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

Procrastination 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.

2 Key systems for juggling multiple writing projects

Are you an academic author who is working on multiple projects at the same time? If so, you understand the challenges associated with keeping track of all the pieces for each project in order to meet individual submission deadlines.

In her recent TAA webinar, “Juggling Multiple Writing Projects…and Completing ALL of Them“, Christine Tulley, author of How Writing Faculty Write and career advice columnist for Inside Higher Education, shared two key systems to log all stages of all of the projects and schedule writing time for each to aid in multiple writing project management.

Flag for follow up or dump the junk?

Are you overwhelmed by email? I know there are days that the flow of electronic information seems to be non-stop. I might not be the normal person though – but I also can’t imagine I’m the only academic who is managing more than one email account for various roles. I personally check with regularity five (yes, five) email accounts daily between my personal Gmail account, accounts for my adjunct teaching roles, and my full-time position with TAA.

Even after the SPAM filters and categorization tools inherent to the systems do their job of minimizing the amount of true “junk” that makes it through to my inbox, I am often interacting with upwards of 300-400 messages of some importance daily. So I wonder often, am I handling things effectively while trying to manage all of this electronic communication?

An academic perspective on goal tracking and time management

The focus of our most recent #AcWriChat TweetChat event was goal tracking and time management. During this event we offered a number of resources from our blog to support participants in their academic pursuits.

Common to our TweetChat events, we asked several questions to promote personal reflection and sharing of ideas. Marc Ouellette, a regular participant in these discussions shared his approaches in response. Below is a summary of our questions and his contributions from the event.

4 Paths to writing productivity and publication success

In his 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Organizing for Writing Productivity and Publication Success”, history author Kenneth Campbell shared organizational advice and tips based on his personal writing experience.  

Specifically, Campbell offered strategies and techniques for research and writing, time management, working with editors and publishers, and responding to peer review criticisms throughout the writing process. In conclusion, he encouraged participants to “focus on the contribution you are making to educating and enriching the lives of others” if the goal is success.

3 Time problem areas and how to handle them

In her recent TAA webinar, “Creative Scheduling For Those Who Have ‘All of the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All’”, Katy Peplin identified three areas that commonly result in time problems: focus blocks, priority blocks, and scheduling blocks. If you’re having difficulty managing your time, chances are you’re dealing with one or more of these blocks.

But there’s good news. Peplin also shared specific actions that you can take to overcome each of these three blocks.

Give yourself the flow time you need to flourish

When I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. Previously in this series, we looked at Free timeFixed time, and Focus time. In this short article, let’s look at Flow time.

Although folks from other professions may benefit from Flow time, academics MUST have Flow time. Yet, it is the type of time you are least likely to designate and protect while doing your planning for the week, month, quarter, semester, or year.

The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research

In the first two articles of this series, we explored The What: Defining a research project and The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment. In this article, we are focused on The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research. Discussion from this TweetChat event focused on accurately estimating the amount of time necessary for completing writing projects and strategies to better manage the time commitments during the writing project.

Q1/1a: Do you regularly track the time spent on research efforts? When planning a research project, do you tend to accurately predict, overestimate, or underestimate the time required?

Focus time lets you do the work you’re obligated and committed to do

When I’m coaching and teaching academics, I recommend that they designate and protect four kinds of time: Free, Fixed, Focus, and Flow. Previously in this series, we looked at Free time and Fixed time. In this short article, let’s consider Focus time.

During designated Focus time, you deliberately design your half or full day to maximize what you accomplish from your task and project list. Before the Focus time block begins, you examine your upcoming deadlines, commitments, and progress milestones and then carefully decide what you will Focus on and for about how long.