Time’s money for writers. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of your writing day and realizing you got nothing done. You spent your time researching, or reading, or on Facebook… or you simply have no idea where your time went. You need some time management and organization tools… preferably, creative ones. If a tool’s too restrictive it can choke off your creativity.
We’ll look at three clever tools, but firstly, take a look at how you track your writing. What needs to get done, and when? You need a task manager. Currently, Todoist is my app of choice. It’s gorgeous, and simple, but also powerful. You can use it anywhere, and not only does it allow you to have projects and tasks, it allows sub-projects, and sub-tasks, and it gives you an easy way to collaborate with others.
Several of my writer colleagues use whiteboards to track projects tasks. Use whatever works for you.
1. Toggl: Track Your Time, and Bill It Accurately.
Toggl is the answer to your “where did my time go?” question. It lets you track your time, and bill for it accurately. You can use Toggl on any device, and even if you forget it turn it on, you can enter periods of time manually, or you can work out what you were doing from the Timeline.
Toggl’s free for basic use; the Pro Plan is $5 a month.
2. Pinterest: Bookmark Your Creativity and Inspirations.
Pinterest for time management? Consider it creativity management. Pinterest allows you
six* as many “secret” boards as you choose; all boards count towards your limit of 350 boards. You can use secret boards to manage client projects, or your own projects, to keep all your ideas and inspirations in one place.
I’m working on historical serial novellas for a client. Without Pinterest, I’d be lost. I’ve collected all my research and ideas in one place, so that I can see where I am at a glance. I’ve tried using apps like Inspiration and Curio to do the same thing, but they weren’t nearly as useful.
How could YOU use it? That depends on what you’re working on. Let’s say you’re working on Web content for a client. Not only can you keep all your content organized, you can keep creative inspirations from sites like Design Seeds there too.
Pinterest is free.
3. Evernote for All Your Stuff: Keep It Together and Keep It Safe.
I discovered the value of Evernote the last time a hard drive failed. Although I had three backups, they were useless, for various reasons. Evernote allowed me to keep working not only on my own projects, but on client projects too. I missed just a couple of hours of working time.
You can store just about anything in Evernote: ideas, documents, research material, bookmarks, client information… You can even work with your clients, right within Evernote, when you use shared notebooks.
If you’re a fan of sticky notes, you’ll love Evernote’s Post-it Notes Camera. Audio notes are useful too; I often record notes when I’m walking Honey, my Jack Russell, or anytime I’m out of the office.
Evernote is free for a basic account, Premium accounts are $5.50 a month.
We all have the same 24 hours in each day. “Time management” is inaccurate. What we’re doing is managing ourselves. Toggl, Pinterest and Evernote are worth more than diamonds to writers, because we need to be creative in every minute of our writing time, and they help.
* Update on Pinterest secret boards
March 5, 2014: Pinterest now allows you to have as many secret boards as you want. All your boards count towards your limit of 350 boards. However, there’s no limit to the number of boards you can participate in — if you’re invited to join a secret board, it’s not counted in your board limit.
This is wonderful news for freelancers. You can manage as many of your clients’ boards as you wish.
You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.
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