important. These are the ones with deadlines.

Don’t be too busy with these.


Quadrant 2- tasks are those that are important but are not urgent. These are the long-term development tasks.

If you are a writer, some Quadrant 2 goals might be to experiment with different genres, to learn how to market yourself for publishing, and to improve daily writing routines.

The secret? Swap Quadrant 2 and prioritise over Quadrant 1 tasks.


^ Re-read that sentence because at first it makes little sense, right?

This doesn’t mean let all your deadlines pass. It means think about skills that will help you as a writer. What will help/advance your career. What would it be? Learn that skill. Or work your way up to learning that skill.

Focus on your development and you will become a better writer.


time_management© 2016 qualitylivingmadesimple

Start adding Quadrant 2 to your daily to-do lists. Find a way to focus on your capacity for writing and improving your abilities at least some of the time. Fifty two weeks of consistent development will make you a much stronger writer than one who finishes standstill tasks every day for 52 weeks.


Quadrant 3 – tasks that are urgent and not important.

Time pressured distractions, which are not really important.


Quadrant 4 – tasks that are not urgent and not important.

Low value activities, things we do when we take a break.

Do the important things first.



Take time to relax, stay positive. When it gets overwhelming consider all your productivity and accomplishments so far. Stay healthy and focused. Remember as your workload grows, (it is what you wished for), your productivity planning will need to evolve.


Stay positive, healthy and focused. Be the water that wears away the stone of your to-do list. Eventually, you’ll win and you’ll be free to move onto the next stone. Be the water. 



Time Management Grid This PDF has a final page you can print out and fill in using the quadrant system for your own work tasks/schedule.

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