Greetings fellow bloggers, writers and those that just follow me. Today I thought I might spend a little time with you talking about …time…
Have you ever chimed in on a conversation on social media?
My personal feelings on Facebook are, it is a great way to keep up with family and friends without actually calling them. Let that sink in.
The simple facts are very few people have 681 real friends. I would define what a friend is but, I don’t think that is necessary.
My friends are the people on my favorites list on the phone. Everyone else is an acquaintance.
Yes, there are hundreds of people that I know, chat with online, and so on but, I usually don’t require their phone number. Truth told, I don’t have the time to visit with many friends.
Scanning through social media has turned into a pastime that unfortunately zaps time away from other things. Way back when, I used to teach a class on time management.
In the business world today, they attach different names to it but Scrum is the latest tool.
From timeboxing to working in sprints, this is a high-pressure environment for programmers.
Where the program breaks, and the world of missed deadlines occur is a failure to take into account the human equation.
The smart phone and social media are two stumbling blocks.
Not long ago I hired a landscaping crew to clean out the weeds, remove and replace dead plants and so on. The PM, or in this case the team lead, walked back and forth between the front and the back of the house. As soon as he disappeared, his workers would stop working. The cell phones came out of their back pocket. It was almost laughable. They weren’t talking, they were playing games or checking social media. The job took much longer than it should have.
The human factor can only do so many sprints before their mind needs to focus on something else for a while.
There were many time-management tools in the day. As a manager of many programmers, I kept a spreadsheet of where they each were on their part of the project. Hiring from sourced talent, if I got a dud, it was easy enough to replace them.
That by the way, is why most companies hire from such firms. They get 6 months to see how you will perform.
I would never work in a scrum environment. While the tool is meant for projects that might change with scope creep or unforeseen issues, the pressure on everyone involved comes down to time.
In our writers’ group we have writing sprints, which was taken from Scrum but, the sprint is just a way for you to dedicate time to your craft, or hobby.
Most writers that fail are those who have piss poor time management skills.
On my desk was an Alexa, my phone and some clutter that has shown up over the years.
Alexa had to go. While a nice tool for some things, the screen displaying news feeds and so on was distracting.
The phone must be face down. I don’t want to see anything that will cause me to deviate from my task.
Alexa has a ‘do not disturb’ function, use it.
I shut my office door to keep the distractions at bay. The phone is silenced and my list of what I want to accomplish is in front of me.
People ask me how in the devil I manage to crank out so many novels. Time management is key.
I watch very little TV. Most of what I see is mindless dribble aimed at those with the functional IQ of a houseplant.
It is no wonder why so many shows have piss poor ratings.
If you are trapped into watching TV, examine the writing, the structure of the story and yes, any arcs. In this way if I am stuck watching shows aimed at fifth graders, at least I can learn something from it.
Where this all started was a friendly post on Facebook. Someone was reaching out for assistance. I offered some advice. There were many who chimed in on my advice. Several gave very bad advice and attacked me in the process. Delete post, and go back to my task at hand.
I live in the world I create most of the time. Before I nod off, the story I am creating is running through my mind. I don’t plot a story; I write from a stream of conscious. If the ideas that pop up in the wee hours of the morning and I think there is a chance I will forget them, I get up and make notes.
Stephen King once said that he doesn’t keep a notebook with him. If an idea pops into his head and he forgets it, it was most likely not any good anyway. He also said a notebook like that, is just a book full of bad ideas.
I write very much like him but, I do keep a notebook. A simple three- or four-letter tickler, to have the MC fall into a crack in the ice at the end of a chapter is gold.