After spending August establishing my new habit of writing for an hour in the morning before going online, I spent some time yesterday thinking about what I want to do for September. I’m grateful to a couple of authors whose books have guided me in this area.

I’ve already written about The Power of Slow, by Christine Louise Hohlbaum, and I’m going to repeat a couple of quotations from the book that have stayed with me:

“We can choose to shift our collective dialogue about time as a lacking resource to a more powerful view of time as friend.”

“Time as friend also means the death of multitasking.”

~ Christine Louise Hohlbaum, The Power of Slow

Another interesting take on time comes from Laura Vanderkam, who writes in 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think that much of the advice about time management and the efficient use of social media is geared for and comes from “a corporate office culture.” Such advice is not necessarily useful for writers or anyone doing creative work. Yes, we know we must develop our platform, have an online presence, and build a readership, but I am guessing that most writers who blog, for example, view their blogging time as a creative outlet as much as a work-related task.

“What do you want to do during your workday? Part of being effective during the hours you choose to work is developing the discipline to spend real time on what’s important even if other things—including, frequently, your own bad habits—try to shove you off course.” Laura Vanderkam, 168 Hours

Let’s face it: we don’t wake up thinking I really want to putz around for two or three hours on Facebook and Twitter while I tell myself I’m working. We wake up thinking I want to write today. (By the way, Vanderkam has also given me some fresh perspective on whether my overflowing email inbox is really a problem I need to worry about.)

With those thoughts in mind, here is my new habit for September, one that will build on my new practice of starting the day writing, will help me to view time as a friend by cutting back on multi-tasking, and will give me a better chance of spending my time on what matters to me.

  1. Write for an hour before going online.
  2. Do online tasks for 1/2 hour.
  3. Work offline for 1 1/2 hours.

Because I wake up insanely early, my mornings will usually look like this, more or less: Write from 5:45 to 6:45 a.m. Catch up on email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. from 6:45 to 7:15 a.m. Have breakfast. Work offline from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. And I still have the bulk of the day at my disposal!

What are your plans for September? How are you making time to do what is important to you? Let’s share ideas and keep each other motivated!