Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Committed Time

Photo by on Unsplash
Today, I am talking to the students in my first year seminar about time management. The reading they did for today's class focused on three categories of items to be scheduled: committed time, maintenance time and discretionary time. Their book had a whole list of items that fit into each category, but I'm more interested in how they would categorize each of the important things in their lives.

How we classify what matters to us is often the first step in determining what makes it onto the schedule and what doesn't. What makes it onto the schedule determines not only what we accomplish, but also whether we're reaching toward our goals or someone else's.

No matter how busy I am, blogging always makes it onto the schedule. I'm still not sure why this is, but I know my blogs matter to me because I consistently place them above other things on my priority list. From time to time, I re-evaluate the schedule: two blogs a week here (plus a Friday Feature), two blogs at Organizing by STYLE and one at, often a reprint of something that already appeared on my OBS blog. When I look at the schedule, I often wonder if I should scale back, but I never do.

I started blogging as something I was supposed to do -- a plank in my writing platform -- one small thing that fits into the self-promotion category. Over time, however, it began to provide a consistent writing experience and a connection to readers more immediate than the one I find when I finally finish a novel or have an article appear in print. I'm willing to yield discretionary time to this activity because it contributes to not just an important overall goal (writing), but a piece of who I am.

Photo: Felix Russell-Saw via Unsplash
I am a writer. And on the days when the muse has been crushed by other activities in the committed time category, blogging wriggles free and allows me to express myself. I don't have to advance a story or be true to any character except myself. I merely need to write.

From the perspective of someone working to finish two novels and as many non-fiction projects, I must admit that blogging doesn't always seem like the most efficient use of my time. But, over time, I've discovered that it feeds not only my writer identity, but my writing skills and process as well.

Today, when I split my students up into groups and ask them to define the activities that fit into each time management category, I might just need to do a little introspection myself. After all, what better way could there be to stay on track, and make sure I'm reaching for my own goals, and not someone else's?

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