I need more time.

Writing takes time.

Editing takes time.

Posting to this site takes time.

The day job takes a lot of time.

The question is, where can I steal more time for what I really want to get done?

I have been using Klok for managing my time on editing projects. This program has made keeping track of my editing hours very simple, and to be honest, without it my editing would be a jumbled mess with the unsettling appearance of having no end in sight.

I’m currently editing a novel for a friend that is in excess of 100,000 words. I’ve been doing it in my spare time, since my day job still monopolizes the majority of my waking hours. Klok gives me an informative snapshot of how much time I spend on each section, which days I worked on it, how much time per day and how much per session. Klok also allows me to export timesheets by week, month, or total project time, so I can accurately bill my time to clients.

My point here is that time management is critical if you want to use your available time to its greatest potential. It’s too easy to allow distractions to drive you off task, especially when you work for yourself, and if you don’t know the details of where you’re spending your time, you’re bound to be wasting some of it.

Since I started my writing challenge, my wife has suffered growing frustration at how much time I seem to spend each day, working on posts for the site. I’ve had some corresponding frustration with her, for appearing to want me to stop pursuing my dream of being a full-time writer.

What, you think good writing happens instantly? You want me to quit and go back to being unhappy and unproductive?

Of course she doesn’t. She just wants me to be more efficient and deliberate about the time I do spend on writing and editing, so that it doesn’t keep me away from my family as much as the day job already does.

I argued that the writing challenge is to write and post something daily – it’s not about how long it takes.

She countered that if it takes me six hours to get a post written and posted, I must not be using my time efficiently. Maybe I could track the time it’s taking, and figure out a way to get things done more quickly? Why not track my writing like I track my editing – using Klok?

At first this struck me as silly – I have no intention of charging anyone per word or per hour for the time it takes me to write. But her point is that if I know how long certain tasks take, I’ll be able to plan other things around my writing, and get more done overall.

So starting today, I’m using Klok to track my writing time as well as my editing. True, I won’t be charging for the writing (apart from eventually selling books), but I will be able to get an idea of the real time cost of writing and posting to the site. I can categorize things down to tasks, so I can see how long it takes to write a post, and how long it takes to actually format and post it to the site.

I’ll expand on the usability and features of Klok in a later post, as well as the process I’m using to determine pricing for my editing services. But for now, let’s see the real time cost of this post:

Writing: 1 hour 13 minutes

Formatting/posting: 7 minutes

Understanding where my time goes: Priceless