Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Time Management Tuesday: Understand What You're Getting Yourself Into Before You Get Started

Today's TMT was inspired by an article I read on the Medium platform

First, a little bit about my impression and understanding of Medium--The culture there is very into experience over acquired knowledge/study. It's not at all unusual to see self-help/how-to pieces that are totally based on the writer's personal and often somewhat limited experience. Think article titles along the lines of I Did _________ For __________ Days And Here's What Happened or I Made $100 Doing ________. You Can, Too. Personally, I think those kinds of things should be flipped into memoir rather than advice, but it appears that Medium has plenty of readers who don't agree with me.

Got Lots of Unfinished Projects? Here’s Why. | by Addie Page | A Different Page | Medium may have appealed to me because the author supported her experience with a professional study. I am a sucker for studies.

Essentially what author Addie Page is saying here is that making a decision about choosing a project on the basis of the end result without considering the work involved, may be a mistake. If you look at the study she cites, we're talking the difference between understanding the process involved to achieve a desired outcome versus the desirability of the outcome itself.

The Life o' Gail

Here is an example from Gail's life, something that would probably go over well at Medium: For many, many years I was interested in earning a master's degree in writing. After I had had a number of children's books published, I even got to the point of taking a graduate level essay writing course, as a first dip in the water, so to speak. It was a very good thing I did, because the reading and writing for that course took all my writing time that semester. I was unable to do anything professionally except work on that course. In order to get the master's degree, I would have had to give up any other kind of writing for however many semesters it would take me to earn the degree. I decided the process was not worth the outcome.

How To Use This Concept For Managing Writing Time

If you have the option of choosing your writing projects rather than having them assigned to you or being under a contractual obligation of some sort, really analyze what is required to get to your end result and whether or not you can reasonably expect to do it or even want to do it.

  • What are you talking about for project length?
  • Do you need research time as well as writing time?
  • Do you have other writing-related demands on your time in the immediate future, because, say, a newly published book needs promotion?
  • Do you have other writing-related demands such as teaching or conference work?
  • Do you have a day job and what can you expect that to require of you during the period you will be working on a new project?
  • Do you have family responsibilities and what can you expect those to require of you during the period you will be working on a new project?
Do all this before you get started

After you've analyzed the process you're going to need to write something, consider how much you will enjoy doing it. If you have a choice, go with the project you think you would enjoy working on the most. I'm not suggesting you go that way because life is short, live for today, smell the roses, or any of that stuff. I'm suggesting it, because if you enjoy the process for a project, you probably have a better chance of completing it. It's harder to keep plugging away at something that's an ordeal.

Having to abandon projects can be very discouraging, to say nothing of being a waste of the time you put into them. It's far better to use a little thought and planning and avoid that kind of situation.

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