7 Time management strategies to begin, keep working on, and complete your projects

life will not waitProcrastination is a term applied to putting things off until later, but what can we do about it? In a recent TAA webinar, “Seven Time Management Strategies to Begin, Keep Working On, and Complete Your Projects“, academic writing coach, editor, and author of How to Become an Academic Coach, Mary Beth Averill shared seven proven strategies for getting started, keeping at it, and finishing our projects.

While she did an excellent job providing practical advice on implementing each of the seven strategies – life management, seeing yourself as a writer, saying no, scheduling, getting started, following through, and finishing – she supported those strategies with insightful quotes from her faculty writers group that may provide bite-sized pearls of wisdom to help you begin, keep working on, and complete your projects.

On perfectionism

One of the greatest barriers writers face when trying to get started or when trying to finish a project is an internal demand for perfection. This perfectionism trait can cause great levels of stress, extra work, and an ultimate delay in the process, sometimes to a point of incompletion or missed opportunity. If you find yourself stalled by the pursuit of perfectionism, ask yourself “What pockets of perfectionism can I let go of?” or challenge yourself to apply one of the following mantras from the faculty writing group.

“Don’t let perfectionism stand in the way of good enough.”

“I’m going to be creative, not perfect.”

On saying no

In order to make time for your writing projects, it is essential that you say no to other requests for your time. Averill offered several suggestions for how to say no – including the turtle strategy for those less bold in the approach – but recommended delegation of tasks as a third option.

“Use your delegation superpower.”

On play

When scheduling your time to work on your projects, Averill reminds us that time to play is equally important. In fact, she advised that instead of asking, “How much play is enough?” you should ask yourself, “How much play can I get away with?” and then fill the schedule accordingly.

“How much play can I get away with?”

On consistency

Do you start a project at high energy only to lose momentum and productivity after the initial period of progress? Do you find it hard to start and end up binge writing to a deadline later? Are you otherwise on a roller coaster ride of transitions between high speed development and complete anxiety producing stops? The key to success, is in the consistency of process from start to finish. Averill reminds us that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing – and shouldn’t.

“There’s a range between full throttle and standing still.”

As you begin to fill in your 2021 planner and set goals for your writing projects in the new year, keep these strategies and words of wisdom in mind for greater success in beginning, working on, and completing your projects.

The complete session recording and related resources are available in TAA’s library of Presentations on Demand.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.