Musings on the Craft of Writing


As I preached about in my first post, the artist’s life requires discipline in order to produce quality work.  This means that our time must be dedicated to our craft–a task which seems exceedingly difficult in the 21st century.  The first obstacle is for us to discover exactly where all of our time goes.  This generation, worse than any other, is inundated with distraction. Time

So I created this spreadsheet for myself in order to track what was happening with all of my time, and I am sharing this with you.

Download this and open it (it requires Excel, and should work on the OSX Excel as well).  It will offer for you to sign up for Box.  You can ignore it and just choose Download at the top.

Tab #1 has the instructions on how to use it.  Think carefully about each day’s list of what you do.  You may need to spend a few days in order to accurately discover what happens to your time.  The common mistake is to confuse what we *think* we do with our time with what we actually do with it.  After you complete charting all 7 days you can look at the sum on the monthly/yearly/decade-level (assuming that you maintained that pattern).

Save that file.  It’s read-only (so that you cannot break it), so name your file with the date you used it the first time.  What I suggest afterwards is to contemplate how you want your time-expenditures to change.  You may be shocked at how some of your life is evaporating with pointless web-surfing or TV shows.  As time passes you can do it from scratch and compare the two patterns to see if you’re improving.

Share your results and comments.











7 responses

  1. I recently got rid of my facebook (again haha) and I found that’s where a lot of my pointless wed-surfing goes. I don’t have excel so can’t download your sheet, but I think I’ll spend some time coming up with my own. Thanks for the tip.

    November 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    • Hi Jess. (Whether you’re interested in my spreadsheet or not,) I wanted to let you know that you can get Apache OpenOffice for free, with which you can open Office programs (like Excel).

      November 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      • Ooh thank you, I already use the OpenOffice writing document but didn’t know you could do that, thank you!

        November 13, 2013 at 10:33 pm

  2. And kudos for breaking your FB addiction. I’m envisioning church basements with “FBA” written on their door. “Hi, I’m Ed, and I’m addicted to Facebook.” “Hi, Ed.”

    November 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

  3. A good post, Daniel! I used to be quite free with my time, but the more I’ve moved to a project-based lifestyle, the more I’ve had to get brutal with how I manage time. I use week planners and to-do-lists and try my best to avoid distractions (checking and responding to emails is the worst – eats up literally hours if I don’t do it as a to-do task).

    November 14, 2013 at 12:11 am

  4. That’s excellent, Graeme. I’m living the same lifestyle now, and am both vastly more productive than before and far happier. I listened to several audiobooks by Brian Tracy on discipline and scheduling, etc., and find it invaluable.

    November 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

  5. Cool post. I’m a time nazi. Thanks for the like on my Smarts and Self-esteem post. Thoughtful blog you have. Cheerleading your way.

    November 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm

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