“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Samuel Smiles
Big, Fat Disclaimer
Most everyone who knows me (and probably one or two that don’t) knows that I’m a big, big fan of Franklin Covey’s time management principles. It’s a bit sad, really, that I should need time management principles, since I have a magnificent husband who puts up with my foibles much too patiently, and we don’t have children. If I don’t have children, I should have all the time in the world, right? And in a way I do. Except for one thing. It’s quite small, really. Almost insignificant.
I’m a writer.
A writer with way too many stories to tell, and probably too little time to do it in. And writing, like all creative endeavors, comes with it a vortex of doubt and fear and paralyzing, heart-swallowing feelings of GREAT GOOGLY-MOOGLY, WHAT AM I DOING?!
As it happens, I also have a day job.
I like my day job, more or less. I’m good at it. But, quite frankly, I fell into it purely by accident and it was never meant to be a career. Despite this, I’m coming up on fifteen or so years of various jobs within the same industry, and if that’s not a career, what isn’t? Again with the GREAT GOOGLY-MOOGLY, etc.
But I recently broke the through the Great Publishing Barrier, wobblier than ever these days with the business models evolving more quickly and spectacularly than the Big Bang Theory. A door has opened. I can’t—won’t, by golly, let it swing shut on my foot.
As a writer (read: aspiring self-employed individual of the sort that spends a great deal of the working day on a tropical beach where the rum brings its own umbrellas to the party), how do I balance the day job required by my sekrit identity with that of my super-ego Writer Monkey? And still have time to, yanno, breathe?
How do I meet my goals, stay disciplined, and leap the towering fortress of my five year business plan without losing sanity points?
Franklin Covey has a lot of brain-opening things to say. Most of it is all tangled up in dynamic, synergy-empowered, psychological broo-ha, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. Seriously, if I’d had any of this in high school I would have been a much better, and happier, student. There’s an assumption, I think, that time management skills should simply be inherent. But when life gangs up on you it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees.
Therefore it’s my intention, over a series of twelve or so posts, to disentangle the good bits from the broo-ha with a focus on application to the writing life and its craft. Here’s the program we’ll be following:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
Habit 6: Synergize
Interlude In Chocolate
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw (In Four Acts)
I hope you’ll join me, and share your own thoughts and experiences. If one person learns one thing and is changed positively by it enough to embrace their own destiny as a writer, I’ll consider my own good fortune paid forward.
Next Time, Same Monkey Time, Same Monkey Channel: Habit 1: Be Proactive