TIME, TIME TICKING... by guest blogger and author, Tracy Brogan

I tend to be a little scatter brained. I’d like to blame it on my children, or my schedule, or pre-pre-menopausal hormone fluctuations. But in reality, it’s just how I am. I’ve learned to compensate for this aspect of my personality by making copious lists. As if in retaliation for my inability to remember anything, I try to be uber-organized. I have labels on my refrigerator shelves. I store bed sheets inside the matching pillowcase so they can always be found together. The clothes in my closet are arranged in order of color, then sleeve length. And yet, even with all this, I never seem to have the right ingredients to fix a meal, the linen closet is a disaster, and my closet looks like a crime scene at T.J. Maxx. It’s not pretty.
Still, I cling to my lists and shudder to imagine what apocalyptic nightmare would occur if I didn’t at least TRY to keep track of things. And every day I ask myself why can’t I get MORE accomplished?

I have the dubious honor of having three wonderfully prolific, dedicated critique partners. I would be in the fetal position beneath my desk without them. They are always encouraging. But they are so damned productive that it makes me jealous. And it makes me feel inadequate.

They all have young children, and two of them have jobs outside the home. They all exercise, read, and cook real food. And still they crush me with their daily word counts. If I didn’t love them so much, I would be inclined to despise them. Because other than the kid thing, I’m at home with time to “spare.” I have a housekeeper. I exercise during every other solar eclipse. And meals around here usually come in a package with the word “microwaveable” on it.  But it takes me twice as long to draft a manuscript as it takes any of them. I hate always being the slow one in the group. It’s gym class all over again!

So I’m trying something new. Before I can figure out how to get more done, I need to figure out where my time is going.  Because it’s slipping away somehow while I’m not paying attention, and I want to learn to be more productive ASAP! For the next week, I’m going to write down what I’m doing and how long it took. Just like keeping a food journal makes me accountable for what I’m eating (and what a shock that is!) a time journal may just show me how it gets to be midnight before I’ve gotten my laundry folded. (I’m thinking Facebook plays a role here!) I’m also going to try a “block schedule,” which I used back in my “office” days. I’d block time for different aspects of my job, and during those periods, I pushed away thoughts and tasks that didn’t relate. It kept me focused and just might work for me again.

I’ll have a block for things like blogging, for editing, for housework (because even with a housekeeper, it’s still a daily task around here!)  I’ll block time for family, too, so I’m not shooing my kids away but rather spending focused time on them. Maybe I’ll even put my iphone away. *gasp*

I hope to find pockets of time that I am truly wasting and use those moments to get more writing done! Wish me luck. And if you want to see my progress, maybe I’ll post it on my own website. If a get around to it. 

Tracy is currently touring with her book, Highland Surrender. A review is posted below, along with an excerpt and the links to buy it, which I highly recommend doing! 

Do you struggle managing your time? I know I do! Share your thoughts with us...


  1. Thanks for hosting me today!! It's a pleasure to be here and I'm thrilled you enjoyed Highland Surrender!! Glad to know that even though historical romance is not your thing, you still found it engaging!! Have I swayed you?? Come to the dark side, MJ!!! ; )

  2. I think you may have,Tracy! Thank you for being here today and for sharing yourself and your book with us. I must let you know, I have similar challenges with letting my time slip away from me. I like to think that it is because I am so brilliant and creative and my mind is going a million places and has much better things to do than the mundane. The reality is, I'm undisciplined and not as organized as I could be. Ahh, well. Perfect people are boring.( :

  3. Great blog. I've done these time surveys several times.

    As you set up your writing pockets, you might want to consider something I learned from the author David Morrell. Apparently introverts and extroverts are more productive if they schedule writing in different ways. Granted none of us are pure intros or extro, but in general, extroverts do better if they write for no longer than 90 minutes at a time and bracket their writing time with brief people contacts, even if it's just a phone call. Introverts do better in up to 4 hour blocks with at least a 15-minute no-contact (no calls, no e-mail, no in-person interactions) zone on either side of the writing.

  4. That's really interesting, Sharon! I never realized that your personality could alter the way you write. Thanks for sharing this with us!


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