Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time Management Tuesday: Sprinting

August and September were rough months as far as time is concerned. (Yeah, aren't they all?) In addition to an increase in the elder care duties, I spent a couple of my workdays having a great time with family members who don't work in the summer and another couple with friends I only see once a year. One week I worked only Monday and Tuesday with five days going to other things. What I find happens in those situations is that I also lose my first day back at work, trying to get back up to speed. That was certainly the case in that instance.

I'd been trying to start a draft of the project I'd worked on during May Days and getting nowhere. When I could work,  there was always something else that needed to be done. So I decided to try sprinting, which I'd read about in a Query Tracker post by Ash Krafton. She described writing in 20- to 30-minute sprints throughout the day. As Krafton said in her post "sprints are tiny finite things," and you have to work intensely during them. Hey, for 20 minutes I can be intense. As she also said, "sprints aren't tiny finite things" because they do lead to sustained writing.

I used 20-minute sprints, only once a day, trying to squeeze one in every day to avoid those long breaks in the writing process for that particular project. The first time I did it, I was trying to work between the time a family member left after staying overnight and a commitment to be somewhere else. (I can't even remember now.) I only did 10 minutes. But I did work. For the most part, I've also been able to get a sprint in at least once a weekend.

On days when I can be here to work, I still do a WIP sprint in the morning. Then I do some units of time on other things I need to get done (a submission, for instance) and go back to the WIP later in the day. The morning sprint makes getting into the project in the afternoon much, much easier.

In fact, I managed to get two and a half chapters done working this way. Of course, I'm now working on revising them down to one chapter, which seems like going backwards. But that's an organic writing issue, not a time management issue. And, by the way, because I'm an organic writer, I'm not actually going backwards. That's off topic, but just saying.

Anyway, right now I'm loving sprinting. It doesn't just generate content. It keeps you in the world of your project, which has a big impact on managing time.

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