Great Tools and Methods for Organizing your Ideas & Time
You know the age-old excuse “I don’t have enough time to write”? Unless you are Elon Musk, that excuse does not work. That simply means that you do not prioritize writing enough to fit it into your schedule. In this quick guide, I am going to cover some useful online tools that will help you manage your time better and talk about a technique used to figure out where in your week you are wasting the most time.
A central place to store your documents and excel sheets related to writing is essential. Not only are you saving your precious writing in a safe space other than your laptop or PC, but they are also in an easy to reach location, ready to be used at any location. Not only can you use it for storing, but also for directly writing into their word processor. The google docs word program has most of the features of Microsoft Word can be easily edited online. This also goes for excel.
This is very useful for setting all of your appointments so that you have an overview. This allows you to find pockets of free time to devote to writing. You can easily sync your Google account to your phone to get access anywhere. Another nice feature of Google Calendar is that you can color code your appointments. One tip I have is that you at least use the color red to indicate the most important appointments or reminders in your calendar.
Write down all of your ideas, everything. Your brain will fail you, great ideas thought of today will most likely disappear tomorrow. Humans place too much faith in the capacity of our brains. Evernote can be the equivalent of carrying a notepad with a pen around because you can access it from your phone or PC/laptop/tablet. Some ideas for different topics to keep track of which are useful for writing include:
- Great authors to check out
- Books to read
- New words and their definitions
- Ideas for articles to write for your blog
- Ideas for short stories & novels
- Passages or sentences that you read that stick with you
- Things you overhear such as great one liners
- Links to great articles about writing/publishing/editing
You get the idea. You can create notebooks in Evernote, I suggest naming one for writing/blogging/reading for easy navigation.
In addition to having great tools to help you manage your time, I would suggest keeping a diary for an entire week to get an idea of how you spend your time. This means writing down how you are spending your days. It is important, to be honest with yourself, so that means recording that Game of Thrones marathon session you had last Saturday as well. After writing down how you spent the past week, figure out how many hours you spent on filler activities, such as time spent on YouTube, Medium, Quora, Facebook, TV shows, video games etc. These activities seem harmless but they really do add up.
But I enjoy watching reruns of TV shows on the weekend, what is wrong with that?
There is nothing wrong with that, except that it is keeping you from finishing that novel, repainting your house, starting your own online business or any other passion you may have.
Do you have any tools or techniques to add? Leave a comment!