The Write Life Balance: Ten Minutes

Check out Susan Meier's simple solution to time management in this month's #TheWriteLifeBalance...

Where do I find the time to do everything that pops up in my day?

Many years ago, I wrote a small time-management book called the Ten-Minute Solution. This was before Fly Lady, who had a theory similar to mine, and all those exercise tapes that used the same title.

Simply put, my theory is …

You can spend as little as ten minutes a day on small tasks that eventually will net you a clean house, clean car, time to write and better efficiency at your day job.

It all began one night when I realized I was wasting a valuable block of time flat on my back staring at a television show that really didn't interest me. Maybe I was a tad more energetic than usual that night, but I asked myself if I couldn't just do one thing. One thing. One little thing. Maybe one thing that wouldn't take more than ten minutes.

I did. I cleaned the sink in the master bathroom. The next morning, when I brushed my teeth before going downstairs, the clean sink cheered me. So, while waiting for the coffee to brew, I washed the eight or ten glasses, dessert plates and utensils from snacks the night before, then wiped off the stove and counter tops. That, too, cheered me. Not because I had accomplished something, but because that little thing made my kitchen appear cleaner.

The moderately clean kitchen bolstered my spirits enough that my morning's writing went more smoothly. It seemed hard to believe that a few clean glasses could do that much for me, but they had.

Analyzing the whole situation, I realized that to "save time" I was always waiting to do things until they were "worth the effort." But in my quest to task batch (saving similar tasks to do together in order to work more efficiently) work simply piled up. And the accumulating dishes, dust and laundry kept my house in a perpetual state of messiness.

In my quest for efficiency, I put myself into the position of needing more time to do every chore, and I don't have time. I don't have two or three hours every day to clean. Some weeks I don't have two or three hours to clean. But I have plenty of blocks of ten minutes.

So do you. In my younger days, I read in the car while waiting for my kids to get out of school, dance class or gymnastics. But I’ve also revamped a description, written a stronger ending hook for each chapter in a new book, and cleaned up small segments of dialogue. The trick to this is realizing that small things can be done in small blocks of time, and knowing how to break down your housework, writing and/or day job into small enough bites that you can work on them.

These are just a few of the tricks and tips I wrote about in the now impossibly, hopelessly out-of-date

TEN-MINUTE SOLUTION. Though a lot of the book is out-of-date, lots of the tips still work and that’s what we’ll be discussing over the next few weeks.

Susan's latest book, The Boss's Fake Fiancee, is out now. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you good at making time to get things done? Or are you always looking for another hour or two? Tell us in the comments or use #WriteLifeBalance on Social Media to join the #PHS discussion on this subject.

#SusanMeier #TheWriteLifeBalance #TheBosssFakeFiancee #Balance #time #findingtime #tenminutesolution #taketen

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