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This is a time map. I'm in my fourth week of using it and I have to say it's helped me immensely.
A time map works in the same way a budget works to see where money is spent. I use a weekly grid to see how I can use my time more wisely. This is not a new idea. In fact, those more savvy in Excel can use colors and tabs and whatnot. I like the simple grid lines of Word.
At the start of the school year, I was feeling the potential for being overwhelmed by student appointments. And with a new book coming out, it's easy to see how writing time gets swallowed up. Writing is always the first thing to go. Why is that?
I've done time maps years before when the kids were much younger, but I was inspired by poet Jennifer Jean as she was looking for ways to make sure things weren't slipping through the cracks. I like this approach because it forces me to be a little more present in my schedule. I've also found out a lot about my habits. I wasn't sleeping enough, and writing was jammed between kid appointments and grading.
I'm four weeks into this and I know that I'm not reading or exercising enough. But my sleep has improved, and I'm more on top of things at work. Mass Poetry is gearing up, so I've plotted out time to get things done. The time map is flexible. I check it daily and shift items when something pressing comes along. Again, this is just a simple grid (I'm showing last week's time map), but it only works if I'm willing to abide by it.
Today, for instance, I'm working on blog posts instead of poetry. That's OK. I can find time later today or Thursday. Big picture? I'm taking care of my needs without completely ignoring all the other to-do's in my life.
Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.