So, it’s time to get back to basics and think about those time saving techniques that are vital to being a productive writer.


In the Office


Whether you write full- or part-time and whether your day job is at home or outside the home, there are ways that you can make the best of your writing time.


For Everyone


  • Stock up on office supplies once a month so you don’t run out in the middle of an assignment.

  • Periodically check office equipment to make sure everything is in working order. It would stink if you couldn’t print off that manuscript for the publisher who just asked to have it mailed overnight just because your printer died yesterday.

  • Set a realistic writing schedule and stick to it.

  • Maintain a weekly to-do list and review it each night. Check off completed items and make a plan for what you will work on tomorrow.

  • Eliminate distractions by setting a time each day to check email and return phone messages.

  • If possible, invest in an eReader so that you can supplement your reading with eBooks while waiting in your doctor’s office.

  • Carry a notebook and pen/pencil everywhere you go so you can jot down ideas wherever you are.

  • Write in small chunks. You would be surprised how much you can accomplish by writing in ten-minute intervals.

  • Create templates for press releases, invoices, and article submissions so that you don’t lose time creating a new document over again.

  • Create a submissions tracker with all pertinent information, including whether you’ve been paid for the assignment, so you can easily know what you’ve sent out and what you’re waiting on.

  • Touch every piece of paper only once. Read it, handle it, file it/recycle it.


For Those Who Work Outside the Home


  • Listen to audio books during your morning and evening commutes to supplement your reading.

  • Carry a small stash of trade journals in your car or briefcase to have handy during lunch hour or while waiting in your doctor’s office.

  • Revise your work in progress during your lunch hour.


For Those Who Work From Home


  • Run a bunch of errands all at once so you aren’t taking time away from your writing schedule each day.

  • Avoid distractions like house cleaning. Your writing time is for writing, not washing dishes.

  • If you have kids at home, set up a play area near your desk so that you can keep an eye on the kids and still get work done.


Around the House


Just like you make changes to your writing life to be more productive, you can make changes to your home life that will give you more writing time; or at the very least make you feel not overwhelmed by all you have to do.



Cleaning and Organizing


  • Encourage everyone to put their things away as soon as they get in the door (backpacks, coats, shoes, etc.).

  • Delegate some household chores to your family. Author Loriann Hoff Oberlin has an excellent age-appropriate list I in her book, Working at Home While the Kids Are There, Too.

  • Get everyone in the habit of cleaning up the living areas before they go to bed.

  • Store cleaning supplies on every level of your home to make clean up time easier.

  • Touch every piece of mail only once. Read it, handle it, file it/recycle it.

  • Discourage clutter by periodically going through toys, books, and clothes and donating what is no longer wanted or needed. I usually do this after summer and after winter.


Groceries and Mealtime


  • Create a menu with a month’s worth of meals so that you can plan your shopping list.

  • Buy in bulk to cut back on grocery shopping trips. This will save on gas too.

  • Cook multiple meals or larger meals and freeze single serving size portions to be used later.

  • Use a slow cooker so that you can fix-it and forget-it. Freeze single serving size portions for later.


With these time saving tips, you can be a more productive writer. You’ll not only accomplish more, you’ll have more time to write.


Stop spinning your wheels. Get back to the basics and be a more productive writer!


About the Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelancer who specializes in time management and organization for writers. She has also written articles on everyday life in the 1800’s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. Cheryl is also a virtual book tour coordinator for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. You can find out more about Cheryl by visiting her website at 






Writer's Guide to Time Management