I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to figure out a plan for this year. I’m not sure it’s goals or resolutions I’m after, so much as a direction to take and some decisions about what I might need to do along the way.
I know I need to organise my time more effectively and I know I need more focus. Not only do I have this blog, my work and things I want to do with my writing, I also have a big, new, exciting (and terrifying) project that I want to take on. And then there’s parenting, the most important aspect of my life. My boys are 8, 6, and nearly 3 so still need a lot of my energy and attention. And I always want time for my husband, my family and my friends all of whom light up all the various paths of my life like the sparkly jewels they are.
How to manage all this has been whirling round in my head for a while. Some ideas are starting to emerge and I’m kind of hoping that if I write this post, it will help. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Areas In Which I Will Make Change Occur in 2016 – With Perhaps A Few Set Ideas But Mostly Just Possibilities (Catchy, eh? Bet you all wish you had some of these!)
I need to focus on my kids more and not be so distracted by writing stories in my head, planning and thinking about other stuff and especially by social media. I’m finding that the age the boys are now, while easier in some ways (they sleep well, eat normal food and can entertain themselves a fair bit) is more complex and challenging in others. I need to be present and be the best parent I can be. Thoughts in this area include:
- Banning smart phones between certain hours (mine and my husband’s – the kids don’t have any) in order to avoid the temptation to be ‘just checking’ the flippin’ things constantly (oh, the seductive flashing light that tells you there’s a notification of some kind!)
- Introducing a ‘family story time’ just before bed. We read to them all when they were small and our youngest still has bedtime stories every night. The six year old often joins in with these (either to read to his little brother or to be read to) but our eldest usually just reads to himself now. All of them love being read to though and stories are so calming at bedtime and such a bonding experience. We need to re-introduce more of these ideals.
- Planning weekend activities in advance so we don’t spend half the day wondering what do, changing our minds, and waiting ’till we’re all cross before we leave the house.
I love my blog but I’m concerned about how much time blogging takes away from my other writing. This has been more of an issue since my toddler dropped his nap as my writing time is now pretty much limited to the evenings. Linkies are very time consuming (especially if you want to be a committed commenter – I spent three whole evenings on commenting last week!) and the social media that comes hand in hand with the blog can be overwhelming. Possibilities for change (and a few extra plans) here are:
- Only write two (or maximum of three) posts a week – my linkie post (which I’ve now decided to put a bit more content into by sharing some posts from the previous week), the post I link up to the linky and possibly one other post some weeks.
- Only link up to one other linky a week besides my own (this wouldn’t have to be the same one other linky every week as I have a fair few I like to join in with).
- Make a structured plan for social media – see below
- Go to BritMums Live for the first time! I’ve got a free ‘editor delegate’ ticket because I write the Poetry and Prose round up and I plan on putting it to good use. I could learn loads.
- Arrange another #WhatImWriting meet up!
This is really being squeezed at the moment hence the need to organise my blogging time a bit. I do have some actual goals for this year in this area:
- Carry on the push to find an agent for my picture books – this will mean re-submitting numerous times and getting good at handling rejection. Re-writes may quite possibly be part of the process too.
- Write some more picture books – three more this year at least. As it happens, I’ve just written a whole new one! We don’t have broadband at the moment so my internet time is basically just down to when I can nick my husband’s phone to use as a wifi hotspot. I’m faffing around on social media MUCH less and have more time to write!
- Keep writing my limericks whenever I can and continue to move towards my self-publishing goal.
- Consider going to the Festival of Writing in York for a day (I loved it last year!)
The love and bane of my life. I check FB like it’s a nervous tick. Having no broadband might be frustrating but I’m certain it’s good for me. Plans here include:
- Remove the FB app from my phone (I’m going to do this as soon as we get our broadband back)
- Institute a smart phone ban after picking the kids up from school and until they are in bed (that’s a lot of hours! Can I cope? Yes, of course I can – I’ve only had one for five years after all!). This should help with my parenting goals because yes, I do check my phone when I’m with the kids even though I know I shouldn’t.
- Schedule tweets and FB posts for blog purposes – I’m hopeless at this.
- Makes lists for twitter. I waste loads of time being completely disorganised in this area.
- Have a set time of day (an hour in the evening?) when I do all my social media stuff and to stay within that set time.
- Post more often on my FB blog page. I’m rubbish at this too and my insights page suggests FB hardly shows my posts to anyone. But having just looked at my blog stats report for 2015, it appears that many of those ‘sights’ lead to referrals. So perhaps I should concentrate a bit more on a decent FB strategy? I’ve never put any money into it. Advice in this area is very welcome!
I don’t talk about it on my blog but I’m writing this here anyway because I know I need to make some changes in this area. I’m spending a lot of time at the moment trying to work out what to do for the best.
I love reading and I’m a better writer because of it. I’m thinking of joining Goodreads this year as a way of keeping track of what I’ve read and maybe writing a few more reviews. I read 25 books last year (I posted yesterday about some of my favourites) which is much fewer than in either of the two previous years (I read 60 in 2013!) so I’d like to at least hit 30 books this year.
Big new exciting thing
This will take time, energy and commitment hence the need to re-think my approach to blogging and writing. I’ll let you know more soon!
That was a fairly long list! I think it’s helped a bit to see it written (well, typed) down. I’ll have to start cracking on with some of these now won’t I?!
How do you manage your time? Any tips most welcome!