Top 10 Ways Writers Save Time

Cynthia Herron Writing 7 Comments

Image Credit: Powelli/PhotopinCC

Image Credit: Powelli/PhotopinCC

Our time is important.

During the past three years I’ve blogged about the subject on several occasions.

In one of my favorite posts, I tackled this elephant head on. If you’re a writer, a creative, or someone struggling with time management issues, please don’t miss this post. You may identify.

I’m not sure why, but time is a hot button issue with some folks.

If we’re task-oriented professionals, we’re dubbed too busy.

Break-takers and we’re deemed lazy.

If we say “No thanks, I’ll have to pass,” we’re selfish.

If we offer too much, we’re enablers.


There’s just no pleasing some folks.

I’d be the first to admit, I’ve not always been as proactive with my time as I should. I adore people and the tendency to overdo is something I struggle with.

I want to demonstrate Christ-like compassion while being accessible and open to those in need. However, I’ve also learned the hard way there are those who push limits, cross boundaries, and refuse to accept “no, thank you” gracefully.

Because I’m a busy professional, I’ve adopted some measures that work for me. Granted, I’m speaking from a writer’s perspective. Your viewpoint may differ.

Here we go:

Top 10 Ways Writers Save Time


1. Answer important e-mail first. Read favorite blogs; comment if there’s time. Save everything else for later.

This is a challenge because as a writer I want to support fellow writers. However, because of WordPress and Blogger snafus, leaving a comment is sometimes tricky… and time-consuming. I really wish it wasn’t.

2.  Hit the highs (and lows) of social media in the morning. An hour, tops.

I’m not active on every social media outlet known to man. I can’t be. I simply don’t have the time. I blog on MWF. I’m also active on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Years ago I might spend hours on my social networks, afraid I’d miss something or lose friends. Not so anymore. Writers write. It takes discipline and self-control, but I no longer comment or tweet the dickens out of every thought-provoking diddy. Other writers understand because they’re writing, too!

3. In writing mode. Don’t. Answer. The. Phone.

Unless Caller I.D. tells me it’s family. Or the school. Or my agent. Again, it takes self-discipline, but here’s my thinking: Would your friends or church member Martha call you at workoutside your home where calls weren’t permitted? My home office is my work place (where calls are not permitted).

4. Say “No.” Nicely.

For more on that, you won’t want to miss these great insights by Ramona Richards. In this fabulous post, Ramona talked about writers and the art of saying “no.” She dished about words, boundaries, and using good judgment. Each of these translates time, among other things.

5. Use a timer. Really!

I started doing this about a year or so ago. When doing specific tasks that I want to allot a certain amount of time for—be it household chores, writing, or social media catch-up, I set a kitchen timer (or sometimes my phone) to remind me time’s uptime to move on to something else. This keeps my perspective fresh.

6. Allow one night a week for take-out.

If I’m in my writing groove, I don’t have to worry about meal-planning this one night. Take-out doesn’t have to be expensive. We often use coupons or order smaller portions.

7. Decline invitations. Tactfully.

I know. It’s a delicate topic, but the reality is I’m not Superwoman. I no longer take part in every bake sale, serve on every church committee, or attend every candle party. I just can’t. Again—not enough time and I refuse to feel guilty. I’m a writer—I have enough to keep up with. (See Jamie Chavez’swise words of wisdom.)

8. Schedule all in-town trips for one day (if possible).

Lumping my chores into well-timed slots one-day-a-week is better than stringing out a dozen disorganized trips. It saves money, as well as time.

9. Give up television. (Whaaattt???)

Okay. Maybe not completely. I’m a classic movie buff and I also adore old T.V. shows. BUT…staying glued to the television is not healthy or productive for me. I probably watch three or four hours of television a week. And my writing time’s improved because of it.

10. Make a schedule and use lists. Stick to them.

I’m highly visual. I also use Post-it notes to help me stay organized. When I accomplish one task, I cross it off my list or wad up my Post-it note and discard. There’s a deep sense of accomplishment when I physically purge those multicolored notes and check the last thing off my list.


What are your time-saving tips?


Not enough hours in the day? Practical ways writers save time:

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Here’s to a great day!

Blessings Always,

Comments 7

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    Cynthia Herron

    Jennifer, yes. Saying No, thanks. I’m afraid I’ll have to pass has saved me countless hours. I feel less stressed and more productive. Doing something because we’re guilt-laden is never a good reason to do anything.

    Happy writing!

  2. Shelli Littleton

    I agree totally with the learning to say “no” … that caused me to get an answering machine some 20 years ago! It gave me time to think things through before saying “yes” or “no” … and let the guilt go!

    Great post, Cynthia!

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  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    My biggest time-saver is doing nasty jobs first. Like cleaning the toilet, unplugging the drain, editing…

    It’s such a relief to be able to cross the nasties off the list that the rest of the day seems bigger and brighter, and my productivity goes up.

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  6. pattisj

    I make use of the timer, too, the one that is far enough away that I have to stop what I’m doing to go shut it off. Housework is more fun when a task has a time limit.

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