This week’s blog post is brought to you by a very special woman. When Katrena and I first met I grabbed her cyber-hand and pulled her along a wild journey of ChapterBuzz.com 10K challenge. This woman stuck it out and WON AN AWARD with her novel in progress, Elemental Guard. I was so excited to have a fellow writer within my neighborhood. So, we met for coffee to hash out some ideas. I’ve been a HUGE fan of hers from the beginning and am very thankful she took the time to help me out this month. Enjoy!
Taming the Clock By Author Katrena Turner
This is the first time I have ever written anything for a blog. I was excited and nervous when I agreed to write something. Excited because this is exactly what I need to branch out and start getting myself out of my comfort zone and doing things I have never done before. Nervous because I doubted anything I needed to say would be interesting. I wracked my brain. What do I have to say? What should I talk about? After going back and forth for days, I knew I needed to write something because I have a million other things to do and I am running out of time.
You see, I am very busy. I do not mean “trying to find time to paint my nails” busy. I mean “find time to sleep and eat” busy. I work full time. I go to school full time (that’s 4 classes a semester), and take care of my two kids.
If I was not already busy enough with all that and household duties, both my kids are at an age where they want to be doing extracurricular activities. I have a 10-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter, and both want something to do after school. My daughter does gymnastics on Saturdays, and they both are interested in soccer this summer. My 6-year old is behind in reading. So, mash in tutoring sessions two days a week. I have plenty of things to keep myself busy and yet I always find ways to add more to my already overflowing plate. I bet most people can relate. Most days I do not know if I am ambitious and motivated, or just plain bat s— crazy. The only way I do not lose my mind is I have become a master at time management and schedule manipulation. I would prefer the master of time and space but I’m not the Doctor and I do not have a nifty Tardis hanging around. I am not the only busy author or overworked mother, and I thought I would share the few things which have kept me from pulling my hair out.
First, you must get organized. Find a system that works for you and stick to it. Personally, I have a schedule handwritten in a planner. Writing things down helps me remember it better and with everything in one place, I know where to look. I sit down and write in every single task and due date along with expected time it will take to complete, and the latest possible day to start the task to get it finished on time. I need to be organized because I also like to procrastinate. If I do not force myself to start projects, they will not get done. I also keep a whiteboard calendar on the wall that I keep important dates and appointments. I write things down but there are other options if those work better. you can use an excel spreadsheet or google calendar if you’re are tech savvy, I am definitely not!
Git er done
After you are organized, you need to review it regularly. As we are all aware, things change so quickly and all the time. I personally review my schedule every Sunday for the following week and make any changes or rearrange as needed. I also use this time to make my weekly to-do list, or as I call it my “git er done” list. I also make a list for longer term tasks that do not need to be done right away.
With all this organization, I still do not have time to squeeze in everything. So, I need to get creative with how I manage my time. Multi-tasking. I know you were all wondering when I mentioned this. Basically, this is life when you are a busy mother/author/student. Literally life! I cannot think of a moment when I was not doing at least two things at once. Like right now I am typing, cooking dinner, and monitoring the kids while they put away their clean laundry. I use multi-tasking to make sure I spend as much time with my kids while also taking care of things. We clean together or separate laundry together. They help me plan our menu and meal prep.
Multi-tasking does not help all the time. So, I also take advantage of any shortcuts I can. I use the Click list option at the local grocery store. I shop online on my lunch break and then reserve a time after work to go pick up my groceries on my way home. There’s a small fee but totally worth it when I don’t have to go into the grocery store every week.
Take a break
At the end of the day do not stress if it is not all done. The important thing is that it will eventually get done and you are not alone in the struggle. Whatever it is that you need to do, it is probably not so important it cannot wait a day. If it is important, you can always push off the less urgent tasks. You only live once so do not stress. Sometimes, while reviewing my list, I decide that maybe it does not need to get done today. I can take a day to relax and I spend a few minutes rearranging my schedule and I give myself a few hours to sit and read or write in my book. Sometimes I take a spontaneous day to take the kids to a movie. Sometimes we skip family cleaning day and we take a family relaxation day. <3
Katrena M Turner is a 29-year-old mother (soccer mom this summer), student, writer, and time management master. She was born and raised in the beautiful Denver, Colorado where she currently resides with her two stubborn red-heads, two cats, and a chinchilla. She is currently working as a pharmacy technician while earning her bachelor’s in accountancy. Working full time going to school full time, and raising her children leaves very little time for hobbies. When she does have free time she enjoys reading, writing, arts and crafts, and anything with her kids. Katrena has several works in progress. She has the beginnings of a fantasy fiction novel posted on www.chapterbuzz.com/katrenaturner called “Elemental Guard” and is in the brainstorming process for a children’s series inspired by her kids.